I fly quite a bit. Probably just slightly more than the average person, and a lot less than someone who travels for work. I usually just miss the 25 flight mark that Southwest has as their first tier of benefits. I didn’t used to fly so much, but moving to Colorado changed all that.
In my 10 round trips per year, I’ve recognized some things that are true of every flight I take:
1. The exit row is the best thing for some and the worst for others. My husband is 6’6″. The exit row is his dream. Flight attendants who want to flirt with him see him in line and save him a seat in the exit row, giving him a small touch on his arm, a wink and a smile and say, “I knew you would appreciate this.” (I’m not making this up. I’ve seen this exact exchange happen three times in our four years of marriage. Guess I’m not the only woman who can’t resist that bald head.) But I sleep on planes by leaning on the tray table in front of me. In an exit row, my midget frame can barely reach it. And when I do, I’m concerned about a lot of things: falling off mid-snore into my neighbors lap, my underwear sticking out for the world to see while I snooze soundly for an hour, and the inevitable back ache I will get from reaching so far.
2. While we’re talking about sleeping … If you risk falling asleep sitting up, your head will inevitably fall to the right or left, settling nicely on the shoulder of the creepy man sitting next to you. If you get really lucky, you’ll drool a little bit.
3. Calories don’t count in an airport. I always find myself logically explaining to myself why it’s OK to get McDonald’s or a soft pretzel or ice cream or crab fries in an airport. I act as if a four-hour flight is actually a four-hour workout, like the motion of flying burns an inexplicable amount of calories. I don’t know why I do this, but I’m pretty consistent so maybe I’m right?
4. It’s almost never worth it to use the bathroom on a plane. I try to avoid it as much as possible. I know it’s important to stay hydrated while flying, but seriously, I try to be dry as a desert flying. I worry about hydrating once back on the ground. Who wants to risk stepping in, sitting on, or worst case scenario, getting splashed with … other people’s urine?! Not me. No thank you. And that whole business of trying to get out of the middle seat you got because you forgot to check in until you were at the airport?? It’s fine if you have a seat-mate that doesn’t sleep, or kindly steps into the aisle so you can get out. But I can’t stand the people who just sit there and suck their stomach in, motioning for you to get out. You think your stomach is the problem here? How about the fact that I now have to straddle you to get out? This is what you want? Ok then …
5. The only snack that is worth it are those ginger/graham cookies that Delta serves. I haven’t flown Delta in years. And those 100-calorie snacks that Southwest serves just don’t stack up. But again, see number 3.
6. The best strangers and seat partners are the ones that don’t talk to me. I don’t care how bad the seat is, I will pick the person with the headphones in 100% of the time. The bigger the headphones, the less chance they want to speak at all. Whatever I do, I refuse to sit next to anyone in a suit. They travel a lot. They are sick of in-flight entertainment and will absolutely rely on me for conversation. Their opener: “Are you here for business or pleasure?” I know many people have life-transforming conversations on planes, but I just don’t think I’m one of them. I’m either reading a deliciously trashy magazine or watching BravoTV on the free wifi. Plane time = me time. Sorry suits!
7. Layers. Always wear layers. It’s sweaty and hot in the security line, freezing while you’re in the air, and then hot again as soon as you land. I have a strange love of cardigans. I was once wearing one as a shirt. It was completely appropriate. Minus the fact that the TSA agent kept asking me to remove my sweater. I finally whispered angrily at her, “I only have a bra on under here!” She giggled. I didn’t.
If you have the same (and by same I mean kind-of gross) sense of humor as me, you should absolutely follow @passengershaming on Instagram. These flight attendants have to deal with the most ridiculous things, the most common being people TAKING OFF THEIR SHOES AND SOCKS on flights. I had no idea this was a normal occurrence and I’m horrified by it. Horrified enough that I just have to keep following …