By on February 21, 2011

Thanks to embargo issues and a mild amount of player-hating among my so-called peers in the auto media, I cannot disclose my current location. I can, however, note that I had to fly there. I’ve come to utterly detest air travel in the modern age. As a child, I bounced around L-1011s and 747s, indulged by my parents and pinned with Eastern “junior pilot” wings by fresh-smelling, gorgeous young women, often flying alone among urbane, well-dressed fellow passengers, and being greeted by relatives right at the gate.

Today, of course, the story is very different. Modern commercial flight combines two of my least favorite experiences from the 1990’s: being processed into a municipal jail and riding an old Greyhound bus. In fact, air travel nowadays is exactly like prison processing followed by bus travel, with one critical exception: if somebody takes a picture of your, ahem, rooster in the county jail, you are about to be on the payoff end of a lucrative civil case. In the past year I’ve had my genitalia photographed so often I’m starting to wonder where my residual checks might be.

You get the point. Consider the baggage issues, the utter lack of personal hygiene displayed even by business-class passengers, and the fact that one must arrive 90 minutes before the flight to have a fighting chance of making it on board, and it’s no surprise that more and more people are telling me that they’d rather drive.

After some consideration, I’ve decided the following: Any time my business involves a flight of 400 miles or fewer, I waive the plane ride and drive. The total time involved in even a “one-hour” flight is closer to four hours, and by the time one finds a rental car and escapes the airport, it’s more like five. Better to take a six-hour, 400-mile drive in my own car, surrounded by companions of my choosing, any meal I can manage to consume while driving, and the God-given freedom to read Facebook on the move. I can take calls. I am not at the mercy of the weather or of unexpected traffic, with some minor exceptions. The Town Car carries enough luggage to crash a DC-10. I can bring a guitar without fearing — make that knowing — that it will be deliberately abused.

For trips of between 400 and 1500 miles, I will look at the complete travel schedule and try to see what I gain or lose by driving. Memphis is a better drive than flight in my opinion; I’d also prefer driving to Hilton Head over flying there. Over 1500 miles, I have to fly, primarily because although it takes all day to do so, it would takes two days to drive it.

Naturally, the future doesn’t look bright for either option. The minute Al-Qaeda hires someone intelligent enough to realize that security lines are actually the most effective place possible to leave a bomb, screening will no doubt become even more humiliating and “thorough”. Nor am I naive enough to think that we won’t see ten-dollar gasoline before 2020, particularly as China decides to use all the dollars we owe them to buy the resources out from under us.

Nope, the future sucks no matter how you look at it. Perhaps travel will eventually become sooooo expensive that it will revert to a sort of romantic, elite affair. In the meantime, though, I’m sticking by my guns. Four hundred miles or less, and I’m driving it. What about you?

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106 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest: What’s Your Fly/Drive Threshold?...”


  • avatar
    MBella

    I agree with your 400 miles drive no matter what, 400-1500 depends on conditions and drive, and over 1500 fly.

  • avatar
    bodegabob

    It all depends on where I’ll be going in the destination city and what I’ll be doing there.
     
    I’ll fly from Phoenix to Las Vegas despite the shorter drive-times afforded by the new Hoover Dam bridge because the LV airport is in the middle of the strip, basically, and I won’t need to go anywhere else while I’m there.
     
    Los Angeles is more of a toss-up, despite being only 100 miles further. It’s a big area and I’m know I’m going to need a car no matter what.
     
    I used to drive between Phoenix and Denver (about 800 miles). One morning after a straight-through 14 hour drive the previous day I woke up to find I couldn’t walk. I’ll tolerate the fat old farting men sitting next to me and the TSA fondling to avoid paralysis.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperACG

      You have to stop to stretch!  800 miles??  Unless you drive a B3 Passat TDI Wagon, then you would have had to stop for fuel!  That’s when you stretch!
       
      Fill up, clean front and rear windscreens (this requires some walking), ask the cashier for receipt, then you’re on your way.  20 minutes tops.

  • avatar
    cwmoo740

    I never understood why they didn’t leave bombs at security checkpoints, or hell, why not just drive a truck full of gasoline right into the front of the check-in area? Huge damage, little to no elaborate planning.
     
    I just thank the heavens that engineers are too smart to resort to terrorism.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      We Engineers build things to make life better – that’s our nature.

    • 0 avatar

      Strange though it may seem, many of the extremists involved in these attacks actually are/were/have degrees in engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      A shoulder to shoulder crowd has never been further than the nearest movie theater or mall on a Saturday. No reason to worry about checkpoints in particular.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      I’m not paying good money to be treated like an arrestee.  If it’s too far for me to drive then it’s too far for me to go.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      You mean like in Moscow a few weeks ago?
       
      The truth of the matter is that there have been very few terrorist bombings of airplanes, ever.  Off the top of my head, 3 maybe 4 confirmed?  There have been a lot of hijackings, but very few straight up bombings. These days, that’s not likely to happen either because 9/11 changed the rules for the passengers – prior, you could expect passivity but these days, you can expect anyone within arms range to try to take you down personally, which is what’s happened for almost every attempt in the past 10 years.
       
      Car bombings.  You could try to count the number every year and you’d run out of fingers and toes before you ran out of incidents.

      Besides, the point of terrorism is to inflict psychological damage, not real damage.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      Not long after 9/11, I found myself in an hours-long security line at LAX. There were thousands of people standing there, and the line ran three lanes wide through a walkway over the main entry road.
       
      While standing there, it occurred to me how easy it would be to simply blow up something under that walkway and cause all sorts of damage — as cwmoo points out, a target created by the very security procedures intended to protect us.
       
      Naturally I said nothing, not even to my wife, for fear of being arrested on the spot…

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Like you, Jack, I’d say 400 miles is about my limit. But, there’s nothing new about that. On short hops I’ve been anti-flying and anti-security-check for at least 15 years (my middle name is “randomly selected”), and I only use the airlines when there’s no option.

    BTW, I’ll all in favor of travel being romantic. Remember when people used to dress up to go somewhere? Give me a Pullman car, an ocean liner, and a DC3, and I’d be happy as a clam… especially if I sit next to a lady in a classic, tailored outfit.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Well I’m going to Phx tomorrow.  It’s a 300 mile drive and I’m driving it, wouldn’t have it any other way.  Actually I prefer to drive almost anytime there isn’t an ocean involved just cause you actually get to see this country for better of for worse. 

