If a certain British writer had her way, frequent flyers would be banished to an island and never heard from again.
“New figures released in a Department of Transport survey show that the top 10% of the most frequent flyers in England took more than 50% of all international flights last year and that 1% of English residents took nearly 20% of all flights abroad,” Lucy Mangan wrote in The Guardian. “By contrast, 48% of us (hello! My name is Lucy Mangan and I do not even have a passport) took no flights abroad at all.
“It is a reminder of the eternal truth that in most areas of life it is a particularly poisonous – almost literally in this case – few that ruin things for the rest of us.”
So how is this the fault of frequent flyers? And what exactly do we “ruin”?
Honestly, I have no idea. Maybe it’s a parody and was lost on me. But here are some guesses.
Maybe we’re perceived as being wealthy. No doubt some frequent flyers have been blessed with good fortune.
But personally speaking, my accountant and my wife can attest how very rich I am not.
I hope Ms. Mangan realizes many frequent flyers travel for work. Some business travel is paid by employers or clients. Business owners and some contract workers pay out of pocket. (I fall into both categories and my work travel is divided up about 50/50.)
But a decent chunk of us depends on credit card points/miles and frequent flyer program points to help discount our personal travels.
Perhaps it’s an impression that we lead fabulous, glamorous lives.
The article’s cover photo depicts a sporty couple deplaning a private jet. How many private jet rides do you take each year? Again, I’m sure some Rene’s Points readers find themselves on a private plane every so often. But the majority? Probably not so much.
And yes, some of us enjoy first class upgrades, airport lounges, hotel room upgrades, and other fun perks. But a lot of that comes with some expense — financial (such as perks obtained through travel credit cards) or personally. We’re exhausted from days of working, missing friends and family, and running to catch another flight.
Many of us can attest that kissing our loved ones goodbye at 3:00 AM so we can make a 5:00 AM flight to work isn’t at all fancy, glamorous, or fabulous.
We Destroy the Environment?
“Is it really easier to try to change millions of individuals’ recycling habits than legislate against industrial pollution?” Ms. Mangan asks.
Environmental rage is all the, well, rage these days — especially given the reactions to Greta Thunberg.
Airplanes aren’t exactly blameless when it comes to pollution, though planes are becoming more fuel-efficient. And Delta is even looking at ways of creating biofuel from forest floors.
I think it’s a combination of the above factors. But maybe — just maybe — Ms. Mangan envies those of us who spent so much time in the air.
Did she not take any international flights because she lacks a passport? Doesn’t have enough money? Doesn’t want to be perceived as “elite” but secretly craves jumping on an overseas flight?
She should get herself a passport and a couple of decent travel rewards credit cards, and explore the world.
It’s far more enjoyable, productive, and healthier than hating.
What Do You Think?
Check out the article and come back here to share your thoughts.
What exactly do you think we’re ruining (if anything at all)?
Cover photo: ©iStock.com/anyaberkut
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