24. Do you like to fly?









board: to enter a plane or a boat

booked: reserved

delay / delayed: postponed; or forced to wait

departure: the area or time when a persons leaves

fly: to travel by air (fly / flew / flown)

means: method; way

reliable: dependable; something that is always available or easy to use

screen: check

statistics: numbers and averages

trivial: unimportant


Do you like to fly? These days air travel is a very common means of transportation. It’s fast and it’s usually reliable, but not everyone likes to fly on an airplane. Why is that?

Let’s first consider that there are many good reasons for flying. It’s fast and sometimes it costs less than traveling by car, or it’s the only real option for getting from point A to point B.

However, changes to the airline industry over the last decade or so have made air travel a less desirable form of transportation. In addition to that, many more people can afford the price of a ticket for themselves and their families, so an increase in ridership has also increased the problems that are currently being reported.

One of the biggest things to dislike about flying is airline security.  Although good security is necessary these days, it has resulted in long lines at airports. Travelers with flights to catch often have to arrive at the airport one to two hours early in order to pass through the check-in areas. In the United States, TSA (Transportation Security Administration) carefully checks luggage and screens passengers before they are allowed to go to their gates for departure, but this takes a lot of time, and sometimes people miss their flights because of lengthy screening procedures.

After you have arrived at the gate, there is a waiting period to board the airplane. Prior to boarding, some unlucky passengers might learn that they have been bumped off the flight.  A passenger is bumped because planes are often booked to capacity, or they are overbooked. That means there are not enough seats on the plane for everyone. Bumped passengers might receive free air travel or a reduced rate for travel on another fight to compensate for their loss, but it’s still an inconvenient situation.

Weather delays also cause problems. If the weather is bad at either the point of departure or arrival, a delay can mean an additional waiting period of hours, but in some situations that involve severe weather, it means that a flight must be rescheduled for the next day or the day after that.

Once on the plane, passengers who don’t have the luxury of flying first class find themselves uncomfortably wedged into small seating areas. Fellow passengers are sometimes rude, or their personal hygiene makes for an unpleasant seating arrangement. Spending four hours sitting next to someone who really needs to take a bath can be unbearable. Then there are those people who never stop talking, or they invade the personal space of the people sitting next to them. Others are just plain mean or obnoxious.

Compared to the problems faced by a majority of people around the world, the discomfort or hassle of traveling by plane could seem trivial. This is what we call a "first-world problem." Furthermore, according to the statistics, it’s much safer to travel by plane than it is to travel by car or by train. However, the complaints typically heard these days about the airlines are causing some travelers to reconsider their method of transportation, perhaps choosing to drive if possible.

So, what do you think? Despite all these problems and hassles, do you like to fly?

(Personally, I always wonder how something so heavy and loaded with so many people manages to even get off the ground. )

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Now you try it. Read the story above. If you have a microphone, you can record your voice.


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