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

Tag: airport

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 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.


And then you’ve made it!

Day 44: We All Do It

Here are six things you probably do and think no one else does (but they do):

1. Not-so-quietly call everyone ahead of you in the airport security line an “amateur” and then proceed to be the worst prepared traveler ever.

You usually remember to put your liquids in a plastic baggie, but it’s buried somewhere underneath the five-pound bag of trail mix you need to sustain yourself on the two-hour flight. And last time you were in line, you double-knotted your shoe laces and made everyone behind you wait while you tried to untie your shoes with one hand and unzip your laptop case with the other.

2. Sing in the shower because you think other people do it and not because you actually like singing in the shower.

Nobody likes singing in the shower (except maybe the professionals).

3. Pretend you’re asleep.

Maybe you haven’t done it since you were five years old and wanted your dad to carry you from the car to the house (driveways can be very long). Or, maybe you did it yesterday when you heard your partner and/or housemate come home and you knew s/he wanted you to organize the junk drawer. Pretending to be asleep is oftentimes the perfect avoidance maneuver. The only problem is that we all do it, so we all know you’re pretending.

4. Realize you’re wrong during an argument and keep arguing anyway because you don’t know what else to do.

You know the moment—when you’ve been passionately making a point and you realize you either meant to make the opposite point or you actually don’t know what you’re talking about. At that moment, there’s really no turning back, so you keep going until both parties are confused by your vehemence.

5. Say you watch less TV than you actually watch.

We’ve all seen the research about how TV rewires and/or rots the brain. But one half-hour, once per week? Please. Downton Abbey counts.

6. Envision doing something inappropriate at a really inopportune time.

Whether it’s reciting the last scene of Die Hard during your niece’s baptism or unsuccessfully attempting the tablecloth trick on that couple sitting next to you at dinner, you maintain a high (but stifled) potential for inappropriate outbursts at any given time.

Day 42: The Day

Today’s the day! I have officially entered the middle third of my life (all things considered). Is it narcissistic of me to admit that seeing “January 5” on things makes me feel special? It’s a rhetorical question—no need to answer.

So far, I have slept luxuriously late, sent my sister on an errand to Anthropologie, felt like a birthday queen via Facebook (thank you, everyone) and written a magazine article about the cutest baby ducklings ever. I’m already enjoying being 30.

At risk of rambling on about my birthday for too much longer, I’d like to share a couple of addendums to yesterday’s post about how everyone should dance.

1. This delightful video of Angela Trimbur, who filmed herself dancing solo in the airport. She’s wearing earphones, so presumably she’s the only one who hears the music. My favorite part is watching everyone at baggage claim try to ignore her. Why ignore? She’s fabulous!

Thank you very much to my lovely dancing friend, Katy, who sent me the video all the way from Mumbai.

2. This inspiring story about John Lowe, a 91-year-old man who took up ballet after attending his granddaughter’s recital at age 79. As a former prisoner of war and current principal dancer, this guy knows what’s up.

Thank you to the beautiful Lily, who danced with me in Italy and shared this story from Texas.

On with the dance!

Dancing in the Park

What I can only assume this year will be like—a joyful, blindfolded dance in the park.