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Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 8:00 am

My Take

Mark McGee

I’m an anxious flyer. Not anxious in terms of being nervous, but I am always anxious to get the opportunity to fly somewhere.

As I sat in Nashville’s International Airport at 5:30 a.m. waiting for a 6:30 flight to Phoenix, I have to admit I was experiencing a little trepidation.

I observed my fellow passengers more closely than I normally would and started running through in-flight scenarios in my mind.

Who might decide to fight with a flight attendant over whether or not the person’s take-on luggage was too big for the overhead bin? Good seats are often at a premium on Southwest flights. Who might be the one to confront me about the fact I had an aisle seat and they didn’t because they waited too long to get a boarding pass?

It was early morning. Who may have failed to shower before the flight?

My mind was racing. All these things and more have been happening on flights.  But I worried needlessly.

Boarding went off without a hitch. It was a peaceful, patient group.

No one tried to open an exit door in mid-air. No one was visibly drunk and physically and/or verbally abusive. Everyone around me had practiced good hygiene.

The same would be true on my return flight to Nashville.

But it wasn’t just the passengers that had me concerned more than usual. I love flying Southwest. The pilots are well-trained. The interiors of the airplanes are always clean.

Both of the airplanes I flew on, however, were obviously new. In the news there have been reports of bolts missing from wings of airplanes for other airlines. A door plug blew out in midair. Some aircraft were grounded for re-inspection.

There was no monster pounding on the engines like in an episode of the “The Twilight Zone”

Southwest doesn’t fly the version of the Boeing airplanes which had experienced the issues. I didn’t stop to check the bolts, so again, my concerns were unnecessary.

My flight west was one of the smoothest I have ever experienced. There was some brief turbulence on the way back home, but our landing was one of the softest I have ever enjoyed.

I am always thankful for a smooth flight for two reasons. First, I hate a shaky aircraft, especially one where pilots are struggling with bad weather. Second, I am a flight attendant’s dream because usually I sleep during a flight, a habit that often causes consternation to those I may be traveling with.

Good Lord willing, I have another trip scheduled in a few weeks. Based on this experience I won’t be quite as vigilant as I was, but it never hurts to always watch your back when you travel.

With the warmer weather and with summer fast approaching, more people will be taking to the air. It is comforting to know that despite the recent issues with airplanes, experts assure us the aircraft we fly in today are the safest ever.

So sit back and enjoy the ride.