How Not to Stress Air Travel: The Flight
In Case You Found "Here" Before "There"
- How to NOT Stress Air Travel
It is always healthy to get out of your home town for a change of scenery. If you want to go somewhere a bit more of reach you'll have to fly there. Don't let the idea discourage you.
Up In The Air
Once you get to your boarding gate will see that the power plugs might be a hot commodity. There are stations set up where you can work on your laptop with AC plugs, but at the time of this article these are few and far between. This is where an honest to goodness power-strip comes in handy. I wouldn’t say it’s enough for everyone’s electronic devices, and your’s too, but you should fully charge them before you leave the house. Still those who are nearby will appreciate it, especially if Apple has released some kind of iOS cancer that drains your iPhone when you’re not using it. I’m looking at you iOS 9…
That is if they’re not socially awkward and don’t realize they could just ask you to borrow a spot on the power-strip. You could mention it out loud like an arabber. That’s “arabber” as in those street merchants that advertise loudly, not “Arabber”. I’m sure TSA doesn’t find the difference funny.
Ok so here it is, the actual scary part! It’s not actually that bad. Airplane Mode is the most God forsaken blunder in tech you will experience. Depending on the flight, and where you are heading, there might not be enough space for your carry-on luggage. If that’s the case the flight attendant will put on a special tag and the handlers will put it directly in the cargo hold. They will give it back to you after you land… luckily you put distinguishing stuff on it God forbid you have to describe the bag when you get to your destination.
If you're flying in a 737, an actual airplane, there will be more than enough room for your carry on luggage. Hell if it's the winter time you have enough space for your coat too!
Peace of Mind At Extra Cost
While you are getting your boarding pass you can pay a little extra to be assigned to "Group A." Boarding passengers are segregated into Group A and First Class, Group B, and Group C. For an extra sum of money you can be one of the first to put your luggage away.
Boarding The Plane
When your boarding group gets called make your way onto the plane. It will be a tight squeeze, but not as bad as say climbing into an APC or pushing past two fat women who are standing in the front of a bus.
For the sake of moving and your fellow travelers hold your carrying items up and in front of you. If you have a roller bag do not bother rolling it behind you. That takes up room and it is awkward trying to pull it through the tight aisle. Remember what seat you have on your boarding pass (you will not have a hand free to keep checking it) and keep an eye out for the designations above each row of seats.
For example 28F would be near the back, somewhere around the wing. If you have your carry-on luggage with you throw it in the overhead compartment. Also try to smash your coat in on the side or the top of the bag to save room for other travelers in the neighboring seats. Don't close the compartment, let the flight attendant handle that.
Keep Your Earbuds Out of Your Ears
During take off and landing there's something that is not put in the safety manual on the planes. Pressure on your head. Your ears will pop as the plane ascends and decends, you may or may not notice it. However if your ears are blocked, as you listen to music or watch an in-flight movie, you will definetly feel something is not right. It WILL be uncomfortable. For your own sake please keep your ears clear through the take off and landing sections of the trip. You'll thank me later.
When the flight actually starts (it could be a while since they have to refuel, prep, and taxi into take-off position) for about 30 seconds you'll get some idea of what it's like to be on Top Gear before take-off. The UK version of Top Gear, you know with the cars that ARE NOT modified and downgraded for US roads.
If you are not use to driving fast you may by unsettled by this part of the entire experience, but it's important to remember that everything is ok. It is normal for the plane to travel at such an extreme speed. Have you ever seen your grand father get up from a recliner on Thanksgiving? That "swoosh" sound is just the plane grunting. It's normal.
Making Use of Your Bordom Killers
At some point, after takeoff, you will get to take off your seatbelt and pass the time with whatever devices you brought with you. Just make sure to put them in Airplane Mode. The reason for this being so your signals from your cell phone don't make the plane fall out of the sky... or at least that was a valid reason 10-15 years ago. Now it's just a goofy precaution. These days the electronics on airplanes are much more robust to "signal interference" and many flights offer wifi and movie streaming services for a fee. It's a nice feature if you have the money to waste on it. $5 for 30 minutes though? What's that an episode and a half of Cheers? No thanks. Besides if it's in Airplane Mode you can't use it anyway. Luckily some airlines have a different service where you can pay for one movie. Though if you're not flying across country don't waste your money on a two hour movie. The last thing you want is to land before you see the ending, that crap can drive you crazy.
Some seats over power adapters to recharge your electronics, but you're much better off doing this at the terminal before you leave. That is if you used them excessively waiting to get called on the plane.
How Do YOU Pass Time On A Flight?
Keeping Your Stomach, and Liver, Occupied
Depending on how stressed you are, either with not being able to watch cat videos or the fact you are a mile in the sky, there is a small array of beverages for you travelling alcoholics. Every airline has their own magazine that they cram into the pocket of the seat in front of you. In the back is a menu for various snacks, booze, and meals you can order from the flight attendant. Depending on what class of the plane you are sitting in you will either get a complimentary drink for paying an extra hundred for being a rich bastard, or have to pay for your drink.
Of course for the traveler not weak to the drink you also get complimentary soda, juice and water. If you want to buy a snack some airlines will accept cash but most seem to require a credit card. If you are ok with paying $4 for a small tube of Pringles then go for it, but long gone are the days of complimentry peanuts. It's really up to you. You can buy food for much cheaper prices before you get on the plane, around the terminals, and after you get past the TSA check point. That is proably your best bet, don't be a sucker and pay for food on the plane.
Landing and Getting Off The Plane
Depending the airline you chose in part 1 this could be an uncomfortable experience. If you are flying in a 737 or larger you won't notice, but if you're flying in a cheap ass American Airlines sardine can you will not like touch down. There's nothing to worry about however, after a few flights you won't even notice it.
Getting off the plane is going to be tricky since everyone is always in a god damn hurry to go nowhere. So as you wait for the aisle to get clear of people feel free to continue work on whatever you were doing during the flight. Just wait for a good time to leave the plane, this way you can take your time getting your stuff together. Or you can do that anyway since the aisle will be in gridlock regardless of how long it takes for you to get your stuff together.
The important thing here is to have a healthy dose of apathy. Happy travels!