Why I will always fly direct

Although in normal life, I like my beds soft, my food hot and my hair clean, in travel, I recognize that these things are not always possible.

Instead, in travel, my mind automatically opens to being more accepting of unpleasant living conditions, dirty clothes and too-late nights. However, there is one thing I never scrimp on – a favorable flight.

I really hate flying. I hate being at the mercy of the airport, the rude flight attendants, bad yet expensive food and early mornings. So, within reason, I make every effort to fly in and out of the airport 20 minutes from my house at a normal hour on a direct flight.

~File photo

When my mother invited me to go to Wilmington, North Carolina with her for a few days to visit her mom, I said yes, but under one condition – I would not drive there (I hate the car even more than I hate the airport). Little did I know (and had I known, I would have been down to drive) we were driving to an airport about an hour from my house to catch a flight at 8 a.m., only to get on another connecting flight and then drive another hour and a half.

The journey of a nightmare.

As usual, I couldn’t sleep knowing that I had to get up at 5 a.m. so I literally didn’t fall asleep. And, as predicted – and as every flight I have been on for the past few months – our first flight was delayed on American Airlines for some asinine reason. The flight was delayed by 40 minutes – the exact amount of time our layover was.

Although our gate-side checkin luggage was immediately available and our connecting gate was only steps away, we missed the closing of the gate by moments. The attendants didn’t let us on the plane, most likely because they had already given away our seats to those on standby.

In ignorance, probably because I haven’t taken a connecting flight in at least 10 years, I really always thought that those on standby were people getting complimentary tickets because their family worked for the airline or something. Until we sat there on standby, after missing a flight by seconds, after being on a delayed flight because someone forgot their luggage or something, I never realized that standby was really for all the sad people who had booked a connection only to miss it by yet another flight delay.


My mother, in typical mother format, was absolutely furious. She ran around from gate to gate trying to get an American Airlines personnel member to let us on the flight. She yelled at the attendant. She was totally frantic. It was then that I realized exactly what a direct flight guaranteed – at least some degree of peace of mind and the option to not be treated like yet another piece of cargo on yet another old, overpriced plane.

I know that my mother booked the connected flight tickets to save money (which is the reason that every person on earth chooses connected flight tickets) but that miserable 11-hour day of travel – which is two hours more than it would take to drive to Wilmington, North Carolina – only solidified what I always knew.

Connected flights are not worth it.

Your time is valuable.

My time is valuable.

Get a direct flight.

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