I had my first airplane ride when I was 18 years old. My pastor (at the time) was also a very experienced pilot--he had his private pilot's liscense before he ever got his drivers' liscense.
I will always remember that flight. We are started at the Cleveland airstrip, and flew over the Smoky Mountains...it didn't last long, but it was fun.
My next flight would come some four and a half years later. It was Thanksgiving Day, and I flew from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Boston, Massachussetts on the now defunct Piedmont Airlines. The entire trip (with two nights in a hotel room in Boston) was only $99.00 I will never forget that trip.
I had a 6 a.m. flight (my friend Tim Stone) took me to the Chattanooga Airport. It was stormy, and very stormy. The flight was "bumpy" to say the least...and I had no idea what to expect. I was just praying that we would get wherever we were going---which at the time was the Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. (The old airport, not the new one). As soon as I got off the plane, I walked in the terminal, and looked like I had just been through a really bad winter....
I'm not sure who the wonderful gate agent was...but she saw how frazzled I must have been, and I was almost in tears....and I had a 3-hour layover in this airport....but she found me a flight that was leaving in 30 minutes...and I would be on my way to Logan International Airport in lovely Boston, Massachussetts. That flight--smoother than a newborn baby's butt. It was lovely...very, very lovely.
Since that weekend (25 years ago this Thanksgiving), I have literally flown around the world, and all over the world....The longest single flight being from San Francisco, California to Seoul, Korea--nonstop in January 1990. There have been some very short flights...from Sacramento to San Francisco....that same day....I think it took about 25 minutes. No coke, no peanuts....straight up, and straight down....
I am thankful for air travel. I can't imagine life without it. I'm glad I don't have to stretch my mind like that anymore.