    In June I’m traveling almost 2000 miles to visit my folks in Ohio and I’m driving (with my fiance in tow, she’s got no objection.)  In July I’m going to the Kingdom of the Mouse in Anahiem, CA and again we’re driving over 500 miles.  I only fly if I’m in a hurry.  Albuquerque to Chicago was about 3+ hours of travel each direction when the drive would have been about 3 days, but I still prefer the drive if I’ve got the time. 

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      When I flew the BE1900, we did the GUP-ABQ and GUP-PHX flights.  The company I flew for still made money because of EAS – Essential Air Service.  The govt. (local, state, feds) paid the airline for all 19 seats, so the company made money whether we were full (rare on the Gallup runs) or empty.  Generally, we had the one or two slightly intoxicated (even though we weren’t supposed to board them) indigents flying to either ABQ or PHX or back.

      Amtrak goes right through GUP to Chicago (the route 66 train – when I lived in Kingman, I did lots of train watching).  You should price a roomette for you and your lady – if going in that direction.  The roomettes include all meals.  You could also take Amtrak to LA for DisneyLand.  Sounds like fun.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      That’s the original Santa Fe route – route of the famed Super Chief! Amtrak runs the Superliner-equipped Southwest Chief today. That’s the fastest rail route between Chicago and L.A. If you listen to Manhattan Transfer’s rendition of the song Route 66, at the very end they make a train whistle sound – I think I know where their heart is – on the train! I’m a rail enthusiast myself, so that’s been my dream trip. One day…one day. I’m sorry, Educator Dan, but too often, mutual interests seem to cross somewhere!

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Zackman, that’s also been my dream trip as well.  My mother lives near Greenville-Spartanburg, SC, so just for the fun of it, I priced a trip on Amtrak for just myself (my wife doesn’t like to travel by air or rail).  If leaving from either Gallup or Albuquerque, the Chief to Chicago, another train from Chicago to DC, and the Crescent from DC to Spartanburg.  One way with roomette was over $1200, so it aint cheap.  Maybe someday, if Amtrak’s still around.

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    I’m totally good to drive 500 or 600 miles at a stretch, and think 400 miles or less is a no-brainer.

    But really, with US airlines no longer featuring pretty stewardesses, combined with general TSA stupidity, I simply don’t want to fly at all. Period.

    OTOH, if the TSA “agents” were like 1950-1970 stewardesses, and used a gentle “touch” when they handled one’s junk, I’d reconsider.

    As for the airport security line, that already happened at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport leaving 35 dead and 100+ injured more than 100.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    I agree with you.  I’ll fly if I have to cross the continent or if I’m going to Europe.  I drive any distance I can do in about a day – about 600-700 miles or so.
     
    I find I just don’t go places in the 800 to 1500 mile distance anymore. They used to be easily reached by a short flight but now it’s just too painful to do.  Unless there’s a really compelling reason to be there I just don’t do it.

  • avatar
    marshall

    I live just outside San Diego (25 miles to the airport).
    Los Angeles (75-150 miles) – drive.
    Las Vegas (300 miles) – drive.
    Phoenix (350 miles) – drive.
    San Francisco (500 miles) – fly for a day trip, otherwise drive.
    Salt Lake City (750 miles) – just drove it  80 MPH speed limits on (parts of) I-15 in Utah.
    Denver (1100 miles) – fly.

  • avatar
    photog02

    I disagree completely. Modern flying is much like the last 30 minutes of a cow’s life, stretched out over a period of hours. The only difference is no one delivers a bolt through my skull at the end of the flight (at least they haven’t decided to try that yet).
    My current threshold is time based. I know some of the more common airports in my frequent fly list are always delayed, others run on time. That, combined with rough estimates of travel distance, give me the information for a decision.
    The sad bit is that I used to love to fly. It used to be a special experience, much like Mr. Baruth describes. Thanks to protectionism and knee-jerk policies, it has turned into a pit of despair. I cannot see flight ever having that magical nature about it ever again.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Jack,
     
    Sounds like it might be time to get a private pilots license. It’s ideal for trips between 500 and 1500 miles and you get to use the smaller fields (which are probably closer to your destination) that the airlines can’t.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      And Jack, get an instrument rating with the private pilot certificate.  Being VFR only is about worthless if you need to get anywhere.  Can you pass a 3rd class medical?  Any health issues?  Diabetes or bad heart?  Unable to see 20/40 corrected vision near and far?  Those will ground you.

    • 0 avatar
      william442

      NO! Few things are worse than droning along at 105 mph. for hours.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Just how comfortable is a Cessna 172, anyway? It’s aggravating enough on Microsoft Flight Simulator on the most realistic setting! Seriously, I’d like to know, even if my (lack of) vision would disqualify me immediately. So I’m stuck driving or riding the rails or commercial air travel.

    • 0 avatar

      Pilot license is definitely the way to go if you can afford it.  172 is fairly comfortable, but it is a training aircraft, get something better and faster.
       
      That said, I am a pilot, and any excuse I can use to fly, I take it.  A vacation spot my wife and I like to go to is 1.5 hour drive in usually fairly heavy traffic followed by a 45 minute ferry ride is a 30 minute flight.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      And you’ll need to consider if it’s better for your situation to rent an occasional plane (wet rental with fuel and oil) or own a plane.  The maintenance with annuals, etc. can add up.  100LL is expensive, unless you have a supplemental type certificate to burn automotive gasoline in your particular tail number.  You could also consider getting your Airframe & Powerplant certification and be your own A&P mechanic.  It sounds nice at first until you look at all the particulars.  Then there’s hangar space, ramp fees, etc.  If Instrument rated, doing 6 approaches every 6 months to stay current, biannual recertification with a CFII…

    • 0 avatar
      william442

      Comfort in an aircraft is a relative thing. I was always comfortable in an A-6, probably because I was too busy (scared) to think about it.
      Anything less than a King Air will become uncomfortable in a very short time.
      Also many small planes can be quite difficult to fly well.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      Flying you own plane is great if you are wealthy. It costs $1 a mile or more in a rental Cessna. Owning a Cirrus would be nice, but even more expensive. Its just not practical unless your business regularly takes you to smaller cities not served by the big boys. I cant drive to Hawaii, so thats my hard limit, but 600mi a day is my driving limit, so thats generally my fly vs drive crossover point. From ONT to PHX or SFO, drive, SEA or DEN, fly.

