Sorry to be so harsh,it is the most frustrating thing so far to me.
Its also tough to sell people these things after trying to let them know what to expect in advance only to see them understand only after trying for themselves.
Other than the sage wisdom we acquire(sigh...)getting old can suck!
And I am not real old! Just my eyes I guess?
I should also mention that I've known people who had different computer glasses prescriptions from their reading glasses. They said it was very helpful, so it might be worth checking out.
Also, age is relative. My students think I'm ancient..... my eyes haven't quite caught up.
2. We also have an MBA 13. I gave that to my daughter for school. It was too big for the kind of fast and light travel I like to do. If you need 13", there is no finer or lighter laptop out there, but 11.6" was enough for me. The resolution on the 13" is higher though, so check your requirements. 11.6" is fine for 720p movies though. The 13" initially appealed to me because I thought I could have my cake and eat it too. But 11.6" is really the sweet zone, more than an iPad, and SO light and compact. Full sized keyboard, and the backlighting under the keyboard turns out to be a lot more helpful than I expected.
3. I mainly browse. I am google-centric so I browse in Chrome, do all the usual banking stuff in Chrome, watch streaming videos (Netflix, YouTube etc.) there. Amazon MP3 Player; Google (music) Player, iTunes radio. Not enough storage space to haul around my iTunes collection - at least I don't want to eat up that much of my 128 gb. Dox are done in Google Drive (formerly Documents) so I can access them on my phone, Android or iOS tablet, etc.
4. I don't use MS Office apps, and don't run BootCamp/Windows. I just write dox for myself, not for sharing, so perfect Word compatibility isn't an issue. I have Pages but hardly ever use it. I bought it to have better formatting than Google Dox, but it turned out not to be an issue.
5. Watching movies on the MBA isn't as satisfying as watching on either my Nexus 7 (2013) OR on my iPad2 - the color gamut isn't there, the viewing angles are poor. The Air has a much better screen than most laptops, but it still isn't IPS and it still isn't "good tablet" levels of quality. Plus it's hard to hold a MBA up and watch in bed lying down. Where the MBA excels is in keyboard driven tasks, and in compatibility - it will run Flash, and a lot of sites still need Flash. It's also good for video calls. Great, actually, since you don't need a prop to hold the screen up - but the iPads now have very good front cameras too. Usually I carry a Nexus 7 (2013) for content consumption, and the iPad2 or the MBA. To be honest, I seldom carry the MBA - if I had to do work on the road, that would be different.
6. I use a Mac Mini, several years old but still very serviceable, as my main computer. I could use the MBA, but my Mac Mini drives a 23" IPS display on which I watch all my movies at home - sitting closer to a desktop display beats sitting further away from a 40" HDTV. But in a pinch, if I had to run a home office - I could do that from the 11 or the 13, but would prefer the 13, unless I was willing to set up a 3rd party "docking solution" for the Air (which is easy to do, since you can run an Apple BlueTooth keyboard and touchpad with the Air, and only need a monitor cable to run the desktop monitor).
One of the best things I like about the MBA and other Mac laptops is the robust, built-in encryption capability. The encrypt/decrypt function is hardware based, and doesn't slow down the MBA at all. It is much easier to implement than the Windows security features, which seem to be "enterprise only" (discourage the home user) at this point.
I have the Tom Bihn Cache and a Rickshaw slip-in sleeve for the MBA. The Rickshaw is much thinner, but advertises the presence of a pricey laptop if I have to pull it out through security. The Tom Bihn is bulky, and down-plays the presence of the MBA.
This is a personal perspective, from your questions I think you would benefit from reading a lot of MBA reviews online, from visiting an Apple store and playing with the hardware. MBA's are REALLY expensive and if I had it to do over again - I would rather have an iPad Air and a cheap Chromebook (together, less than the MBA by itself). For the type of "productivity" work I do, a Chromebook is plenty and has great security (and the HP 11 Chromebook is better than a MBA for non-iTunes content consumption, since it has an IPS screen with a 63% color gamut - not great, but equal to the iPad 2 and both versions of the iPad Mini - Retina and original). For content enjoyment - reading books or watching movies - any Retina iPad is MUCH better, and of course the iPad Air is actually light enough to hold for extended periods (something my iPad 3 wasn't good for, which is why my kid now has it). If you buy from Best Buy or Apple, there are liberal return privileges - the most liberal being from the Apple Stores.