I thought that I did not like air travel. But a few weeks ago Gwen and I took a few days for a holiday trip over Lake Eyre, Australia's inland sea which is usually just salt, but which has been filled now for two years running.
I was fortunate to see an advertisement that a tiny air-travel business (four planes and a helicopter) were running a three-day two-night tour from Tooradin airfield, 20-minutes’ drive from home.
We drove in to the airfield, up to the office, carried our bag in where we were met by the pilot who took the bag, weighed it and took it out to the plane, an 8-passenger Piper Chieftain, sitting ready the other side of a fence you could have stepped over. We were introduced by his wife to the other passengers, then led back to our cars to drive to the "secure" area for them on the other side of the hanger. We ambled back across the tarmac, had a coffee and the pilot said it was time to get going.
Before we boarded the pilot ran through the usual safety preamble with the lifejacket (which still has to be done even though most of our trip was over desert, admittedly somewhat wet desert, then it was an invitation to sit where we liked and the lolly jar was handed around.
One of the "towns" we landed at, William Creek, has a permanent population of 2 and is on the Oodnadatta track, a "road" definitely more deserving of the description "track". The pilot apologised that he could no longer taxi to the back door of the pub, so we'd have to walk the last 50 yards. A sign at the sealed airstrip's parking area says to pay the $25 landing fee ($30 for ours as it had two engines) at the hotel bar.
As might be expected when you are visitng small towns in what really is the Outback, mobile phone and wireless broadband coverage was somewhat patchy (at Lyndhurst we were told you could get a connection on Telstra or Optus on a small hill a kilometre along the road) but even the most deserted pubs offer landline or satellite connections and the Lyndhurst Hotel even had an inhouse computer repair service advertised on the noticeboard).
Incidentally we can thoroughly recommend the hamburgers at William Creek which need a couple of kebab sticks to hold them together. Only about four or five aircraft landed for lunch that day but our pilot told us it is not uncommon to have 20.
So it is not air travel which is the problem, it's large airports.