Plane Hat Trick

In two weeks I managed to go up in an Airbus A330, a Cessna, and a Learjet. Times are good.

posted at - 8:54 pm - 11/15/2004

The Airplane Dance

OK, enough seriousness. Today, we’ll talk about annoyances! Specifically, annoying tourists! Unlike me. I’m you see, a traveller. Oh yes, there’s a difference! A tourist is a gawping know-nothing who clogs the streets and monuments and who’s only reason for being there is to say they were. Before they go shopping!

A traveller, however, is a gawping know-nothing who clogs the streets and monuments who’s only reason for being there is to say they were. But they’ve deluded themselves into believing that they are somehow far superior to tourists. Got it? Good!

Luckily, I’ve been blessed with lots of traveling. I save up for it. I watch a 13-inch TV because of it. I drive a small hatchack because of it.

With a decent number of flights, I feel that I’ve actually gained some travel wisdom. And you don’t even have to go through all those flights to benefit! So, travel tips from Steve:

Don’t line up to board the plane – It never ceases to amaze me that people start lining up to get on the plane ten minutes before official boarding starts. Your seat isn’t about to walk off. Your seat is reserved. Why are you standing in line? Is there some desperate need to get on the silver cigar that you will be living in for the next eight hours? Sit the heck down. But please, don’t all take my advice at once or no one will get on the damn plane.

Use the john at low-traffic times – For some really strange reason people simply cannot go to the washroom at any time other than immediately after the movie or immediately after the food service. I understand that “13 Going on 30″ contains many neck-wrenching plot twists but would you prefer to be standing in line to empty your bladder after the movie is over? And where, may I ask, is the switch that says “Belly full, empty bladder” because I’d like to switch if off for many people.

Learn what “occupied” means – A red “occupied” sign on the door means there’s someone inside! It does not mean push on the door several times. It does not mean knock on the door.

Learn how the john door works – “Push here to open” means push hard enough to open the door, not hard enough to turn a light on.

Learn how the john lights work – A green light means one washroom is free. A red light means no washrooms are free. Don’t walk the length of the plane, peer at occupied/unoccupied sign and then push the door.

Realize that the plane has more than one john – A lineup of 5 people for two washrooms means that you may want to see if any of the other 10 washrooms on board are available.

The following tips are related. They all hinge on the one simple airline truth: No matter how fast you are, everyone will have to wait for their luggage in the same place at the same time.

Sit your ass down when the plane comes to a full stop – As soon as the plane lands, everyone jumps out of their seat and gets in line to get off the plane. Relax. The plane isn’t going anywhere nor are the customs agents. The luggage will not arrive any faster either.

Don’t run to the customs agents – I understand that being first in line can be important in most situations. It means the best food at the buffet, the best tickets to a game, and the fastest way out of the grocery store. In an airport, however, it is irrelevant. By running to the customs gate, you will have succeeded in spending less time in line there while gaining all that extra time to stand around waiting for your baggage, you genius you!

DO move as far away as possible from the customs agents closest to the entrance. The line will become shorter the further you walk. Fancy that! Irrevelevant, of course, but you can feel smug about it.

DO move to an open spot at the baggage claim. Do not stand where it’s ten deep. The baggage moves in a circle (generally). It will come to you if you are patient.

Following these simple tips has greatly reduced my stress in airports. Unless it’s the Rome airport which is just plain aggravating.

posted at - 5:28 pm - 11/8/2004

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