It's hard not to be impressed with the magic of flying.
How an A380 – like the one I flew on to Paris this week - can heave its bulk off the ground almost defies belief, and the smooth passage of our long-haul flights across the continents all but ignores the torrid air that we're flying on: turbulence, weather and other planes all need to be avoided to ensure a bump-free flight.
We have computers and pilots to thank for that, not to mention unseen air traffic controllers in charge of our destiny from thousands of kilometers away.
And all of this is largely ignored by us, the passengers, as we stare out of the window at an ever-changing yet strangely uniform landscape of clouds and fresh blue air. Or we get engrossed in a movie and all but forget we're hurtling along close to the speed of sound in a tube weighing thousands of tons.
And I think sometimes we need to be reminded of how remarkable modern-day aviation is. How far we've come from the heady days of Orville and Wright. How, in some ways, the mass appeal of air travel has changed the practice for the worse: gone are the days of fine service for all flyers, and of travelers dressing up for their travels.
But that’s a small gripe, given that nowadays air travel is as commonplace – and far safer – than hopping in our cars for a trip across town. Across town or across the world, we’ve become a bit jaded about flying.
And so to instill – hopefully – a little magic back into the air before thousands more of us head home for the holidays, or off on summer travel, here are a few of my favourite flying-related videos from the year.
Some are funny, some inspire wonder and some remind us just how many planes are out there in our crowded skies. Enjoy...
I particularly love this time-lapse of landings at Heathrow International Airport in London - it shows just how close the flights are together on approach, but also the fragility of our flying. Don't those planes look like model planes flying down an invisible piece of fishing line in a child's game?
And more crowded skies: this time a fun composite video of all the landings at San Diego International Airport on the day after Thanksgiving.
Airports can be dull places of delay and boredom, so a bit of fun is always welcome. Like this 'pop-up' orchestra arranged by British AIrways to surprise travellers.
And finally... this video is by no means new, but with over 12-million views on YouTube it remains one of my favourite feel-good vids. I dare you not to smile at this quirky piece of ambush marketing.