Friday, August 11, 2006

"Not Everyone Was Meant to Fly"

This ad for Amtrak train travel caught my attention a few years ago. Yesterday as I watched breaking news reports about a foiled terrorist plot to blow up 10 jetliners traveling from Britain to the United States, I recalled that Amtrak ad with comfort.

You see, I am one of those persons who just "weren't meant to fly." Former Raiders Coach, now Hall of Famer, John Madden is one also. I've battled the fear for years and just when I overcame the flying part, terrorism struck the airline industry on 9/11/01. After five years of minimal flying I'm comfortable with taking to the air again, or at least I was until this mornings breaking news.

Today, instead of worrying about falling from the skies due to some mechnanical malfunction I have to sweat over the thought of explosive liquid ingredients brought onboard by disgruntled persons. Mind you these ingredients can be purchased by pretty much anyone, anywhere.

So now, with my flight fears jolted back to life full force like Frankenstein's monster, I'm forced to reconsider my labor day travel plans. I waited on hold with Amtrak long enough to realize that I am not alone with my reawakened fears of flying.

Last I traveled on Amtrak the service had fallen off due to fiscal cuts, delays were longer and the Amtrak employees seemed as disgruntled as any would be terrorist. But I rode the rails comfortably knowing that should any unexpected emergency arise, I could just get off the train, period. My thinking has always been that if a mechanical malfunction or explosion were to occur on a train, chances of survival would be much higher than in an airplane, regardless of statistics that show how safe air travel is "supposed" to be. My MacGyver instincts work much better on land than in the air or on the high seas.

Many people may find today's discovered terrorist plot just another inconvenience to their flight plan, God bless you brave adventurous souls. But for me, and I'm sure the many like me, its a sign that maybe I "Just Wasn't Meant to Fly."

As the Amtrak reservations agent takes my call I'm relieved to hear there's still available seating for my date of travel and destination. And should I get the urge to travel outside the country I'll visit a hypnotist first in hopes of being convinced that I really am MacGyver with nothing to fear.

I urge those like me to write their congressional representatives to support federal funding for upgrading the rail system here in the United States.

No comments: