Virginia Heffernan’s idolizing of airplane sleepers in article posted yesterday in the Opinionator, the online commentary section of the New York Times, has to be the most honest and hilarious descriptive of commercial aircraft travel I have ever come across.
Heffernan writes: “These are seeming mortals who, though in coach (in infantilizing seats complete with baby trays that trap them in their own refuse until mommy clears their place), conk out. With the closed-mouth solemnity of a dignitary lying in state, airplane sleepers seem to me shamanistic.”
And that’s just the beginning.
The article got me laughing hard, and thinking back to those times back in the 20th century when pilots used to be able to let kids check out the cockpit and husbands were allowed into concourses to meet their wives when they walked off the plane. It made me appreciate the aircraft experiences that still have a sense of wonder, freedom, and pleasure.
In my world, I’ve encountered two aircraft experiences that haven’t yet deteriorated to the point where those who can sleep through the experience are the lucky ones. The first is the ski-mounted bushplane flights that access mountain adventures in Denali National Park. The other is during summer mountain adventures with Canadian Mountain Holidays.
Even while riding in helicopters and glacier planes, some passengers manage to fall asleep, but nobody envies them. With CMH, the aircraft is an intimate part of the experience and it’s a rare guest who falls asleep. The following four photos demonstrate the breath of fresh air that is the CMH aircraft experience perfectly:
Yup, there are still places out there where air travel is worth staying awake for.