    • 0 avatar

      I heard from some people that Instrument rating is not what it’s made out to be, unless you drive a jet. One gentleman said he had a high-end twin (better than Baron), FIKI, radar, all 9 yards, and he still missed business meetings and even was weathered in for a week at a time. He eventually traded the twin for an LSA (he excercises PP privs though, so he can fly at night). He says the little putter takes him there just as fine as his luxury twin did. He just does not schedule biz trips in the month when he knows weather is going to be bad.
      Jack unfortunately lives in Norteast, which has the worst weather in the country. Snow, icing, and thunderstorms.
      Another thing that works against Jack flying is how fast he drives. The rule of thumb for a recip single is 1:2 against car: if your trip takes 2 days in a car, you do it in 1 day in the plane. But the way Jack drives, where is the advantage?
      Edit: I guess what it actually comes down to, can you and are you willing to afford to buy your way out of the system? If I was rich enough to own a Pilatus (not even a jet), I would fly it coast to coast all the time despite it being only 70% of speed of commercial. But I am not rich enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I know this is not solid thinking, but why do so many small planes crash, even when someone like Steve Fossett is piloting it? Doesn’t make sense to me. The smallest plane I’ve ever been on was a U.S. Xpress 19-passenger twin engine. Just wondering out loud…

  • avatar
    findude

    It depends.  I live about a 25-minute/$35 taxi ride from two major airports (IAD and DCA) and I prefer taxi (or a ride from someone) to driving to the airport unless I’m leaving a car there for only one night.
     
    From the DC area, driving to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland/Akron, Tidewater (Norfolk/Virginia Beach) is a no-brainer.  NYC is a special case: if two or more are traveling it’s best to drive. One person alone, with a Manhattan destination, means taking the train or one of the cheap buses (e.g. Bolt Bus) which can be as little as $20 one way. Boston, at 8 hours, is my outside limit for driving by myself. I’ve been known to prefer driving to Orlando or Miami (about 16 hours) with someone to share the driving but I’m no longer so young that I would do it straight through.  Right now I have a trip planned to Nashville (10 hours) but we’re three people with two drivers so we’ll definitely drive.
     
    Another factor is how long you will be at your destination and whether or not you’ll need a car once you get there.
     
    So, I guess my preferred cut off is about 6-7 hours driving solo. Beyond that it really depends on how many people are on the trip.  Also, much of my travel is either cross country or intercontinental so I pretty much have to fly anyway.
     

  • avatar

    My limits are the same, though I don’t disagree with Photog02, I think the specific airports involved does influence the decision on close calls.

  • avatar
    texan01

    I still love to fly but absolutely detest the modern airport experience. If I have to travel internationally (excluding Canada and Mexico) I will fly, but unless I absolutely have to be there that day and it’s less than than 400 miles, I’ll drive.
     
    a 400 mile roadtrip is just a wake-up to me, and the 900 mile trip from Dallas to Pueblo in coming up in July for me is just starting to get on the end of perfect. I’ve no qualms about hopping in the car and going, probably why my road-warrior ’95 Exploder has 300,000 miles on it.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Six hours. Flying today is a bit like spending time in a municipal jail, but with worse food and no anal sex.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’m a very frequent traveller for work. For me, it depends. Generally for 350-400 miles I don’t mind driving. But I WILL NOT drive to NYC, even though it is only 300 miles or so. It’s too cheap and easy to fly there, and the driving is beyond sucktastic. 1hr direct flight from Portland, and usually <$150. On an assortment of tiny regional aircraft.

    As for the TSA, well, it doesn’t really bother me. I do it so much I go through the motions on auto-pilot, and if they want to photograph my “junk” go for it. It’s all BS, but it has been YEARS since I have spent more than 10 minutes getting through security. And I do it nearly evey week at least twice.

    The plus side of extensive travel is I have not paid for a plane ticket or a hotel room for my personal use in MANY years, and I could quit tomorrow and not have to do so for a decade or more. :-)

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I, too, remember when flying was an “event”, not a glorified bus trip. I boarded my first plane in September, 1969, upon my entry in the USAF – Delta from STL to Houston, then on a garishly painted Braniff to San Antonio. That’s where the fun began, but the trip? Steak dinner in coach! Legroom! Totally cool! Awesome treatment! Class! Drop-dead gorgeous stewardesses on top of that! Life was good! All during my service time of four years, I was never booted off a flight, for I flew military stand-by. The fare never varied, either – one benefit of federally regulated fares. $128.00 R/T, Sacramento – St. Louis, no matter how I routed the flight. Now? Reluctantly, we fly due to time, on distances over 400 miles without a stop-over. I suppose I’ll get my first “portrait” taken in May on our way to Florida for a long weekend trip, so I’ll need to look my best, I’m sure! Jack, that is one classy photo, too! Great job on that!

  • avatar
    tiredoldmechanic

      I had an interesting converstion with an old gent sitting next to me a couple of years ago on a United flight from Seattle to Chicago. The old guy was 79 and had lived in Seattle since early adulthood. His family was from Chicago, so he had made the same flight many times since the late 50s. He was telling me that a flight between the 2 points today, in a Boeing 757, actually takes up more of his time than it did back in the days when United flew DC-6 or DC-7 propliners on the same route. In those days you simply parked your car, showed your ticket and got on the plane I guess. Now all of the speed benefits of “the jet age” have been eaten up by security related matters.
     My rule these days is if I can get there in a day by driving, then I do. If not, then I fly. It might make for a long driving day but then my truck has never stranded me in Denver or Toronto either.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    If the company’s picking up the tab I’ll fly. If it’s on my own time, depends:

    Anything under 2 days’ drive gets driven regardless. If I’m travelling from New Brunswick to say, Vancouver I’ll fly and then rent a car if my stay is less than three weeks. If more than that I’ll take my own car, buy my own gas (at average 40 mpg) and enjoy four days’ worth of scenery each way.

  • avatar
    76triumph

    These regional trips is where a high speed rail network would be nice.  Take Minneapolis to Chicago.  TGV or German ICE type service would have you downtown to downtown in about 2:30, vs. 7 hours for driving and maybe 4 for flying once you factor in airport dead time.  Trains are also a nice backup system when weather messes with the airport.  I recently flew Frankfurt to Amsterdam at a time when lots of flights were being cancelled.  I didn’t worry because I knew I could catch a train right at the airport as an alternative.
     

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      Yes! Yes! Yes!
       
