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As families continue to scatter across the US and further, more women and men in the Baby Boomer Generation and older are flying all over, often alone. Not only that, for many of them it’s the first time they’ve flown alone. It may even be the first time they’ve ever flown at all.
I had a few trips under my belt before I started having to travel so much, thanks to my parents. My dad and mom gave me a great gift when I was 30. I had never flown before. Southwest and America West had both just started and were offering fantastic deals. For about $7 per ticket, my dad took my mom, my three kids, and myself from Southern California to the Phoenix Zoo. We flew there and back the same day. Back then, smoking was allowed and I was in misery in the back smoking row, but it was still thrilling. They even had seats that faced backwards, which made me rather queasy. I’m so glad they all face forwards now!
I was able to fly with my whole family a couple of times after that. The first time I had to fly alone (well, not alone, but as the only adult with three kids under 9!), it was a tough day, made harder by several prolonged delays due to mechanical difficulties. I was nervous and on edge, but I did great, because of the past experience. Being in my 30s helped a lot too.
A dear friend of mine needed to go on her very first plane trip ever. As a member of the Baby Boomer Generation, and two years away from being an official Senior Citizen, she was very nervous about the whole process. I could certainly understand. If my first trip had been in my 50s instead of my 30s, with my eyesight not as great and my arthritis slowing me down just a bit, it would have been a much more difficult trip.
She was able to combine plans with another friend who had traveled alone several times. They traveled together, which made it much easier for her first time. Her next couple of trips were by herself but her husband could drop her off, her son could pick her up and she had no layovers. She was scared at first but thrilled at her accomplishment when the trip was completed. Then the big day came when, due to a family crisis, she had to make reservations quickly, fly by herself with two plane changes, and return home in time for a vital appointment. She did GREAT! Can you imagine how that trip might have gone if she hadn’t had the earlier ones? Just like anything in life, practice makes perfect, or at least closer to perfect than when you started. 🙂
If you, or a special senior in your life, have never taken a plane trip anywhere, or if you have flown but never by yourself, I would encourage you to watch the sales, and take a plane trip or two somewhere close, just for fun. It would make a nice little getaway, which always helps ease caregiver stress , and it would give you a chance to practice doing something you’ve never done before.
You may wind up with just some great memories and never need to use the experience you’ve gathered. Then again, senior health care or grandkids’ needs may spring an emergency on you out of the blue. As you sit in that plane, praying hard for the beloved you are headed to visit, you will be so grateful for the experience that is helping to make this trip just a little bit easier.