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can amish fly on planes

Can the Amish Fly on Planes?

While the Amish aren’t people who go jet-setting all over the world, some of them have to travel out of state from time to time. They don’t drive, so a typical American road trip is out of the question. Air travel seems to be the next logical choice. 

But can the Amish fly on planes? We’ve created this guide to help you discover what’s fact and fiction regarding Amish air travel.

What this article covers:

Do the Amish Fly on Planes?

The traditional horse-and-buggy is the Amish community’s preferred mode of transport. It’s not fast or flashy, but it gets them to where they need to go. Do the Amish fly on planes when their traditional transport methods don’t suffice?  

The answer is - only very rarely! We’ll get to the reason for this in a moment.

can amish people fly

But although it’s rare, air travel is sometimes allowed if no other option is available or the urgency is great. Would an Amish person be allowed to own a private plane? That would never be allowed! Such ostentatious behavior isn’t tolerated in an Amish community.  

But if necessary, Amish people may be permitted to fly in a plane. Of course, in such a scenario, they certainly won’t be flying first class. It’ll be economy class all the way.

Can the Amish Ride in Helicopters?

Helicopters aren’t viewed in quite the same light as travel by plane. For one thing, they’re a lot less luxe, and for another, helicopter flights are usually done for more practical reasons than vacation flights. That’s why, as with planes, helicopter flights are permitted in emergencies.

An example would be an accident or medical emergency that requires airlifting to a hospital or evacuation in the face of a disaster.

do amish fly on planes

How Do the Amish Fly on Planes Without ID?

Amish people don’t allow themselves to be photographed. They see photographs as a violation of the Biblical commandment, "Thou shalt not make unto thyself a graven image." This further complicates air travel, as most forms of identification like social security cards and passports contain photos. 

Fortunately, states like Ohio and Pennsylvania issue photo-less passports and identification for the Amish. Therefore Amish people traveling across the state or to Canada or Mexico may be able to fly despite their prohibition on personal photos.

Why Don't the Amish Typically Travel by Plane?

Let’s revisit our earlier question about why the Amish don’t typically travel by plane. Their main reason for this is that they see air travel as a worldly pursuit.

can amish fly

Air flights are generally associated with vacations and are thus synonymous with luxurious living in the eyes of the Amish. As evidenced by their conservative attire, modestly furnished homes, and humble nature, they are not inclined to such displays of extravagance.

It’s a common misunderstanding that Amish don’t travel by plane because air travel is a symbol of technology. Let’s examine the Amish attitude toward technology for a clearer picture.

Amish Beliefs on Technology

Why do the Amish have an aversion to technology and leisure activities in the first place? The issue lies in the motivations behind these symbols of modern living. Possession of luxury items, labor-saving devices, and high-value items can lead to boastfulness and pride. 

how do amish fly without an id

That’s the overwhelming reason why Amish don’t drive cars. The Amish consider privately-owned vehicles luxury items, not necessities. They can lead to vanity and pride. They may receive a lift in a car to get to work or a doctor’s appointment if necessary, but they don’t own cars. So, do the Amish ride trains or buses? 

Yes, they may ride trains or buses as these modes of transport aren’t personal possessions like cars nor as luxurious as plane travel. 

Some Amish ride bicycles too, but bicycle ownership usually isn’t allowed in some of the stricter Old Order Amish communities for pretty much the same reason that car ownership is forbidden.  

How Do the Amish Travel Long Distances?

Do Amish travel long distances for reasons other than emergencies? Not really, except perhaps to attend weddings or funerals in another state, or visit ailing relatives who live far away.

can amish fly on airplanes

Amish people go on hunting trips into the countryside. They also go on picnics, or to live music concerts, wicker picnic basket in hand. However, they don’t generally take out-of-state vacations just for fun, or go on school trips far afield. Amish newlyweds don’t even go on a honeymoon trip after their nuptials. 

However, they may sometimes need to travel a great distance for medical reasons or to visit family in other parts of the country. And when they do, flying will always be the very last resort. Long-distance train trips are preferred, or they’ll travel on coach buses.

It’s quite common to see Amish families traveling by train or coach bus, carrying a pie carrier basket of snacks for the trip.

do amish people fly

Conclusion

Can the Amish fly on planes? They can when they have to, such as in an emergency, but air travel is generally discouraged. 

This doesn’t equate to a ban on long-distance travel, merely the avoidance of worldliness and luxury living. After all, the Amish are devoted to living modestly, following their beliefs. 

Their dedication to their faith has taken them further than any plane ever could.

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