      The train rocks (at least in Canada). You are housed and fed better than on the plane. There is WiFi and 120V plugins. There is scenery. Even train passengers are cooler (although the social aspect has dwindled since the demise of the smoking car).
       
      I live 30 minutes from Detroit Metro, an empty, beautiful airport. So I fly out of there with little hesitation. I’d drive more if I could afford the time and the work downtime.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually a Realistic Speed Rail (~150 mph) could make MSP to Ohare possible in that time. Unfortunately, the MWRRS wants to follow the 500 mile Amtrak milkrun route making that IMPOSSIBLE.

    • 0 avatar
      76triumph

      I didn’t know about MWRSS.  And now I am disappointed:
       
      http://www.miprc.org/Portals/0/pdfs/MWRRI_Minnesota_brochure%202007.pdf
       
      110 MPH and 5:30 from St. Paul to Chicago.  Looks like a half-assed solution.  If you can’t do it right, why bother.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    I’d draw the line between flying and driving at 400-500 miles. However, I plan to make a trip from WA to central Wisconsin within the next year that will be much more practical with a car, so that’ll be close to 4,000 miles round trip all told.

  • avatar

    To be honest, I don’t really have a set threshold.  Whatever’s cheapest and quickest, absent special considerations like a road trip.
     
    You must be flying out of some real hellhole airports if what you describe is typical of your experience, or not flying that much.  I fly a couple of times or so a month.  I rarely arrive at the airport more than around an hour before takeoff, and on occasion less than half an hour (with checked bags even!) has worked out fine.  Other than the traditional crunch times when everyone wants to fly, I find security lines at most places take not much time at all.  If you fly enough or pay for first, other than the absolute peak times the premium security line in particular will likely have little or no wait.
     
    At small airports getting a rental car takes less time than waiting for any luggage you may have chosen to check (I normally prefer not to as checked luggage is a pain).  At bigger ones, maybe 15-20 minutes.  If it takes you an hour you are either at about the worst airport in the country or you’re doing it wrong.  A recent 1.5 hour flight, with 2 checked bags, dropping off a rental car at one end and picking up another at the other, ran under 2.5 hours.  More sane safety margins certainly wouldn’t push it beyond 3.
     
    1500 miles east-west doesn’t really kill a day at all.  1500 miles west-east does.  Most planes I fly on are in decent shape, reasonably clean, leather seats, etc.  RJs can be cramped, and the sardine-can experience is not great, but mainline stuff is fine with my airline.
     
    With that said, a lot has happened to make flying less pleasant, particularly for the less frequent fliers.  I’m reminded of this when I fly with my wife, and swap my first class BP for her coach pass in zone 4.  I’m reminded of it when I see a crying girl not able to board a flight because her ticket is for the next one (both delayed), sure to miss her paris connection, while I board the flight because I knew enough to call the airline to switch flights a few minutes previously.  I’ll be reminded of it again when I fly an airline other than my preferred one tomorrow, and am treated like one of a herd of cattle.  At least I’ll have the knowledge of where the quickest security lines are, where the airline lounge is, what to at least ask for in case of delays (bad weather…same flight was cancelled yesterday…)
     
    If you do under 25k miles a year, flying is definitely a chore, and it’s really more like 50k before you’re actually treated like a person.  Things like lounge membership can help quite a bit, particularly in the interim, by giving you access to agents actually empowered to help you, rather than the overworked and undertrained staff manning so many of the front lines.  A lot of what constitutes perks these days was complimentary in days past, so rather than being a bonus, low and mid elite status to a certain extent just gets you humane treatment.
     
    I like flying, and can normally get in and out of the airport pretty quickly.  Depending on your tolerance for waiting in lines, the carrier you choose, and how many miles you fly in a year your mileage may vary.

  • avatar
    SuperACG

    Driving is really no big deal!  I drive from San Diego to Las Vegas AT LEAST three times a year, and I’m one of the few who actually drives around Vegas!  I drive to L.A. at least once a month, and have driven Route 66 on many occasions.
    My record is driving from Oklahoma to Ohio in a day nonstop (filled up in Missouri, made it to Ohio), and have also driven from Stroud, OK back to San Diego in less than a day (gained 2 hours due to time zone changes).
     
    It does depend on the car, though.  Having a Jetta TDI really helped, but that car was totaled.  I agree, though, if it’s going to take more than a day, than just fly.  I’m flying to Ohio next week…thought about driving, but with gas, food, and accommodations, it’s just better to fly.
    I think the roads on the West Coast are easier to drive than on the East Coast, so my limit would be 800-1000 miles before hopping on a plane.

  • avatar
    skor

    Check out Dino’s white socks!  The man was a rebel.
     
    Anyone here tried the Acela Express that runs from Boston down to DC?  It’s billed as a high speed train.  I suppose it is high speed compared to what else passes for rail service in this country…..the Chinese wouldn’t be impressed.  Anyway when you factor in all the time consuming BS that goes on at airports, the Acela is actually a pretty good deal.
     
    Of course the tea tards will immediately shoot down (Crazy Jared Style) any ideas about building high speed rail networks in the US as “blue state socialism”.

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      Since they don’t oppose state and federal funding of roads, seems you’ll have to retool your Tea Party stereotypes and one-liners and you can do it Crazy Jon Leibowitz style.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      White socks with a coat and tie were the rage for a brief time in the mid-60’s. I know, I did it too, but I was anything but cool – a nerd, maybe! Nobody was cooler than Dino, that’s for sure! I like his music better than Frank’s, too. Another thought about rail passenger service: years ago, a decision was made in this country to promote the automobile as the preferred form of transportation, with air for long distance. Being from St. Louis and enjoying a modicum of Amtrak service to Chicago and Kansas City, my kids grew up on the train, literally, as every 6 months we at least took a ride somewhere, even if it was to Springfield, IL or Jefferson City, MO. Any excuse to ride the rails. In Cincinnati? Not so much. Last time aboard here was 1998. Sad.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      @Zackman.  Dino and Sammy were the most decent members of the “Rat Pack”.  I don’t know why they hung out with Sinatra.  Sinatra, despite his singing talent, and sense of style, was pure scum, and a total failure as a human being.  I hope Frankie is enjoying his eternal membership in Beelzebub’s rat pack.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      @skor: You got that right, all the way!

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      Fleet of Wheel:

      Since they don’t oppose state and federal funding of roads, seems you’ll have to retool your Tea Party stereotypes and one-liners and you can do it Crazy Jon Leibowitz style.
       
