flying "do's and don'ts"

May 14, 2003



i went down to florida this past weekend for my cousin’s wedding, which was very nice, thanks for asking… along the way i picked up a few flying “do’s and don’ts” guaranteed to save you from instant and crushing ridicule.

1. bring headphones do you really want to hear the mind-numbing comments from the next row? “wow, look at the clouds. so puffy.” “how long till we get there?” “where’s my damn tomato juice?!?!?!” didn’t think so. headphones will help you muffle anything and everything. granted the music selection isn’t always that great, but it’s better than the alternative. and while most airlines give you headphones, you don’t want to compromise your style with those big things, right? cute little earbuds always look nice, and go with just about any outfit. 2. use the headphones seems obvious, right? you’d be surprised. on my flight down to miami, some punk 10-year old a few rows away was watching a movie on a portable dvd player. (in my day, we didn’t HAVE portable dvd players, we had to watch what crappy movie they gave us! oh wait, this is my day, and i do have a portable dvd player…) anyway, while i’m obediently following rule #1 i hear something that sounds like swords clanking… realizing it isn’t coming from maid in manhattan that’s playing in-flight, i look around and see that the kid w/ the dvd player isn’t wearing headphones. he’s just using the damn speakers and watching some dragon flick!!! i guess no one around him minded too much since he never got smacked. damn. but trust that if you’re not 10, you will get a beat down.

3. get an ipod shameless plug, i know. but having all your tunes ready and waiting makes a world of difference. don’t suffer through 80’s pop or smooth jazz, unless they’re coming from your own ipod playin’ random-style. but the best part is they help you accomplish #1 up there with room to spare.

4. don’t even look at the person next to you normally, i’d encourage y’all to be talkative and friendly – but on a flight of more than 8 minutes you really have to weigh the options. what if this person is a complete and total freak? as soon as you even catch his/her eye you could be screwed for the entire flight! “what do you do? where are you from? what brings you to miami? wanna come back to my place so i can kill you and stash the body somewhere where nobody will ever find it?” see, things can get ugly real fast.

now, if you follow #3, you’ll most likely get roped into some sort of conversation as soon as you break it out. (the damn ipod is just so smooth, everyone wants to be your best friend.) you could just say “i’m not interested in talking right now – i’m really tired and need some rest.” but there’s no point in being mean. so instead just ignore them, and get to work wasting time while studying the air sickness bag instructions. alternatively, the patented “i can’t hear you, i’m deaf in my right ear” technique could be a lifesaver in this situation.

5. get to the airport early plan to arrive at the airport at least 15 minutes before your flight. most airlines have some sort of “doors closing” policy where if you’re not there 5 or 10 minutes before, you won’t get on the plane. so save yourself the hassle of having to buy another ticket and make sure you’re early. security can be a headache, too, so don’t wear shoes (metal can be in the soles), don’t wear a belt (metal buckle, hello?!?!?!), and don’t be a hot chick. in my extensive travel experience, i’ve noticed that 99% of all hot chicks get the “extra” search, even if they don’t set off the metal detector. the TSA must be doing some quality training, because most of these girls looked ok to my untrained eye. guess the professional “judge of terrorist potential” saw something i didn’t.

6. prepare to tip you’d be surprised at how far a couple grand can get you at the airport! in a hurry to get through security? just slip the TSA guy a couple hunnie and you’re golden, right to the front of the line! want an better seat, say in first class? when checking in just plunk $1500 down and “buy” yourself an upgrade! easy as pie!

7. become an alcoholic nothing makes a flight more tolerable than being drunk. keep the vodka coming and you’ll be landing in no time! if you need more than a few to get trashed, consider doing a couple shots in the airport bar before getting on the plane. if you’re lucky, it’ll knock you out before you even back out of the gate. this critical “do” even has the ability to render all the other tips unnecessary! what more could you ask for?!?! the only catch to this one is finding the balance between sobriety and alcohol poisoning. you don’t want to be coherent, but you don’t want to get kicked off the plane, either.

that’s all for now. got any travel tips you’d like to share?