Ian Twombly

Airlines or GA?

April 28, 2008 by Ian J. Twombly, Associate Editor

I’m going through a dilemma right now that I’m sure many of us have faced. I have a business trip scheduled for late May in central Florida that is scheduled to happen on the front end of a family reunion in south Florida. So, do I take the Bonanza or the airlines?

There are so many variables. First, the wife and son. She gets airsick. He’s seven months old and has never been in anything smaller than a 757. We’re worried about his hearing and the cabin noise level. It’s the beginning of thunderstorm season and I’m not sure I can keep the ride smooth. Will he be OK for four hours in the back?

Conventional wisdom says I should take the airlines. A flying tube is slightly quieter, we can get above the weather, and according to my wife, it’s safer. We’re still debating that point. And we used to think they were more reliable when factoring in weather only. But after a trip where we were delayed 24 hours with the son, I think she’s beginning to see my viewpoint.

But where I win the battle is in utility. We can bring the car seat, his stroller, the baby food, the golf clubs, and most important, 4 oz of shampoo and toothpaste. And this, I think, is an argument I can’t lose. Imagine humping our luggage, his luggage, his car seat, and everything else through the airport. And then we’d have to rely on the rental car company’s car seat. No thanks.

But more broadly, I think this is where we attract more pilots. Everyone is aware of GA’s fun side. But what they don’t fully understand is its utility. In about the same time as the airlines, we’ll be able to go from Maryland to Florida with no stress, no hassle, and with our shoes on. What a wonderful concept.

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