Air travel’s the go-to form of transportation for most travellers.
If you want to travel the world, then you hop on a plane, right?
Watch a few films, fall asleep for a few hours, eat some questionable food, and, before you know it, you’ve travelled half way around the world.
Clearly, there’s a host of advantages of air transport to enjoy. Alas, there’s a fair number of disadvantages of air transport for travellers to consider too.
In this post I’d like to detail them all!
Keep reading to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of air transport to keep in mind before booking your flights.
Heads up, this post contains affiliate links.
The Advantages of Air Transport- Airplane Advantages!
Let’s start with the good stuff.
Like I said in the intro, travelling by plane offers a host of pros to travellers. Here is a selection of the primary advantages of airplanes that you’ll enjoy.
(Travelling by car instead?! Here are the pros and cons of car transport to think about too!)
1. The Ease (Top Advantages of Airplanes)
It’s hard to deny the ease and simplicity that comes from travelling by air.
Okay, so the experience at the airport can be a little stressful sometimes.
But, all things considered, stepping onto a plane allows you to travel around the world in a matter of hours.
It’s so straight-forward that you can take it for granted.
I try and pinch myself whenever I’m on a plane these days in an attempt to remind myself how incredible the process actually is.
2. The Experience (Another of the Main Advantages of Planes)
The experience of air travel is one of the greatest airplane advantages.
Travelling by plane suspends you thousands of feet above the earth in a glorified metal tube with wings.
That’s noteworthy in and of itself!
Then there’s the actual beauty of looking out at the world from 30,000 feet. Seeing everything from above is always special- the clouds, the colors, the sunsets, and stars…it’s hard not to be blown away by it.
And, at the end of it all, you walk off the plane and get to enjoy a brand new culture and country.
Travelling by aeroplane offers an unparalleled experience.
You might like this post about how to entertain a toddler on a plane too! Check it out!
3. The Novelty of Air Transportation
Everything about the experience is novel in nature.
Even if you fly regularly, the vast majority of life is spent looking up at the sky, rather than down at the ground. Flight provides a new perspective that can feel like a break from time itself.
Most travellers are on the hunt for adventure, of which novelty is a key component.
Nothing ordinary feels adventurous! Of course, travelling by plane has become so common these days that it’s sort of been normalized.
Even so, for me, the novelty involved with air transport always contains elements of adventure in it. I can’t help but feel giddy with excitement as we line up on the runway.
4. The People (Primary Pros of Airplanes- On Occasion!)
Solo travellers are unable to choose their seat-neighbours on planes.
Obviously, that’s not always a good thing…
However, sometimes it works out amazingly well. I’ve met some awesome people on planes, all with cool stories and friendly faces.
These chance encounters can have unexpected effects. You might find a travel companion, a night’s accommodation, a free ride from the airport…or just someone to pass the time with.
5. The Price (Primary Importance of Air Transport for Budget Travellers!)
Flights aren’t always cheap.
But they definitely can be. In fact, I’m often blown away by the discount tickets on offer from budget airlines. I remember flying from the south of France back to England for 10 bucks once!
How some of the companies make any money I have no idea.
It’s the price of air travel that compels most of us to use it. For some reason it’s cheaper than more environmentally friendly forms of transport, like trains.
Bound by a backpackers’ budget, how could you not go for the discount flight? Combine that with the ease involved and adhering to ethical values can be a challenge!
Even longer flights with standard airlines seem inexpensive when you consider how far you’re travelling.
In the grand scheme of things, a few hundred dollars spend on crossing the planet seems like a fair deal.
6. The Rush
This won’t apply for everyone…
But there’s a definite rush that comes from flying as well.
I mean, you might die. There’s nothing like the prospect of a hot and fiery demise from height to get the adrenaline pumping.
It’s hard not to feel a rush when the engines roar and the plane hurtles down the runway for take-off. It’s like being on a rollercoaster that’s taking you to foreign lands.
Equally, there’s something primal about the desire to fly. I reckon people have looked up at the sky and wished they could fly like a bird since the dawn of time, Nowadays, we’re lucky enough to actually experience it.
7. The Adventure
I see air transport as a form of gatekeeper to adventure.
For that, I find the prospect of going to airports and travelling by plane endlessly appealing. I don’t mind queueing up for security, being manhandled in the body search, or waiting for hours for a delayed flight.
There’s just something exciting about being there. I know that it’s taking me where I want to go.
8. The Time
A final advantage of air transport is the time involved.
I’ve already noted the relative brevity involved with covering long distances.
Here, I’m talking about the chance to have some time to yourself. Life is so often lived in a frenetic way. How regularly do you get 12 hours (or however long) to just sit, watch movies, drink free booze, and read your book?
For most people it’s rare.
Yet on a plane you’re forced into it! Embrace the opportunity to get a chance to rest up and chill out.
Heads up, you might also like this post about the pros and cons of water transport!
The Disadvantages of Air Transport- Airplane Disadvantages!
Onto the cons of travelling by plane. Here are all the disadvantages of air transport to think about before booking your flights.
1. The Risk of Delays, Cancellations, and Lost Baggage
All sorts of things can go wrong when you book yourself a flight.
