A confession at 30,000 feet

There is something about planes. Just something. They’re safe, really for the most part, any fear is a product of our own imaginations.

But on a plane we are all trapped into the metallic illusion of tragic transport. On a plane, the best-case scenario is a swift end. There are no lifeboats, no airbags. There is no chance.

That must be why people are so honest on airplanes. The time when a person is most honest is just before they die. Now, in these planes, we face a real, albeit real small, chance at death. With ease, like breaking through misty clouds, the honesty comes out.

Private topics in public places with complete strangers fill the fuselage and ears plugged with altitude listen.

All of this honesty, alcohol not needed, is unique to air travel. Bus rides and cruise ships don’t see this same honesty. Any conversation that takes place is the artificial space filler that is only necessary due to the environment.

Perceptions on these flights are not what they seem to be. The longhaired, leather-skinned or business suits with exhausted neckties aren’t the same in the office chair as they are in an aisle seat.

Stocks and bonds, medication, married life and kids are all more important than the weather outside or the wait until peanuts are distributed. Both of them could be anyone, successful trial attorney next to poor college student discussing the role of Facebook in the world.

And they are sitting next to each other, and finding some connection. They share in one another’s honesty.

And they hope the flight ends soon, but as planned. Landing. n