All travel can be dangerous

Published 9:45 am Friday, August 7, 2015

The discovery last week of part of a wing section was finally confirmed by aviation experts as that belonging to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014.

The flaperon is the only piece of debris investigators have found so far. The piece of debris was found on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar.

Whatever happened to the flight has been debated at length ever since the airliner disappeared from radar contact with 239 people aboard.

Disasters such as that will certainly get you to thinking about getting on a plane. But if you want to enjoy going to Europe and other exotic locales, flying seems to be the ticket to adventure.

I can’t say I’ve experienced cruises. That seems to be a little too slow for my taste. I like getting somewhere fast and have plenty of time to enjoy what I’m there to do, and that’s exploring the countryside and taking in all the historic sights a country has to offer.

My only experience with water travel is a ferry between Greece and Italy. I believe that 18-hour trip between the two countries did it for me. I managed to get stuck in the middle of a dock strike on one trip. That meant spending another night on the ferry and losing valuable time on land seeing the sights.

When I get to my ultimate destination, I take trains. Trains are my favorite mode of transportation. Flying gets me to where want to start my vacation, and I use trains to carry me everywhere else on my itinerary. On trains, you can travel between countries without any hardships or hassles. You can go into the club car and meet people from all over the world who are more than happy to talk with you.

My train rides have all been pleasant and pretty much uneventful as far as disasters are concerned. I certainly can’t say that about my plane trips.

Oh sure, I’ve had my share of anxious moments aboard planes. The plane trip that still sticks out in my mind was when Gail and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale for a boxing match a few years ago.

When we first got together, Gail swore I would never get her on a plane. That trip to Ft. Lauderdale didn’t do anything to help her confidence. Coming back to New Orleans, we hit an air pocket that suddenly rocked the plane downward. That shook up some passengers, including me. I had never experienced anything like that before. Gail took one look at me and knew that had scared me. Gail still talks about that incident and vows never to get back on a plane for sure. I haven’t tried to talk her into flying since then.

I flew Spain’s national carrier, Iberia Airways, when I went to summer study in Spain. I always thought Iberia was a dependable carrier until the company experienced two crashes within weeks of each other. Knowing Iberia is the carrier that is supposed to get you home is a little unnerving. But the carrier did a good job getting me home safely that time. On a Delta flight into New Orleans from Jamaica, I thought we had landed in New Orleans three different times because it was such a bumpy ride. I attribute some of that anxiety to fatigue.  Unfortunately, disasters occur on land, sea and air. There are thousands of automobile accidents every day that claim lives. Those accidents you rarely hear about. But air disasters involve hundreds of passengers. That grabs the media spotlight.

Let’s hope more debris from Malaysian Airlines flight 370 is discovered soon and learn what eventually caused the flight to go down. That will hopefully give the passengers’ survivors some closure.

Randy Hammons is a Bogalusa Daily News staff writer. He can be contacted by calling 985-732-2565 or by email at