For instance, not so long ago, I booked myself a domestic flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh (both in Vietnam), from where I had a second flight booked to Dubai. Those two flights were on separate tickets, which meant I had to get to Ho Chi Minh on time.
As Sod’s Law had it, I turned up at Da Nang airport to find that my plane to Ho Chi Minh was delayed for hours. If I waited for it, I’d be late to HCM.
Great. With no other option, I went to the counter to book a seat on an earlier flight instead. There was solitary one seat on one final flight available that’d get me to HCM in time for my ongoing trip to Dubai.
Have a guess where it was…
As a budget traveller, forking out ten-times more cash than I’d have paid for economy class wasn’t fun. Thankfully it was only a short flight! I paid the money, got on the flight, enjoyed my fancy seat, and arrived in HCM with time to spare.
Only to find that my plane to Dubai was delayed anyway and I could’ve waited for my first flight out of Da Nang after all!
Luck was against me that day. However, this is just one example of the issues you can face with flying.
Flights get delayed and cancelled all the time! Bags get sent to the wrong place, damaged in transit, or lost altogether. And travellers are forced to wave goodbye to their carefully laid plans (not to mention hundreds/thousands of dollars spent on tickets) in the process.
My top tip for avoiding these kinds of airplane issues, accidents, and inconveniences?
Get yourself some high-quality travel insurance.
I never go away without it for these exact reasons. You just never know when something’s going to upset your plans and stretch your bank balance.
Sure, insurance can’t prevent the bad stuff from happening. But it will relieve the practical and financial implications if it does.
As much as anything else, though, travel insurance gives you peace of mind. Even if you never need it, you know it’s there- just in case you get unlucky.
It makes the whole process of handling flight-related frustrations a little less stressful.
I use and highly recommend World Nomads. They’re a popular choice among travellers (myself included) and provide all the cover you could ever need.
Check them out below to get an instant quote.
2. The Ease
So, yes, the ease involved with air transport is a great thing.
But I think it’s a bit of a double-edged sword.
I find that the ease involved can make it harder to appreciate the final destination. It’s like being given a reward for something you didn’t suffer for, or winning a race against no competitors.
Think about reaching the summit of a mountain, or getting top grades in school. It’s hard work, but the result justifies it and feels even more gratifying in the process.
Stepping off a plane into a brand new environment after 10 hours of sitting, eating and watching films lacks that elements of hardship. It’s like you haven’t earned the reward.
3. The Speed
Another issue I have with air transport is the speed with which you arrive at your destination.
Now, the speed you travel at is obviously tied up with the ease of air transport. However, as nice as it is, crossing the globe in a matter of hours can be discombobulating too.
A wise older friend of mine told me a proverb once, which (to paraphrase), says that when your body travels large distances, it always takes your soul a while to catch up.
For me, this sums up the feeling of discombobulation I have after a long journey by aeroplane. It was just too easy! How can I be in this brand new beautiful place having done and suffered nothing?
Sometimes, upon arrival in a new place, I can feel a bit flat and disinterested for the first few days, which is the exact opposite of how I expect to feel.
4. The Environmental Impact
It goes without saying that planes are rubbish for the environment.
They dump enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, which is the exact opposite of what we should be doing to avert global warming.
Greeny or not, try not to take air travel lightly, and try to do carbon offsetting where you can.
5. The Noisy Neighbours
Like I said above, the people you meet on a plane can make the journey far more enjoyable.
Alas, that isn’t always the case.
We’ve all been sat next to enormous neighbours who seem to spread their girth onto our seat too.
We’ve all had thickset people unfairly take up our arm-rest.
We’ve all had the annoying child sat behind us, incessantly kicking our seat.
We’ve all had the baby who won’t stop crying, and the drunk who won’t stop talking.
And so on. Bad seat-neighbours can make for a tough time of things on long flights.
6. The (Lack of) Space
I get fidgety on flights.
It feels like Christmas come early whenever I chance upon empty flights with spare seats to stretch out upon. By contrast, a lack of leg room, middle seats, and/or large seat-neighbours do more than cramp my style.
It’s actively uncomfortable, and makes sleeping a challenge.
I get cranky.
7. The Fear
I used to hate flying.
I was terrified of it!
Thankfully, the fear has eased up the more I’ve done it. Nonetheless, there are times when my heart still lurches into my mouth.
For people afraid of flying, the prospect of hours on a plane can be enough to dissuade them from even taking the journey. Air transport’s never fun when fear’s a factor.
8. The Food
Finally, the food!
Aeroplane food has a reputation for gnarly in-flight meals. However, I actually think it’s got a lot better in recent years. Long haul flights on decent airlines offer tasty meals as standard.
That said, there’s almost always something to put you off. Whether it’s the dodgy sausage at breakfast, or the gristly steak at dinner, plane food isn’t always appetizing.
Remember the Advantages and Disadvantages of Air Transport
There you have it: the advantages and disadvantages of air transport for travellers to keep in mind.
The advantages of air transport make travelling by aeroplane a mighty privilege. However, it isn’t all positive, and the disadvantages of air transport involved shouldn’t be forgotten.
Wondering about travelling by plane to your next destination? Hopefully, this post has helped you figure out if it’s the right form of transport for you.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
Do you have any aeroplane horror stories? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to subscribe to the blog for more posts like this too.