      Huh? Didn’t the teabagger Governor of Florida send his fed-check back for the Orlando-Tampa route? I recall reading a similar thing about the Wisconsin gov-nutter. It’s not a stereotype if, ya know, it is factually correct.
       
      As someone who pays for the privilege of flying from NC to Newark about once a month (drive time, 7-10 hours, flight time the last half dozen times I’ve done it ranged from 5 hrs-to-cancelled, not including the security theater) I have to say, if I had to choose to substitute two of the following: air, auto, train; air would be cut-off in a New York minute*.
       
      *Continental equates ‘New York minute’ as equivalent to 2 hours.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Maybe I need to launch an official higher speed limit club or something, because recently I feel like I mention it a lot.
     
    I tend to drive anytime less than5 hours.  Though that could be because if I go farther than 5 hours, it isn’t 6 or 7, its 2.5 days.  So then I fly.
     
    But imagine your 400 miles taking only for or 4.5 hours.  We should be able, in much of America, to drive far faster than 70mph.  90-100 really shouldn’t be a problem, if not even higher.  Its ridiculous to drive from Spokane to Seattle in middle of nowhere, at under 75 because of draconian enforcement on I90.  You can’t tell me that most of that way I could safely cruise at 100mph or faster.  There is NOTHING there.  And very little traffic.
     
    To me, this also makes flying less necessary, it would also reduce this supposed “need” for high speed rail.  If we were allowed to drive faster, we can expand the effective range of the automobile, filling in the high speed rail vs flying gap.  No expensive government spending spree required.
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      That’s why I own a radar detector, keep scanning around me to be situationally aware of an “smokeys” that might be out there, and drive basically from dawn till dusk.  So I can haul, although for me 85 to 90mph is usually what I drive depending on the “lay of the land.” 

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      You’re so right.  We don’t want that high speed rail socialism.  After all, the super highways and airports were all built with private dollars.

    • 0 avatar
      76triumph

      “it would also reduce this supposed “need” for high speed rail”

      Ever heard of Germany?  They have high speed roads and an extensive and widely used high speed rail system.  They are not mutually exclusive.  The goal of the train is to be twice as fast as driving and half as fast as flying.

      I do agree that speed limits are too low.   Wisconsin is a 65 limit state.  I90 / I94 is wide open, free flowing, and densely staked out by Troopers.

    • 0 avatar
      vww12

      Heh, I was scanning the thread to see if there was anyone else  with common sense such as you.
       
      Absolutely.  400 miles should be 4 hours.  Why do I own these fine German beasts built to run, if I have to crawl at stupid 65 MPH?

  • avatar
    nova73

    Under 400 miles I can beat the plane by driving.  Living a distance from the nearest airport, I’m already 10% of the way there by the time I drive past the runway.  I probably wouldn’t fly anywhere that I could reach by car in a long day.  Several times I have driven from NY to Georgia to visit ill family members.  People don’t know they’re going to be hospitalized 2 weeks in advance, and tickets become prohibitively expensive if purchased within and day or two of the flight.  Another factor is I’m looking forward to taking the 500 on its first long distance cruise.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Most of my flying was for business and my employer paid for the ticket. My wife and I made occasional use of my frequent flyer miles for personal travel. However, we drove more often than we flew even for trip like midwest to Florida.

    Even for business travel, it sometimes made more sense to drive than fly. On one occasion, my work took my to a small town, with no air service, about one hour east of St. Louis. My plans were to fly 400 miles to STL during the evening, get a rental car and be in bed by 11 pm. When the airline told me that my flight was delayed and the anticipated departure time was at least 11 pm, I went back to the parking lot, climbed into my RX-7 and drove it. Even if we had left as anticipated, the rental car outlets would be closed by the time I arrived and I would have been stranded at STL.

    Another trip took me to Texarkana. (Strange town — the east side is in Arkansas and the west in Texas. Liquor laws are different depending on which side of the main street your restaurant is located.) The nearest major airport is DFW, 200 miles away. After looking at schedules, I determined that driving 700 miles was almost as fast as flying. Plus, it was hundreds of dollars cheaper.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I haven’t been back to the islands in years, so I have no idea what’s been done to the commuter air services there, but I shifted to the Cessna Caravan equipped interisland flight services the instant I learned they did not engage in TSA’s security theatre. The added 20 minutes of flight time was more than offset by the gorgeous views you got of the islands you flew over during the trip, as the Caravans flew thousands of feet lower than the 737s rushing overhead. Sadly I’m certain the smaller flight services have been similarly fettered by now: nothing like small minded, mean spirited people to figure out ways to make life miserable for everybody.

    Having given up on flying overland in this country, my own upper limit is now an ocean. As long as I have a good chunk of my music library  along for the ride, I’m more than happy to spend added time enjoying the scenery when I drive. When a trip to visit one set of friends requires a 4-digit mile count, I’ll turn it into a multi-friend excursion and make visits or stopovers along the route, even if they take me away from the shortest travel path.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    I wholeheartedly agree with the thesis. In the 90s flying was still bearable, but now it simply sucks. Now I avoid flying not only because I can beat the airlines by driving at certain distances, but simply because I oppose the way fliers are being treated. To me, not only driving 400 miles is a no brainier. I would say that driving any distance I can cover within a day is a no brainier. So, that’s 800-900 miles. Farther distances will require a motel stop and more time, so I would reconsider those situations on a case by case basis.

  • avatar
    william442

    If driving involves a motel, I fly. Motel rooms smell worse than airplane cabins. In Europe, I use the outstanding trains,except for Ireland.
    Aer Lingus still offers beer and black pudding for breakfast.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Eight to ten hours for me, depending on how long I’m staying and if I’m traveling alone. If you don’t live near a major hub like ATL, DFW, LAX or ORD – and if as in many cases, you’re not flying to a hub served by your regional airport – your trips by air will involve:
     
    • a minimum one- to two-hour layover,
    • 90 minutes to two hours from your door to takeoff,
    • another hour or so from the gate to your destination,
    • plus an additional hour on each end of the trip if you’re renting a car.
     
    So – without any time in the air – a trip with one layover requires a minimum investment of 3½ hours of time, plus at least another two hours spent in the air. Total time: Almost six hours – and that assumes no delays due to weather or other factors. More than a few times, it’s taken longer for me to fly certain routes than it would have taken to drive. At perfectly legal speeds, no less.
     
