She is a prodigious and skeptical reader, posing the queen of Sheba in contrast to Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With a Thousand Faces,” for example, or noting the marginalized characters in the colonialist-tinged detective novels of Agatha Christie and wondering about their stories. She analyzes guidebooks, from Baedeker to Lonely Planet. “Every time I pick up a guidebook, Lucy Honeychurch and Miss Lavish fight for my soul,” she writes, referring to characters in the E.M. Forster novel “A Room With a View,” who, respectively, depend on convention and serendipity as they journey. (How nice, by the way, to reclaim “journey” from New Age babble.)

Even watching “The Great British Bake Off,” “perhaps the feel-goodest program in the history of television,” is occasion for Habib to consider how slavery, after forced travel under the most atrocious conditions, enabled the sugar trade.

As for other travel writers, she seems through with Paul Theroux and is scathing on an article by Evan Osnos in The New Yorker, about an all-inclusive Chinese package tour of Europe, on which he was the only white man.

But “Airplane Mode” is far from a castigating, joyless book — just one that urges readers to be alert to the world’s injustices and impending catastrophes as they take their pleasure jaunts. Habib reminds us that Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate, was detained in 1999 on his way to speak at Davos and notes how the passport has increasingly become “a transactional commodity rather than a national identity.” (Indeed, for every pandemic staycationer, it seemed there was another applying for a second passport.) There are surprising detours about bougainvillea, leeches, carousels.

She is conscious of how climate change will transform travel — Venice, anyone? — and how travel has changed the climate, something that most Million Milers just don’t want to think about. (My husband’s decision to drastically reduce his flying on ecological principles has riled family members, provoked gasps at cocktail parties and has cost us at least one treasured friendship. Me, I’m happy just to stay home binge-watching the great Smithsonian Channel series “Air Disasters,” a weird immersion therapy for aviophobes.)

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