Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Plane Truth
Every Sunday I take a vacation. Sadly, it's only an imaginary one, and worse yet I don't get to choose the destination. That is instead the dictate of the AJC's Travel section of the Sunday paper. As soon as I ferret it out of the rest of the advertisements, classifieds, etc. (the Sports section having been retrieved long before by Tim), I take a poll among the family to get them to guess where I'm headed. (Without fail, Danny guesses "yoga," so he's not exactly clear on the concept.) Thanks to the Magic Tree House books, Clare has a variety of destinations she can now suggest. I think she was right once, but since Jack and Annie don't typically go on Caribbean cruises or take romantic getaways within a three-hour radius of Atlanta, the odds aren't great for her, either.
Reading the travel section is sometimes fun for me, and sometimes makes me ache for the freedom of the days before kids, when a trip to Europe or Napa was possible. It also gets me to thinking about what our kids' perception of travel is, and the privileges and opportunities it presents. I'm pretty sure their perspective is a bit skewed, and the following numbers will illustrate why.
While booking our holiday travel a few days ago, we discovered that Clare has almost earned a round-trip ticket via frequent flier miles. This alone is only modestly impressive. After all, Clare is five and a half. The ticket, though, is on Delta, an airline we have flown only since we moved to Atlanta three years ago. Nor have we flown them exclusively. Nor has she earned miles for every trip we've taken, because thanks to Tim's previous positions that entailed a fair amount of travel, we have probably been able to get approximately 40% of her tickets on frequent flier miles.
This begs the question: just how much do these kids (and their parents) fly? In 2008 alone, by the time Christmas rolls around, we will have made eight trips: four to Buffalo, and four to California. As I pondered this, I just had to tally up how many flights I estimate Clare has taken in her five+ years: pre-2008, she took 31 trips. So by the end of this year, she will have taken almost 40 round-trip plane rides. FORTY! Which doesn't even factor in the driving trips we've taken to Florida, Charleston, yadda yadda.
I like to think that my kids will appreciate the chances to visit their grandparents, cousins, and cool places. I'm fairly certain that they take it all a bit for granted, and I suppose that is most people's 21st century attitude toward air travel. We really can get anywhere we want in a relatively short amount of time, and thank heavens, since so many of us live far from loved ones. I hope Clare and Danny will always have a love for seeing new places and seize as many opportunities to travel as they can.
And I really hope they remember dear old mom and dad, and throw us a plane ticket here and there...they clearly owe us a few!