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My Car Is Faster Than An Airplane

November 16, 2016

Today, I’ll be driving from Pleasant Grove, UT to Coeur d’Alene, ID to attend my uncle’s funeral. His funeral isn’t until Friday, but it takes a while to drive there, about ten hours. It’s a little over 700 miles. It’s far enough that it would be quicker to fly. But, that’s not always. the case. 

In a previous job, I had to go to Las Vegas a couple times per year for conferences. I was working in Salt Lake City at the time. And after the first couple of trips where I flew, I realized that my car was faster than an airplane. 

It’s 420 miles from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas. Most airplanes travel at about 500 mph. Obviously, it’s a short flight. Even in Utah, the land of 80 mph posted speed limits, most cars are nowhere near that fast. The Bonneville Salt Flats are located in Utah and they are the site of the land speed record where a car went 763 MPH. That’s faster than the speed of sound. I don’t have one of those cars. And they don’t turn well anyway. 

So, how can I possibly claim that my car can go faster than a plane? 

Because flying somewhere is an entire package, not just the time in the air. Here’s how a plane trip from my house in PLeasant Grove, UT to Vegas works. 

  • 8:00am Leave my house and head to airport
  • 9:00am arrive at Salt Lake City Airport off-site parking
  • 9:30 Arrive at Salt Lake City Airport
  • 11:00am flight leaves
  • 11:45am flight arrives in Vegas
  • 12:30am finally get luggage, wait for and finally catch a shuttle to hotel

Here’s how a driving trip from my house in Pleasant Grove, UT to Vegas works.

  • 8:00am Leave my house and head for Vegas
  • 1:00pm Arrive in Las Vegas

Okay, maybe the plane beat me by a half hour. Because I live an hour south of the Salt Lake airport, and Las Vegas is South of me, I pick up two hours of travel time on the round trip. And once I arrive in Vegas, I have the added benefit of having a car. Sure, you’d think I could get a rental car, but remember, I was going to Vegas for a convention. Depending on the time of year, it’s often easier, if you are flying, to take an airport shuttle. And having your own car has distinct advantages at a trade show.

If you’ve ever been to a computer trade show, or convention, you’ve probably enjoyed walking the vendor floor. It’s like a carnival midway without having to pay. There are people with all sorts of games and giveaways that are trying to get you to listen to their product pitch. I’ve won everything from t-shirts to video iPods at trade shows. The really nice prizes are things like big screen TVs, XBox system and Harley Davidson motorcycles. But, they wait to give those big prizes away until the end of the show. . .on the last day. . .the day you are trying to catch your flight.

If you fly, you are constantly watching the clock to see how soon you need to bug out to get to the airport on time.

If you drive, you have it much easier. You check out of the hotel in the morning, put all your stuff in your car and then have it valet parked. When, the last of the big prizes have been given away (and you didn’t win, but hey, at least you were “present”) you simply hand the valet your ticket, climb in your car and head north. No lines, no security checks, no “How do I get all these free t-shirts into my luggage” worries. 

If you’re close enough, a car is definitely faster than a plane. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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