I’m a card-carrying frequent flyer, refer to airports by their three digit codes and know the exact ritual to go through before I can clear a TSA checkpoint and be allowed to put my shoes back on. The shine has worn off though, and the flying portion of travel is now a chore. But still enjoyable is the feeling I get when I am up in the air and looking down at the ground so rapidly passing beneath me.
Once upon a time my belief was that flying commercial was the only alternative should I decide against passage by train, bus, car or boat. Putting up with the pains of flying commercial? A necessary evil. Enter Mauiva AirCruise and a whole new world of plane travel.
The morning I depart for my All American East tour with Mauiva, it’s pre-dawn in New York City but I’m on a private charter bus and the still-sleeping Upper West Side soon gives way to Harlem and then the Bronx and before I know it we’re in Westchester. Already, this is so unlike my usual combination of trains and taxis and struggling with luggage through bustling city streets. At the private airport in Westchester, I don’t have to wait before I’m able to help myself to free coffee. Instead of hours, it is minutes before I’m driven through the gates, coffee still in hand, and onto a Tarmac right next to my waiting plane. I board and we’ve taken off before I even have a chance to soak in the fact that no one ever demanded I take off my shoes. Once up in the air, I’m served breakfast that’s fresh and recognizable, given a choice of any newspaper I could possibly want to read. The flight attendant calls me by name. I hardly have time to think about how long this journey might take before we’re down on the ground again, ushered into another private bus, again waiting for us on the tarmac while we watch our bags being transferred for us.
By day two of my Mauiva AirCruise experience, I’m struggling to remember why flying had become such a chore. I think to myself, “Isn’t flying amazing?” and to my fellow passengers I quip, “I could get used to this.” Still, we walk a lot during the day in cities like Toronto, Lancaster, and Washington DC where I get the feeling we’re leaving no stone unturned. By the time I reach my hotel room each evening to find my bags are waiting for me, it’s rare that I have the energy to swim a few laps in the hotel pool or enjoy a cocktail in the bar. Though this trip includes upscale accommodations, I don’t have the energy to take advantage of them to the degree in which I’d like. The private charter buses and planes are certainly a highlight but the pace seems like a sprint, not a well-paced marathon. If that’s my only critique, I might forget it the next time Mickey — our personal flight attendant — hands me The New York Times and a coke before I even have to ask. Still, it’s in the back of my mind how tired I am as I look down to see another state passing rapidly beneath me.
[Editor's note: Check back for more updates from Kirsten Alana on the Mauiva AirCruise later in the week. Mauiva provided passage on this trip but provided no editorial oversight]