By Robin Weaver
The world is full of exotic destinations—New York, London, Tokyo, Mayberry, eh, Maryland. While I’ve been fortunate enough to go to all these places, this blog is not about the trip, but planning the trip. Unless you have a magic carpet, getting to that vacation Mecca is not always so glamorous. In the future, perhaps we’ll be able to zap from place to place, but until then, we’re stuck traveling the not-so friendly skies on commercial airplanes.
Flying can be a pain in your goddess-behind. Increased security, flight delays, and the ever-shrinking size of the coach seat makes arriving in style difficult. However, as someone who put the freak in frequent flier, I’ve learned to navigate the airways in goddess-fashion, (i.e. with as little hassle as possible). Here are my tips to get from Point-A to Point-B without breaking a nail or overextending your twenty-four hour antiperspirant.
- Book early and get your seat assignment. Failure to do this will ensure that you’ll be stuck in the middle seat. No aisle or window, in turn, guarantees that you’ll have the Garlic King on your right and the Arm-Rest Hog on your left. If this happens to you, forget about buzzing the flight attendant. If he/she is not on strike, one is pending. Suffer in silence and never book late again.
- Pack lightly. Even if you can sneak that fifty-pound leopard-print bag past the attendant, unless you have biceps like Arrrnold (Swartznagger), you won’t be able to get your wheeled trunk in the overhead bin. Sure, you can ask some muscle-bound jock to help, but then you’ll be obliged to talk to him or her.
- Never check your luggage. Even if the baggage fee is not the same as your mortgage payment, there’s only one type of luggage—carry-on. The airlines may tout (or is it taunt) a low percentage of mishandled checked-baggage, but if you’re like me, your suitcase will end up in Miami while you shiver in Chicago without your coat.
- You absolutely, positively, must have a headset. Do not enter the airport without one. Even the most talkative character won’t approach if your ears are covered (your hairstyle may suffer, but it’s worth it).
- Do not glare at the obnoxious person talking loudly on a cell phone. Trust me, one such person is mandatory at every gate. This creature is oblivious to even the most practiced ‘dirty look’ and glaring will only accelerate your wrinkling process. Use your headset to protect your eardrums.
- Make sure you have ONLY two pieces of carry-on. It doesn’t matter that your Gucci clutch, your Prada tote, and your teensy suitcase take up less room than the leopard-print trunk the woman in front of you is dragging. Nor does it matter that all your stuff weighs less than the set of snow tires (with chains) and the tuba the guy behind you is toting. Two pieces are two pieces. Stuff your clutch into your tote and forget about it. There is one other option if you need three pieces. Buy a huge order from McDonald’s, dump the contents of the bag, and stuff your extra items into the fast-food sack. That cute little Gucci clutch will smell like day-old beef by-products, but you won’t incur the wrath of the snippy gate attendant.
- If you’re afraid to fly, don’t beg for a priest when the plane takes off—especially if you aren’t Catholic. If the man next to you is gorgeous, you can always grip his hand.
- If you need the airsickness bag, make sure it’s unused. ’Nuff said.
- Be courteous. If you’re dumb enough to forget your headset, you cannot tell the woman in the next seat her child will fit in the overhead bin.
- Don’t drink any beverage within an hour of departure. Everyone knows you should hydrate, but if you put the liquid in, it must come out. I’m sure I don’t have to explain the difficulty of manipulating a body-shaper in a two-foot-by-two-foot bathroom without touching anything else.
- Never, ever start a conversation with the person next to you. Once-in-a-blue-moon, you’ll meet someone interesting, but odds are you’ll get a crochet enthusiast or a competitive yodeler. Hint: If the aforementioned individual is a hunk, you can skip this rule.
- Do not take a second look at the guy wearing a blue and white seersucker suit with the orange bow tie. I know you will be tempted to take a second peek, but don’t! Eye contact will encourage conversation—even if you’re wearing headphones.
- Finally, enjoy yourself. After all, you’re going somewhere.