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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 25, 2024

I believe I can fly, if your darn kids shut up

Around this time of year, I join approximately a bajillion other Americans and take to the friendly skies to travel for Thanksgiving. As a senior, I’m fairly comfortable planning and making the trek that gets me from point A in Wisconsin to point B in the Washington D.C. area. However, trip after trip, I’m left with mixed feelings about flying. What do I mean by that? Well, at the moment, I’m cruisin’ at 30,000 feet and have a couple hours on my hands, so let me explain.

On the one hand, flying is great because it’s way faster than any other method of transportation. Why would anyone make the grueling 16-hour drive from Madison to my hometown when they could blast off in an airplane and be there in an eighth of the time?

Oh wait. I know why: Air travel can get mad expensive. Fortunately though, there are ways to avoid doling out duckets. For the Wisconsin D.C. trip, sometimes, it’s as easy as finding an economy airline that flies out of Madison. However, this year, when I saw one ticket cost the same as about a month of rent, I opted for my next go-to money-saving solution—riding the Badger Bus to Milwaukee.

I felt pretty satisfied when I booked a flight from Milwaukee that cut the airfare in half. But of course, as is the case with most deals, there was a catch. To make my 8 a.m. Tuesday fight, I had to take a 4:30 a.m. Badger Bus. By the time I boarded the plane, I was so tired that I spent the entire flight conked out with my face buried in the tray table. Sorry to any and all I may have irritated/annoyed/truly disturbed with my sleep talking.

Anyway, I’m usually conscious for most of the trip and find that whether I have a pleasant or poopy plane ride depends partly on my seat assignment. The window seat means a sweet view D.C. when we land. The aisle affords a little extra leg room. The middle is the worst and getting stuck there is generally awful. Boo middle seat.

When it comes to socializing with seatmates, sure, it’s nice to make a little chitchat. But I’m content when the strangers I’m seated near don’t want to be besties. Ideally, we’ll reach an unspoken agreement about fair arm-rest use and refrain from rolling our eyes when someone gets out to go the bathroom. If we just follow these rules, the trip turns into two hours of free time, during which I can watch a few episodes of “The Vampire Diaries”—errr, I mean—be productive and catch up on poli sci reading.

On the plane, it’s easy for me to relax—unless I’m next to a rule breaker. Specifically, the guy who, during takeoff, insists on playing “Angry Birds” on his iPad while making a call from his phone as his kids talk to each other on walkie talkies despite repeated warnings to turn off electronics and the fact no one even uses walkie talkies anymore.

I’ve heard both that electronics interfere with the plane’s communication signals and that using them has no effect. So, when I’m next to a rule breaker I assume the worst, anxiously bury my head in my lap and panic until the flight attendant (finally) comes and kirks out at him.

Speaking of the need to power off electronics, it’s just about that time for me to shutdown my laptop. And conveniently, I’m at the word limit for this column. Have a great winter break, Badgers, and maybe I’ll catch you on a flight out of town.

Are you flying anytime soon? Maybe you’ll run into Rachel. If you do, avoid the on-flight conversation and just email

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