Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fear Of Flying Leaves Long-Distance Traveler Exploring Other Options

Dear Tazi:

I am a college freshman going to school several states away from home. In order to get here with all of my stuff, my parents drove me; freshmen are not allowed to have cars on campus, so mine is back home. I have only been here a week and already my mother is asking me about booking airfare home for the Thanksgiving weekend. Tazi, I am afraid to fly!

I have never told my parents of my fear because I have never had reason to fly before, but after 9/11 I have been petrified of terrorists taking over a plane. The thought of going through the invasive security check – where you practically have to strip naked – leaves me preferring alternate means of transportation. It is an hour ride to the train station, but my roommate has offered to take me since it is practically on her way home anyway, and the train ride would be eight hours back to my home, at which point I would need someone to pick me up from the train station, which is about another hour from where I live (the airport is only half an hour away).

When I suggested to my Mom that it might be easier – and a whole lot cheaper – to take the train home my Mom laughed and said not to worry about the cost, that they would cover it. The cost is not my worry! I would much rather spend the entire day traveling by train than have to spend an entire day hanging around the airport to catch my first flight and then a transfer flight for a three hour flight. In the end, the time involved is roughly the same but my comfort level would be much greater. How can I convince my Mom to let me take the train home?

Scaredy Boo

Dear Scaredy Boo:

You could tell your Mom that you are afraid to fly, I am sure she would understand. You will have to tell her soon, though, before she buys you a non-refundable plane ticket home; at that point, I would advise you to suck it up, buttercup, and hop on that big bird home.

Right now, your Mom is missing you something awful, and Thanksgiving is what she is hanging her heart on; she may not be thinking clearly about how much time is involved in air travel, and does not realize that a high speed express train could have you back home just as quickly as a plane ride.

If you are too embarrassed to tell your Mom that you are afraid to fly then tell her that taking a plane would be much more of a hassle for you – getting there (do you even have a ride or would you have to take a taxi?); getting through security; sitting around while waiting for your connecting flight; possibly dealing with air sickness; and arriving exhausted from a full day of travel. On the other hand you could accompany your roommate on her way home from school so she doesn’t have to drive alone; board the train without “practically having to strip naked”; and take an uninterrupted trip because there is not transfer involved. Tell your Mom you will arrive fresher and more ready to visit with people than you would if you travel by air; this should cinch your argument for you. Now go call your Mom and tell her that you love her and look forward to seeing her at the train station!


P.S. Amtrak offers discounted fares for students!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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