6 Dreadful Questions to Ask a Non-Flyer
Are you scared of flying? What happens when you want to go on holiday? What if we need to send you somewhere for work? Do you not get board? Are trains not too unreliable? Is it not expensive to take the train?
Are you scared of flying?
This question is the automatic question that people ask as soon as I say that I don’t fly. I am still looking forward to the first response “Why because of the environment?” This response may still be some years away but I am still hopeful. Perceptions and people’s opinions will change with time.
What happens when you want to go on holiday?
I don’t’ fly that is what happens. I use trains, buses and boats. When I was finished with Uni I went travelling. I have been to every country in Europe except Portugal, Island and Ireland. This six-month trip was great (although I did get a bit board of churches). I got as far as South Egypt, Jordan and Syria. It was amazing and so I am now a bit travelled out. Now when I go on holidays I continue to use the train. Living in south Germany means Italy And the Mediterranean Sea are on my doorstep.
What if we need to send you somewhere for work?
The first time I told my work that I do not fly there was a bit of an uproar. What if we need to send you to France or England? This has not ever come up. They sometimes want to fly me up to north Germany for a meeting, but I catch the early train. I was bad with my last job. I let them fly me to a meeting without too much protest, but now it is a no go. The Volcanic Ash cloud that disrupted flights in much of Europe has shown to have had no economic impact. Business people may think it is important to meet someone face to face, but it is more productive using technology. I have never really understood why firms insist on having their most highly paid people spending a lot of time waiting for flights and commuting from one hand shake to the next.
Do you not get board?
Ok I can kind of understand this. Sitting on a train for six hours can be a bit tedious, however I always prepare myself for it. Books/ Music/ Laptop for videos or writing/ podcasts or my favourite: thinking. I cannot tell you how relaxed I am on a train. I chill completely out as they whisk me from one city centre to the next. Travelling by train has no stress and boredom is just a result of not having enough imagination.
Are trains not too unreliable?
I have had horror stories. I got caught up with the Eurostar chaos over Christmas 2009. The snow in the north of France was the wrong kind and it messed with the trains’ electrics. I was delayed by 40 hours. I got a free night in Brussels and had to get a load of regional trains to Dover before catching the boat with about 300 other Eurostar passengers. However Eurostar paid all my costs and I got a free return ticket. I am travelling back to England tomorrow for free! No airlines would do that. Eurostar also promised to get everybody back before Christmas and in the same order that they booked. Many Poles stayed in England that Chrismas because their flights were simply cancelled. Definitely less stress as flying during the volcanic ash disruption to flights.
Is it not expensive to take the train?
Only because there is no fuel tax on Kerosene and the flights are free from VAT. Also in Europe the trains are already included in Emissions Trading. Planes will join in 2012! There are some stupid tax rules that need reforming. They will get reformed eventually and then we will see. It is just a shame that planes continue to be subsidised and given an unfair advantage over trains. They are worse for the environment, create more noise, and are in the long-term going to cost us the earth.
Stop flying and stop asking me these questions please! Have I missed any annoying questions? Are there other reasons for flying that I have missed out?