Amish generally do not fly by airplane, with a few exceptions

amish airplane“Only if we flap our arms very hard” is not the answer to this question.

For the most part, Amish abstain from flying, though certain groups of Amish do permit it.  Also, most Amish do allow air travel in extraordinary situations.

Why Amish don’t travel by air

Amish objections to air travel are mainly based in the idea that air travel is not considered essential. Amish do make allowances for other forms of travel out of a recognition of a need to journey further than a horse-and-buggy allows.  This may include visiting family in other settlements, sometimes out-of-state, or on business purposes.

Air travel may help a person arrive at a destination faster, but a car, bus, or other vehicle will get one there just the same.  Air travel is also expensive, symbolic of a fast-paced lifestyle, and connected with luxury and worldliness in the minds of many Amish.

Air travel typically requires photo identification, another hurdle, as most Amish object to posed photography.  While most Amish allow travel by other means, for instance as passengers in cars, trains, buses, and boats, air travel is a form of transportation generally prohibited by Amish.

New Order Amish do fly

New Order Amish churches, comprising around 3% of all Amish, represent one exception to the stricture against air travel.

One New Order Amishman, before having children, flew regularly in his previous employment.  Another New Order Amishman had no issue taking a business/vacation trip with his wife  to Washington D.C.  New Order Amish, among the most permissive of Amish affiliations when it comes to technology, tend to take a softer line on air travel, and flying is generally allowed in most congregations.


amish helicopter

Amish may fly in medical emergencies

Regardless of affiliation, most Amish permit flying in emergencies. This comes into play most often when accidents require rapid transport, often by helicopter, to distant hospitals. An Indiana Amishman described how his young son was transported to a hospital in Michigan after a serious buggy accident.

Amish consider the well-being of church members in their approach to technology. Nodding to practicality, most Amish see value in flying in emergency situations, though they nearly universally refuse to sanction it for business or personal purposes.

For further information, see:
Amish America blog: Amish in the sky

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