RadioBDC Logo
Shut Up and Dance | Walk the Moon Listen Live
< Back to front page Text size +

The 5 most annoying myths about flying

Posted by Patrick Smith March 27, 2013 09:30 AM

Before we get going, thanks to everybody who took the time to read my little paean to Logan Airport a couple of weeks back. If you missed it, it's here.

Logan may not be the greatest airport in the world, but it's underrated, and certainly it's a far cry from the worst. For that dubious honor, see here.

Moving on…

Commercial air travel has long been a breeding ground for myths, conspiracy theories, urban legends, and plain old misunderstandings. Most of what people think they know about flying is wrong.

In my columns, blogs and books, I've spent the better part of a decade trying to set the record straight, but for the most part, it's been a losing cause. Certain notions just never seem to die, to the point where many are now accepted as conventional wisdom. They've been spun and re-spun by a lazy, irresponsible media that sensationalizes even the most innocuous mishap and refuses to check its facts, often trundling out supposed experts who all too often have little idea what they’re talking about.

Here are some of flying's most stubborn myths, fallacies, and quasi-truths:


Planes, Pranks and Praise:
An ode to Logan Airport

Posted by Patrick Smith March 10, 2013 05:02 PM
Story and photos by Patrick Smith


Is it just me, or is Logan Airport one of the most underrated airports in the country?

There aren't a whole lot of good things to say about US airports in general. They're noisy, dirty, confusingly laid out, often in poor repair, and sorely lacking in public transport options. We've got nothing on the airports in Europe or Asia, many of which are architecturally stunning and jam-packed with amenities. If you've ever been to Singapore, Incheon, Munich, or Amsterdam, among many others, you know what I'm talking about.

But if we had to pick one of our own...

Washington's Reagan-National has an excellent subway connection, and the terminal, with its sun-splashed central hall and vaulted ceilings, is one of America's greatest airport buildings. The international terminal in San Francisco is similarly impressive. Orlando is clean, green, and well laid-out. Portland, Oregon, is many people's favorite.

Nobody, though, ever mentions Logan. And I don't think that's fair. It's squeaky clean, well organized, and unlike the vast majority of US airports, it has an efficient public transport link to the city. It's even got some flair: what's not to like about the inter-terminal walkways, with their skyline views, terrazzo floors, and inlay mosaics?

A tour:


TSA's decision on small knives was a tough but sensible one

Posted by Patrick Smith March 6, 2013 11:19 AM


Last week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it would rescind its longstanding ban on the carriage of small knives. Effective in mid-April, passengers can once again carry implements with blades of up to 2.36 inches onto airplanes.

The decision has raised the ire of some, including flight attendant unions, who have called the decision reckless and dangerous.

However, if you ask me, this is one of the more positive things TSA has done in a long time, and will make the checkpoint process at least marginally less tedious. That some are opposed to the changes is not surprising, but the backlash strikes me as counterproductive.


About the author

Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist, author, and host of In his spare time, he has visited more than 80 countries and always asks for a window seat. He lives in Somerville. More »

More community voices

Child in Mind

Corner Kicks

Dirty Old Boston

Mortal Matters

On Deck

TEDx Beacon Street


Browse this blog

by category