2023 is coming to an end, and it's been a bit of an anomalous year for me in that I went the entire year without stepping foot on an airplane. This is the first time since 1992 - over 30 years ago! - that I did not fly for any purpose.
Sure, it's a bit weird for an aviation geek like me to go an entire calendar year without flying, but that's just how things worked out: the only big, long-distance trip I took this past year was a road trip with my family, and I had no other events, be they personal or work-related, that required me to fly. So I didn't.
And I didn't really miss it, either. Between long security and check-in lines, flight delays, fees for checked baggage and other services that airlines used to provide for free, rude employees both in the terminal and in the skies, small and uncomfortable seats on the plane itself, and unruly, disruptive passengers, commercial air travel has become a real pain in the ass. Unless you have the financial means and/or frequent flier miles to fly business or first class, and can avail yourself to perks like TSA PreCheck, priority boarding, and airline lounges, there's really nothing glamorous or enjoyable about traveling by air.
This isn't to say I'll never fly again, of course; commercial aviation, for all its headaches, is a necessary form of travel (and in many cases, the only practical one). So I'm sure I'll be flying again at some point. Like I said, 2023 was something of an anomaly; it was just nice to go an entire year without standing in line at the check-in counter, or taking off my shoes to pass through security, or sitting in a cramped seat with no elbow room, or being jostled by turbulence, or fighting through the hordes of people at baggage claim to retrieve my luggage.
Regardless of whether you plan to fly in the coming year or not, I wish anybody who may be reading this a safe, happy and prosperous 2024!