Appreciating Air Travel (For One Day, At Least)

Between getting dragged off a plane, punched in the face and paying five times what you normally would for a small can of Pringles, passengers have good reasons to be grumpy. But with National Aviation Day taking place on Aug. 19, why not take a day off from ranting on Twitter to appreciate some of the positive aspects of air travel? There is plenty to marvel at, from its technology and safety to its fascinating history and entertaining in-flight videos.

Appreciating Air Travel (For One Day, At Least)

In the entrance of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., a Pitts Special S-1C named Little Stinker hangs upside down overhead.

Darren S. Higgins for The New York Times

There are fascinating aviation-themed attractions waiting to be explored around the world — places where corporate globe-trotters, backpackers in Birkenstocks and the all-around curious can rediscover the original, wide-eyed wonder of flight.

All of the annoying parts of air travel that adults normally dread can be the highlight of a child’s trip: the airport parking lot shuttle, the self-service kiosk, the baggage drop off, the security lines, the various X-ray machines and metal detecting rituals.

Take our quiz to see if your expectations about air travel safety are realistic, and learn some tips along the way (hint: it’s pretty darn safe).

Revisit the optimism of the Jet Age through posters from airlines like Pan Am, TWA, and United that evoke a time now seen as the golden age of flying.

About 1,000 flights a day take off or land at Kennedy International Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports. For every plane that lands, dozens of workers hustle to return it to the sky. Here is a look at how Delta Air Lines did it with one flight.

In the never-ending battle to get passengers to pay attention to flight safety rules, airlines have increasingly attempted to bring humor, creativity and style to their in-flight videos. The latest comes from British Airways, featuring some of the country’s best-known personalities, including Ian McKellen, Rowan Atkinson (above) and Gordon Ramsay. Here are five others that made a mark.

While back-of-the-plane cuisine doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being appetizing, several carriers are taking the opposite approach by elevating their main cabin food on long-haul flights and, in some instances, the alcohol, too. Much of this push is coming from international carriers, but Delta is a United States airline that is part of the trend.