Is it better than a long caravan or sea voyage? – yes. Are some flights better than others? – oh, heck yes. Are some seating configurations better than others? – uh huh.
The good thing about caravans is that almost everybody within the caravan is working toward the same goal. Wake up, have coffee and a wee bit of breakfast, make sure the animals are fed and watered well, load animals and head off. It builds a sense of community.
With today’s air travel – people board flights as though there were being pursued through the terminal by tribe obsidian blade wielding New Guinea cannibals. Likewise they disembark as though at a moments notice the aircraft will be flooded with some nerve agent. Add to that the aircrafts touch down followed by 300 cell phones turning on and belching forth all of the missed calls, emails, texts and alerts in a cacophony that sound like a calliope being sat upon by a careless and particularly large third grade teacher.
Now, if you are unlucky and have ticked off the travel gods – you will be on a flight were all children scream – not cry – scream for the entire stinking flight. Healthy children with big, strong lungs. I take issue not with the children but with the parents. The age of the children that scream and holler and carry on are those of 3 and under. They demand so little; hug me – hold me -‐ feed me -‐ play with me – change me – rock me, that a parent should be able to figure it out! Waving a cellophane bag containing the flight’s plastic eating utensils for the dinner most people did not eat – is annoying to the child and everyone within ear shot of the crackling of the cellophane and the further screaming annoyance of the child. It is also dangerous for the child should the child be bold enough you reach out and grab the cellophane bag with his chubby fist and shove it in its face, as this is what small children do. In these instances the children should be cared for and the parents admonished – or at least screamed at and have their chair kicked by other adults.
Some aircraft have very nice seats, some have horrid seats. Airbus and Recaro seem to have enlisted the design features of Tomás de Torquemada’s confession chair designed and made the chair dang uncomfortable. The thin stiff chairs are a molded contraption, with curves in the wrong places wrapped in Naugahyde – (synthetic leather that does not breath – it’s the same material of which body bags are made). After 60 minutes in the chair, one’s muscles spasm concurrently with the sensation of a slow process of the adhesion of your butt and back to the chair. If one flies more that 90 minutes in such an equipped aircraft, one departs the flight half stooped with spasms compounded with a sweaty back and butt.