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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: airplane

Day 65: Five Types of Airplane Travelers

I’m no expert (I don’t even use the “expert traveler” lane at security), but my recent experiences with international travel confirmed the following traveler types.

The Social Drinker
You become fast friends with all the flight attendants before the plane even takes off. If you haven’t finagled your way into first class, you’re either upgraded to business class or you have an exit row seat. During the flight, your charm, wit and amiable attitude affords you a couple of free Bloody Marys and a slew of new Facebook friends who would be happy to put you up the next time you are visiting (insert exotic land here). When the plane lands, you barely notice how much time has passed because you’ve been having such a great time with your new besties.

The Sleeper
Something about travel lulls you. You’re nearly REM cycling at the waiting gate, so it’s a miracle you even make it to your seat. You always request the window, because it’s hard for you to wake up and let your seatmates in once you’ve already gotten comfortable. You don’t read any of the magazines you brought, since you only wake up twice—once when you intuitively sense the beverage cart is passing and again when the wheels hit the ground at your destination. You have a constant crick in your neck, but you’re too sleepy to buy a neck pillow before takeoff.

The Suit-Wearer
You reminisce for the good old days (most likely before you were born), when people dressed up to travel. No matter how long the flight, you wear pressed pants or a skirt, a jacket and uncomfortable shoes. You gingerly lay your jacket on top of everyone’s overhead luggage only after takeoff to ensure no one else disturbs it. Sometimes, you opt for the luxury of reclining your seat, but for the most part, you sit straight up and type quietly on your laptop or watch the in-flight movies. You do not sleep on planes.

The At-Home-Anywhere
You have no qualms about wearing pajamas to the airport. And if you didn’t think the TSA agents would find you strangely suspicious, you would wear your bunny slippers, too. You come fully equipped with a giant pillow, blanket, headphones and pre-packed meal, plus 18 different magazines, the latest New York Times bestseller and an iPad. If there is an open seat next to you on the plane, you spread out into it and nap (Why not?). You tried to paint your nails once, but the fumes bothered your seatmates.

The Package Deal
Whether there are two of you or twelve of you, you arrive together, check in together, sit together, go to the bathroom together (unless one of you is watching everyone’s stuff), eat together and board together, differing boarding zones aside. You do whatever it takes to make sure you’re seated next to each other, even if it means giving away your window seats and the m&ms you bought in the gift shop. You socialize with others only when necessary, armed with the knowledge that everything you need is right next to you (probably attached to your arm).

Package Deal

Day 61: Airport Haiku

I arrived at LAX yesterday with a little over 24 straight hours of awake-time under my belt. With only three hours of sleep the night before, I was pretty much toast. In an effort to stay awake long enough to catch my final flight, I sat down with a soy chai and did some haiku-writing. Believe it or not, below are the most coherent fruits of my labor. (I realize these aren’t real haiku by Japanese standards; I just stuck with a 5-7-5 system.)

Advice from The Tow Truck Driver
Endangered species
should never be hit with cars.
Hit people instead.

Cassowary warning

The Couple
How can you sleep like
that, he asked. It’s easy when
you’re quiet, she said.

Necessary Evil
Underwater brain;
stay awake or miss the flight.
Where is the Starbucks?

Gate 52A
Ladies with grey hair
discuss the nearest restroom.
This way. No, that way.

Electricity
Sleek white computer
lies silent on the blue floor.
Charger is lost.

Sleepless
Floating, spinning room.
At sea in the terminal.
Falling slowly down.

Sure Way to Get The Flu
Chapped lips. May I use
your chapstick? Yes, says pilot.
Germs make you stronger.

Hair Treatment
Sweet miso dressing
flies off the plastic lid. It’s
in my hair again.

Airport Golf Cart
Blue-shirted man says,
Can I give you a ride? No,
I say and regret.

The Long Time
Haiku writing can
only keep a girl awake
for a little while.

Bad Timing
Warm and spicy chai.
Caffeine kicked in on the plane,
which wasn’t the plan.

Questions
How much wood could a
woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck
could chuck wood? Don’t know.

Day 51: Stuff To Know About Flying

After 20 hours of flying time (and an unexpected 14 hours of airport time), this first post from down under is actually about the up and over. I promise that prettier pictures will follow.

I learned a lot of good airport/flying stuff, so I chronicled what I think you should know based on each leg of the trip.

A note: I’m operating on a really old computer with really spotty internet, so apologies if the formatting is a bit messy this week. 

Minneapolis International Airport

  • Try not to get salad dressing in your hair before you’ve even left the country. Even when you rinse it out, your locks will still smell like dressing 30+ hours later.

Flight 1: MSP to LAX

  • If you’re seated next to someone with a cold, periodically holding your breath is not a good germ-avoidance maneuver. It mostly results in lots of gasping for air, usually right after your seatmate sneezes.
  • If you think you discovered a secret military/UFO observation base while flying over the mountains, you probably didn’t (or did you?).
  • When offered peanuts, pretzels or cookies, go for the pretzels. They’re adorable and delicious.

tiny pretzel

Los Angeles International Airport

  • Get to your international flight ridiculously early. You never know when your airline will be “transitioning to a new boarding system” and you may have to stand in multiple lines for multiple hours.
  • If you do end up standing in a line longer than the one you ever stood in for Space Mountain, make some quick friends. It will be fun to chat with them and you’ll appreciate their willingness to watch your stuff while you run to Starbucks and get lost on your way back to the gate.

Flight 2: LAX to SYD

  • Sleep when everyone else is sleeping and take full advantage of all the blankets, pillows and free eye-masks available.
  • Adjusting your feet-to-butt-to-head angles will enable you to plan for the direction your head will loll when you’re out cold. For example, squeezing your feet to the left of your backpack and moving your butt slightly forward and to the right on your seat will direct your head back and to the left. Then, you won’t risk lolling forward and drooling all over your lap.

Sydney Airport

  • The free wifi will work for a magical five minutes and then you might be out of luck. Don’t send any emails requiring immediate attention (i.e. “I’m not on that flight! Pick me up at 5!”)
  • If you’re going to wash your face in the airport bathroom, you might have to dry your face using a super powerful hand dryer. Be prepared to experience 400 mph (approximation) air rushing into your nose and mouth. And if you accidentally get any water on your neck, just plan on having a wet neck.

Flight 3: SYD to CNS

  • This is a good time to look yourself over and see if there’s anything you can do to hide the fact that you’ve been wearing the same clothing for 36 hours. Scrape off the chocolate stuck to your shirt, double-check your hair for that salad dressing smell, etc.

island

And then you’ve made it!