To some, a successful flight means you arrived alive. To others though, it’s the little things, like getting an extra bag of mini-pretzels that matter. While you can probably forget about that extra bag of pretzels, these other tips may help.
Pack it in
Do: Pack light is the theme of today’s travelers. Not only will carrying-on your bags save money, you can avoid standing around the luggage carousel like an expectant father, wondering if that damn kid is ever going to show. If you must check bags, check the biggest honking one allowed just to get your money’s worth. I once got a round of applause at the check-in counter when my bag weighted in at 49.8 pounds. I know my stuff.
Don’t: Don’t be the guy picking up your underwear from the said carousel; we’ve all seen luggage that had more string and duct tape than fabric, spewing its contents for everyone to see. You know, thrift stores and garage sales have great deals on used luggage. You don’t have to buy Luis Vuitton or Gucci bags to keep your underwear under wraps.
Grin and Bear it at Security
Do: Consider joining the TSA Pre-Check program. The TSA is about to allow all us normal people (non-Frequent-Flier Members) to join their Pre-Check program for the nominal fee of $85. Now, to me if $85 was “Nominal” I would already be a frequent flier but that is beside the point. For that mere $85, along with a background check, fingerprints and maybe a rectal exam -I’m not sure on that one- they will expedite our security check-in. Now remember, this is a government program so their definition of “Expedite,” may differ from yours.
Don’t: Don’t joke around; these people have no sense of humor. Of course, neither would you if you spent your days frisking old, fat, white guys and grumpy grandmas. If you can’t afford to join the TSA Pre-Check program you might try the “Don’t be an Ass Pass.” In this program, if you just grin and bear it and be agreeable, you’ll usually pass right through.
Do: Drink on your own concourse. If you must drink, and some of us must, do it on the concourse you are assigned. Drinking in the terminal is dangerous as security wait-times can and do change instantly. What appears to be a non-existent line can grow exponentially as compared to the number of drinks consumed.
Don’t: Be late. When they say they will throw your bags off the plane if you are late, they mean “Throw.” I once arrived late after consuming one too many, uh, “Iced Teas” at the terminal bar and found my underwear laying all over the concrete ramp below the plane. I know, I know, I got some new thrift store luggage upon my return.
Do: Since airline meals have gone the way of smiling stewardesses, you may want to pack a lunch. Once you are on the concourse there are many tasty, affordable choices available. Okay, enough with the jokes. Once again, just grin and bear it, fork over half your travelling budget and grab a Big Mac.
Don’t: Load up on extra onions. Nothing stinks up an airplane cabin quicker than a Whopper with extra onions. Although it does help your marketing if you wisely stocked up on extra Whoppers to sell to your now starving fellow passengers.
Relax and Enjoy the Ride
Do: Consider sleeping pills; nothing speeds up a flight better than being knocked out, unconscious and incoherent for 6 hours.
Don’t: While the sleeping pill works great on a flight to Paris, France, if you’re on, say a flight to Paris, Texas, you may want to reconsider. Don’t do the sleeping pill bit on a 2 hour flight. It gets quite embarrassing when the paramedics have to escort you off the plane.
Dress for Success
Do: You don’t have to wear that three piece Armani suit we all know you have, but leave the Grateful Dead tank top and flip flops at home. Sure if you’re headed to the beach the flip flops make sense, but studies have shown the well-dressed traveler gets better treatment. Okay, they were my own studies but trust me, those flip flops are harder to run in when you ignore the sage advice given earlier in this column about drinking in the terminal bar.
Don’t: Do not wear your pajamas on a flight. We’ve all seen it, and you must admit, it looks comfy but come on. If you must fly wearing what you sleep in than I should be able to as well. Only problem is, I sleep in the nude. If I can’t be comfortable, neither should you.
Once Again, Grin and Bear It
Do: Be nice to your stewardess, steward, flight attendant or in-flight crewmember. They are very picky about what you call them. Heck, they seem picky if you call them at all. They have that little button up above you to page them but aren’t too happy when you do. Just take your pack of 3 mini-pretzels, your plastic glass with 2 sips of liquid and 1 ice-cube and be quiet.
Don’t: Don’t push that button, ask for a pillow or heaven forbid, have to go to the bathroom while the seat belt light is lit. If there is an emergency, you certainly don’t want to have to depend on the person who glared at you for wanting three more pretzels.
Hang on There Sparky
Do: Be patient; it takes a long time for everyone to get off the plane. It does no good to stand up, seconds after the tires touch ground. You’re not going anywhere so sit down and wait like the rest of us.
Don’t: Don’t fire up your cellphone immediately on touchdown. They already warned you over the intercom that firing up your electronic device could cause a worldwide calamity. Besides, you’re not going anywhere till the grandma in front of you gets her bags out of the overhead bin. While you’re waiting, why don’t you give her a hand?
Michael is a full-time musician and freelance writer residing in Morrison, Colorado. He enjoys downhill skiing, traveling and attempting to play golf. He excels in the sport of extreme napping so if you must call, make it afternoon.