There is something I can always count on whenever I have to travel on planes—stress.
Before my first plane ride at nine-years-old, I had unfortunately witnessed from my TV the grim and horrifying reality of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
It instilled in me a primal fear of flying before I was old enough to process the terrifying geo-political ramifications of that dreaded day. So when I was set to step on an airplane for the first time roughly 14 months after the attacks, I was scared out of my mind. There were no rationalizations that anyone could have fed me to shake that fear, aside from forcing myself to walk through doors and take my seat with as much courage as I could muster at such a young age. I’m glad that I persisted during that tough situation, because after the third or fourth plane ride, I wasn’t so much afraid of crashes or hijackings but instead frustrated with the discomfort from sitting on airplanes for long flights. The legroom is dismal, the seats are extremely narrow, and often the heating and cooling is all over the place. More often than not the plane is extremely cold from the constant air conditioning, while other times it might feel sweltering if a ton of sunlight is providing radiant heat through the array of open window shades. I wish there was some middle ground where it wouldn’t feel too hot or too cold, but I have yet to ride on an airplane where that was the case. They seemingly cannot figure out how to keep the airplane at a more comfortable temperature for long periods of time.