Before I board a plane . . .

IT USED TO BE that when I planned a trip, the last thing I thought about was getting to the airport. And the only time I spent worrying about the plane crashing was in the odd moment as I sat at the gate, waiting for a flight to be announced. I might toy with the idea briefly, then dismiss it as statistically so remote a possibility that I just couldn't waste time worrying about it.

Both my father and my brother were Air Force pilots, and, since childhood, flying seemed to me a very natural way to get from place to place, continent to continent. In fact, I've always been grateful that I live in an era when air travel is so accessible and, relatively speaking, hassle-free.

December 2, 2002

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