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Flying marathon brings new celebrity through Atlanta
By Sarah Boyle

On June 1 comedian Mark Malkoff boarded an AirTran Airways flight bound from LaGuardia in New York to Atlanta. Malkoff arrived safely and watched the other passengers disembark, but he stayed on the aircraft. Soon, Malkoff's plane was headed for San Francisco. Again he stayed on the plane.

In this way Malkoff visited airports in Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix and many other cities — all without leaving the tarmac. He intended to stay on the same aircraft for 30 days straight in order to cure his fear of flying.

The rules of his self-imposed sentence were as follows:
  • Malkoff had to stay on the same plane for 30 days.
  • He could leave the plane for periods of time, but he could not leave the tarmac.
  • His wife could fly with him on the weekends.

Malkoff answered some questions about his adventure during a stop at Hartsfield-Jackson before a flight to Denver. He spent the most time at Hartsfield-Jackson during the trip, because his AirTran flights were based out of Atlanta.

When asked what was the best part about living on an airplane for 30 days, Malkoff said: "Sometimes I can be like a little kid. I can do whatever I want on the plane." And indeed he could. Malkoff's videos on YouTube show him dancing, doing push-ups and even playing Twister on the jet.

The worst part was washing his hair in the plane's bathroom; Malkoff had no access to a traditional shower for the whole month. Sleeping also was difficult for the aviophobe to manage in the beginning.

Has it worked? Is Malkoff over his fear of flying?

"I'm still scared, but it's about a three out of 10 on the anxiety scale," he said.

Malkoff said he received a lot of advice and encouragement about overcoming his fears from many sources, including pilots and Twitter users. He recommended talking to pilots, who "can explain the science of turbulence."

Malkoff also had a lot of fun during the trip. One particularly amusing story involved the Flint, Mich., fire department's offer to hose him down on the tarmac. The firefighters asked Malkoff if he preferred hot or cold water for his shower but soon informed him that they were "just kidding. There's only cold."

If Malkoff could have gotten off the plane and left the airport in one of the cities he flew through, he said he would have disembarked at LaGuardia so that he could go home to visit his cat. He also said he'd love to get off the plane in Atlanta, because he has relatives in Georgia.

However, he was "committed" to staying on board the entire 30 days. His adventure concluded at the end of June.

Mark Malkoff

Mark Malkoff raked up some miles in the air during his 30-day quest to eliminate his fear of flying.

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