    Not surprisingly, recent reports show the number of U.S. short-haul passengers (less than 500 miles/800 km) has been decreasing over the past few years. However, keep in mind that this number is also influenced by the slowdown in the economy, and the repeal of certain stipulations of the Wright Amendment; the latter caused many trips through Love Field to look like short-haul flights, as passenger layovers at that airport required deplaning and the boarding another plane on a separate ticket.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      I agree with everything except the car rental part. I fly all the time, and I rarely spend more than a few minutes renting the car, and the drop-off never takes more than a few seconds.
       
      I keep waiting for skor’s beloved government to step in and figure out how to screw that up, too.

  • avatar
    lmike51b

    Luckily I don’t have too many occasions that I need to fly.  Rather drive if at all reasonable.  It’s not just the cattle car flight, but the whole airport ‘experience’.  Deregulation theoretically has it’s merits, but once enacted, seems to trigger a race to the bottom.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      I keep seeing replies that bemoan deregulation. Do any of you even know what deregulation entailed? It ended government control over routes and interstate pricing — and the prices fell. The airlines actually preferred regulation because very large profits were literally guaranteed by the government. No part of deregulation can be blamed for, say, TSA checkpoints or increased traffic levels. No part of the regulatory framework would have called for more comfortable seating or shorter taxiing.
       
      One major part of “the airport experience” I absolutely loathe is the hub system. I am occasionally amazed at how far out of my way I must travel just to get from point A to point B. Also, because of where I live, I have to struggle to arrange flights that don’t involve that most miserable cesspool of an airport: Atlanta.

      (I have a feeling someone will actually argue that the CAB regulations over routes would have saved us from the hub system, but the fact is the hub system is actually not a bad idea given modern air-travel traffic levels. My complaint is that we need more hubs…)

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      @M 1
       
      Do any of you even know what deregulation entailed? It ended government control over routes and interstate pricing — and the prices fell.

      No part of deregulation can be blamed for, say, TSA checkpoints or increased traffic levels.
       
      Are you sure about that?
       
      By your own admission deregulation led to lower prices.  It seems reasonable to expect that lower prices lead to increased traffic levels.
       
      If higher prices were still regulated, wouldn’t traffic levels be lower?

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I haven’t flown since pre 911 and my friends that have all have stories like the ones I just read. It’s a damn shame, I have 2 kids – 16 & 13 and I would love for them to experience flying (the way it use to be) – does anybody think it’ll ever get better?

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      If you live near Cincinnati, take them on a private or charter flight out of Lunken Field – the old airport, still used for business and private flights. That’ll give them a rough idea. A B-17 occasionally makes its way through town on top of that! Best I can come up with. Classic terminal and all. Make sure it’s not flooded (rarely) when you plan to go!

  • avatar
    jaje

    My threshold is about 400 miles but my local airport (KC) is a breeze to get through and laid out well.  Three terminals (A-C) with quick buses to get to / from long term parking; inside each terminal there is one security gate to a maximum of 6 gates so lines are very small and the wait isn’t too bad; free wireless Internet; if you get there 1 hour before your flight you’ll always make it; and if you fly Southwest they have comfortable seats with free electricity (AA or United IIRC which doesn’t have free electricity and you have to pay for access to an outlet to charge cell phones or laptops – what a crock!).
     
    I love to drive but not to be a zombie driver.  But of course it all depends on the specifics of the trip, how long we are staying, who is going, where we are staying, etc. This race year I’m doing an arrive & drive program since I live in KC and most of my events are based around Chicago region (normally would have an 8-10 hour tow). So an 1 hour 20 minute flight from KC to Midway airport and a quick car rental or family / friends come pick me up should work out great.

  • avatar
    SVT48

    Years ago, well before 9/11, Brock Yates advanced the proposal that anything you could drive in 5 hours or less was faster and more relaxing than flying.  Now I’d say it’s been extended to almost a full day or more.  I live in an area not well served by airlines (DTW 45 miles north, TOL 20 miles west) but right at the intersection of I80/90 and I75.  With the aid of an Escort and an EasyPass, east west travel is far more efficient by car.  The additional problems with flying that have always been there (even pre 9/11) are the cost to get to the airport or to park there and what do you do for transportation when you get there?  If I fly to Florida to visit my parents, the flight can be as cheap as $170 round trip but the car rental for a week can easily double that.  Add in $50-60 each way for the trip to the airport or minimum $10 a day parking in a lot that you may be missing a battery or wheels when you return – I’ll drive.  The shame of it is, I LOVE flying. My first flight was in a United DC-3 piston engine plane. Nothing beats the sensation of those jet engines spooling up and takeoff roll, moment the plane rotates and the gear folds up!  I’ll never own my own fighter jet like Bob Lutz so this is as close as I’ll get.  So here’s hoping flying will become more exclusive (bring on those high speed trains for the unwashed masses) in the future so it can be enjoyed again.

  • avatar
    Pikes

    About a year ago, I was traveling between Toronto and Montreal on a fairly regular basis.  If I was going for the day or one night, I would fly.  Otherwise, I would drive, since 5 hours of driving was only about 30 minutes more than the door to door time for flying.
    In terms of avoiding the misery of air travel or the monotony of the drive, taking the train was the best, especially the express train – comfy seats and 4 hours door to door.
     

    • 0 avatar
      John B

      I travel between Montreal and Toronto on a regular basis.  If I’m travelling with my wife, we drive.  When I travel solo I usually take the train due to price and pretty good service.  I’ll fly only if I can find a reasonable deal on Porter Airlines – the only airline I will consider for such a trip.  Porter’s service is outstanding and they fly out of the Island airport downtown.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Recently I had to fly on Southwest Airlines from Chicago Midway to Corona, CA on business.  The flight experience was so unpleasant that I quite seriously considered booking an Amtrak train ticket with a Grand drawing room (essentially a rolling living room/bedroom with a private bath) for the return trip.  The only reason I did not was due to the hassle of retrieving my car at Midway after returning to Chicago’s Union Terminal at 10:00 pm….

    Seriously, dude…three broad shouldered men sitting 3 across on a 4 hour flight.  It was brutal.

    My threshold for driving vs. flying is now 600 miles.  And I’ll probably need to be sedated to get on the damned plane. 

