Why We Cry on Planes (The Atlantic, Oct. 1, 2013)


Alone in a closed metal tube, 40,000 feet above land and miles from anyone you know. Surrounded by people who share your fate, but who do not acknowledge you. They, like you, sit facing forward in rows, focusing on their own discrete box of space. The cabin is dim and it hums; you look down at your folded hands in your lap, lit by a pool of light from above. There’s nothing to do: no email to check, no messages to send out, and minimal distraction. If you felt a gaping hollow open up inside, if you thought you were not going to make it, you would have no way to reach out to your loved ones.

Is it such a stretch to imagine a commercial plane as one of the loneliest places in the modern world? Why is seat 27F on the 6:35 from JFK to LAX the perfect place and time for a good cry?

Read the rest at The Atlantic:



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