  • avatar
    cdotson

    My threshold is about 12 hours.  This fall we’re planning to pile the extended family into the Odyssey and drive 750 miles to Florida’s Kingdom of the Mouse (thanks Dan).  Four licensed drivers and three kids (a 6yo in a booster and two 3yos) on a drive like that should happen in about 12 hours road time plus meals/breaks.  After looking at the cost of flying and the two rental cars we’d probably need the only debate was whether to drive or drive 2 hours up to DC and take the AutoTrain.  Since the train was essentially a *two-day* ordeal that cost nearly as much as flying, driving it is.
     
    When I was a kid my family took vacations every summer to see my grandparents in the mountains that was nearly 12 hours driving back in the 55mph days.  Going to 65mph limits cut two hours off that trip.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Like so many other posters, it depends. If it’s me driving solo, not much more than 5 or 6 hours. If my wife and I are going somewhere together, we can do 12-18 hours. Grand Rapids to Chicago is a different story, if the destination is in the city (reachable by taxi service), I’ll take the train over. If I have to go to the suburbs, I’ll drive, but I will be one unhappy SOB when I get there.
     
    Our last major road trip was when the kids were little, we drove from GR to Houston to see the grandparents. It was daunting at times, and the motel in Texarkana was not inexpensive. It was an experience I’m glad we did, we got to see so much of the country.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Is Dino really wearing white socks with loafers in this photo? UNBELIEVEABLE!

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Since I don’t have to travel for work I can plan time for any US trip and drive regardless of the distance.  Sure California’s two days away but if you vary your route getting there and back is part of the vacation.

  • avatar
    radimus

    I utterly detest modern airline travel.  Have for years.
     
    Back in the mid 90’s I flew a lot for work.  The security checks were nothing like they are today, but I still hated it after the initial thrill wore off.  Getting packed in like sardines, losing all sense of place when you can’t see squat out of what passes for windows at 30k ft, bad food, bad movies, etc.  Now, there’s all that along with the degrading security theatre nonsense I want nothing to do with it.  If I can afford the money and time to drive, take the train, or even book passage on a freighter ship I’ll do it before I fly.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Meh.  For me, the alternative to flying is usually the train.  And, I figure it based on time, not mileage.  So, for example, a flight to NYC- Manhattan takes, by my calculation, a little under 3 hours if everything goes well.  That includes arriving at the airport 1 hr. before scheduled departure, an hour of flying time and up to an hour in a cab from LGA to Manhattan (depending upon whether I’m going downtown or midtown).  The train is, IIRC, 3 hours on the fastest Acelas (I’ve clocked ’em at around 150 mph on my GPS) and it drops me right in midtown Manhattan . . . and I’m a 10-minute subway ride from Wall Street downtown.  Since there’s no security bullshit, you can arrive 20 minutes before departure.  The Acela is much less subject to disruption, unlike the plane (NYC airspace is quite congested) and a cab (NY traffic, what else do I need to say?) is also subject to the whims of traffic.
    Driving between DC and NYC is the absolute worst in the world: the scenery sucks once you get out of Maryland, the traffic is always dense, there are tolls, construction, etc.
    So, NYC is the train for me.  Boston in is the plane.  I’ve done the train to Boston; it takes too long.  Philadelphia — I never have business in Philadelphia — would be the train for business (You can’t work while driving a car) otherwise the car.
    Going south, I had a case in Norfolk decades ago; it was too far to drive.  Take the plane.  Richmond, obviously: drive.
    No question air service ain’t what it used to be (I took my first flight, from Baltimore to Denver, in 1963.)  Pre-deregulation, flying was a luxury good.  Since the government didn’t let airlines compete on the basis of price, they competed on the basis of amenities: food, hot stewardesses (“flight attendants” were invented later), nice cabins, etc.  I really don’t recall the seat pitch from coach in my few de-regulation days flights; although the old Eastern Shuttle had seats incredibly crammed in.  However, since most flights were about 1/2 full, you rarely found yourself in a full row of seats in coach.
    A few numbers for the nostalgic:  US railroads got out of the passenger business because they couldn’t make money at it.  There was no “it was decided” by the government, God or anyone else.  The bus was cheaper, the plane was faster and, for a family, the car was way cheaper and just as fast.  I did have the privilege of taking the Baltimore and Ohio “Capitol Limited” from Washington to Chicago in 1964, and then the Santa Fe Chief and El Capitan from Chicago to southeast Colorado.  It was a fun experience, for a 15-year old for sure.  The problem with trains is that tracks and roadbeds are designed for a certain speed, and freight trains do not go fast.  So, if you want to run trains at more than 100 mph, they have to have their own dedicated tracks, designed for those speeds (which is what Amtrak has on the DC to Boston corridor).  So, building high-speed rail becomes extremely expensive.  Amtrak itself is only profitable on the DC to Boston run, and that kind of density and population mass exists nowhere else in the U.S.  Amtrak’s frequency of service is about once an hour.  What other corridor is going to support that kind of frequency of service?  Amtrak . . . and, outside of the U.S., high speed rail generally consumes huge subsidies (i.e. payments from non-users).
    Highway construction is funded by state and local motor fuel taxes (i.e. by users).  Airlines and their customers pay for airports and the air traffic control system.
    For many of these corridors where the current administration wants to build high-speed rail, it would be far cheaper (and more beneficial) to build high-speed tollways, with limited access, where people could drive 100 mph and, if someone wished to, they could operate high speed bus service.

  • avatar
    gator marco

    I think my threshhold is more like 500 – 600 miles. Unless there is an ocean involved, or I have to cross half a continent, I’d much prefer driving. I’m a large person, and in addition to the whole security conga-line, I typically find myself in a cramped seat, with a crying baby nearby.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “Unless there is an ocean involved” Ha ha ha! That reminds me when I was a kid in school and actually believed the little hatched line that indicated the equator on the classroom globe was a railroad track!

  • avatar
    stuki

    400 sounds reasonable for the coasts. In the Rockies, it will have to be a good bit further before I fly, at least in the summer. In my younger days, I used to think nothing of driving round trip Los Angeles to Denver or anywhere in Montana. The only part that bothered me, was the final hour or a few, returning to LA area traffic, dead tired and road worn.
     
    I used to have quite a lot of work in Dallas, and only attempted that drive once. Ditto Seattle. Just too far and too tiresome, respectively.
     

  • avatar

    After spending over 5 years on the road, earning Platinum status many times over on various airlines, I am done with flying. Period.
    It is the most awful experience, from the baggage check, through security and on-board the plane….even with frequent flyer status and waiting in the special lounges.
    I am planning to spend a few weeks with my Mom on the East Coast this summer and am planning to drive there, over 2000 miles. Yes, it will take me a couple of days; however, I’d rather spend that time on the secondary roads, having an adventure, then be surrounded by Bubba, his fat wife and their two bratty kids.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    While there are many factors involved, I have trouble imagining a situation where I would fly to a destination in North America rather than driving.  The last time I was forced to take a flight, I even asked my boss if I could collect mileage and drive the 2000 miles to Houston rather than fly.  He denied my request, and wondered why Saskatchewan people are so strange, since my co-worker buddy had requested the same thing the last time he had to fly south.  I prefer two days of comfortable, scenic travel to a single day of being delivered to a destination in discomfort.
     
    I suppose if I had absolutely no need for a car at my destination, I was traveling alone, and the trip exceeded 1000 miles – thus requiring a hotel stay – I’d consider flying.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    My wife and I used to travel from Oregon to Southern Cal every winter to visit family, about 1000 miles each way.  We usually could make it in a day.  Bring along a couple audio books and it beats in-flight entertainment, we got through the whole Harry Potter series that way.  I’ll fly if time is tight, otherwise I’d much rather drive.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    funny you found that pic of the Lear Jet belonging to Frank Sinatra. It’s the one that took the pictures of the XB-70 Valkyrie #002’s crash.
    Story HERE:

    http://www.sunlakesaeroclub.org/updates_web_data/081231/Sinatra.htm

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    If I can’t get there by car then I don’t need to go!
     
    I guess that’s why the HHR is piling on the miles, 14 states in two years!
     
    And, I have this saying…You never hear of people falling 30000 feet out of a Chevy, so I’ll stick to that way of travel…

    • 0 avatar

      They don’t need to fall that much in a Chevy. About 5 years ago, a family went down embankment on eastbound I-580 between Livermore and Tracy, all dead. Took maybe 50 feet at the most. What was surprising to me, they managed to leave the freeway on the inside of a turn.

    • 0 avatar
      76triumph

      Your saying isn’t so wise.  There were 33,808 US traffic fatalities in 2009.  In 2010 there were zero commercial air fatalities in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      supremebrougham

      @76Triumph I will give you that, however, my little saying is both tongue-in-cheek, and a slight reminder that if my car should decide to quit, I can just merely steer it to the side of the road. If an airplane decides to conk out, it cannot be steered to the side of the sky, or so to speak. No fatalities in ’09, that’s truly wonderful, but when something does go wrong, look out!

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      If an airplane decides to conk out, it cannot be steered to the side of the sky, or so to speak.
      Not true. Don’t forget the “Sullenburger on the Hudson incident.” Some new small planes have parachutes and everyone is trained and practices how to land without power.  Frequently you can just glide down to an interstate or field and set it down. It happens more than you might think.

      Taking your car to the side of road isn’t always a safe bet. We’ve have people killed in my area after being hit by drunk drivers while pulled over onto the side of the road.

  • avatar
    EyeMWing

    “The Continental United States, plus southern tier Canada” is my area of roadgoing operations – unless an employer is paying, and is going to pay me for time spent sitting at the airport and aboard the aircraft. I used to love flying – but now, just no.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Even BEFORE this latest round of un-Constitutional “probing” by the TSA people (try checking the Constitution some time, and read into it as it was intended to be read… and understood) my wife and I drove from southern Michigan to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper on a vacation. 

    Now, if and when I fly internationally, I will simply drive the 7 hours to Toronto and fly from there.  I refuse to be treated like a criminal by a criminal government. 

    I’m not any hippy weirdo; just a normal businessman who’s essentially been told by his own government that because of his personal opinions, he is effectively an enemy of the state.  Because I believe in the Constitution that these Washington DC types “swear” to uphold and defend.  Because I’m a vet (which used to get you respect once upon a time).  Because I believe in a creator God.  Because I believe in all the amendments of the Constitution. 

    I consider the current and prior several administrations as legitimate as the government of East Germany, and look forward to the day when virtually all of them are hauled into court for fair trials by citizens, on charges of sedition, treason, high-treason, illegal actions under color of authority and anything else we can think up.  Likewise the TSA agents and pretty well most government employees, for that matter. 

  • avatar
    nrd515

    At this point, I would drive anywhere in the continent before I would fly, and since I’m not really wanting to go off continent, I will not fly again. The last time was such a circus before we took off, and was scary as hell after, it totally turned me off.

  • avatar
    radiohound

    On the subject of private flying, being essentially swarthy, (and a dangerous dude in my own estimation), I found myself so hassled by the TSA antics that i frequently missed the flights I was on time for due to their additional “security” screenings.
    My response was to buy an airplane and learn t fly it.  In the ensuring 10 years, the expense has been worth the ability to go where and when I want without the hassles of the TSA.
    Last week, I was forced to fly commercial in a half empty plane and was placed next to a very obese man who was flowing into my seat.  He was sweaty, sneezing and coughing. When I asked to move into an nearby empty seat, I was told I could not due to “security” reasons.
    Well, the nation and the flying public is safer now that I have that man’s cough and cold.
    The airlines have ruined the system, aided and abetted by the kibouki theatre of the TSA. Can’t wait for the majors to go out of business.  I will throw the worlds biggest party.
     
     
     

  • avatar
    sray_404

    I am originally from Atlanta and have lived in Harrisburg, PA for the last 3 years. Almost all of my family still live in Georgia, so I travel south to see them at least twice a year. That being said, for the last 2 years I have decided to drive the 700+ miles instead of flying. There are several reasons why, first of all is Harrisburg’s airport is very small and flights directly to Atlanta are not exactly cheap. I can drive to either the Philly or Baltimore airport within about 90 minutes (depending on traffic) for cheaper flights, but that is added travel time. The absolute best time I have made it from my front door to my dad’s taking a flight was 11 hours. On that trip, I left my house at 6am, drove the the Harrisburg airport, caught the shuttle bus from the long term lot to the airport, did the security thing, caught my flight, arrived in Atlanta 2 hours later, made my way to baggage claim (it can take up to 45 minutes depending on which concourse you come in on), got my bags, caught a train the the rental car hub, another 30 minutes go by before I am actually in my rental and ready to fight Atlanta traffic? Long story short, it was 5 pm before I got to my dad’s. The last several times I drove, it took me around 9 1/2 hours and cost the same. Less stress, less time, more control, and cost neutral. Easy decision to make

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