1. Never fall asleep before you get your complimentary beverage. It’s free. And it’s cranberry apple juice. ‘Nuff said.
2. Always ask for 'no ice' in your complimentary beverage. Someone once said that 'less is more', (before today I would say that they were completely ridiculous and a raving lunatic, because less is definitely less, not more… but in this case they are absolutely right.) Less ice means more delectable cranberry apple juice. They store the drinks in a cooler anyways, so you don't even need ice.
3. Always ask for a second complimentary beverage. Especially if your flying buddy declines the opportunity to taste the nectar of the gods (cranberry apple). Cranapple squared equals heaven. Plus it’s free. So I believe the correct equation is: cranapple squared plus free equals heaven times infinity cubed. (Not ice cubed, just numerically cubed.)
4. Always take headphones. I mean, you could use the ones you just found wedged between the two seats in front of you. (I'm sure the prewaxed earbuds would slide quite comfortably into your ear canals. PS- Do you think mixing ear wax is a bad thing? What if it's like mixing blood? I guess they don't call them hearing AIDS for nothing.) But having your own pair is a much needed commodity when there are two screaming infants in the seat directly behind you.
5. Don't take screaming infants. Especially if they're teething. The only thing worse than an extremely frightened baby is an extremely frightened, teething baby on an airplane. Combine that with loud engines, turbulence, and a dark, drafty cabin and you're gonna get a baby that screams at the top of its lungs for 3 straight hours. I didn't think it was possible. I now know it is.
6. Don't sit in front of screaming infants. Especially if you don't have headphones. (Please refer to items 4 and 5.) It also helps to note that the child will continue to scream no matter how many times you look back in concern/annoyance/disgust.
(I'm still audibly laughing at my hearing AIDS comment, I hope you are too.)
7. Be the first to use the lavatory. There are a lot of reasons why… I’ll just say this: a cool seat is much nicer than a warm one.
8. Don’t talk to acquaintances. A college buddy, a former work associate, a new acquaintance… I hate to tell you this but they just might not remember you. Even though you met them yesterday… at a family gathering.
9. Don't talk to strangers. Now this could be a little harder for some of you who are little Chatty Cathys and can't go 5 minutes without saying something. But flying is the perfect time to practice being quiet. Read, pretend you can read, sleep, pretend to sleep, jam out to tunes. Just don't talk to anyone. Hopefully this example will illustrate what I mean. Upon arrival at your assigned gate, you glance around at the other passengers and try to guess which one will be your traveling partner. The nicely dressed, older man (with glasses) a few feet away does the same thing. You make eye contact, and you nod with a closed smile as a sign of acknowledgement. After responding to a few text messages and checking the scores on ESPN MVP, you once again glance up and notice him looking at you. You notice this happens a few more times and shrug it off as a sign that he thinks he recognizes you from somewhere.
You courteously say 'Hello.' as you pass him to board the plane. But once again, you feel a little odd when he ends up sitting in one of the seats across the aisle. Although you make no attempt to mimic his actions, you feel him looking at you throughout the duration of the flight. 'I'm not the one with the screaming baby,' you seem to think.
You've finally made it off the plane, through the baggage claim, and onto the shuttle which will take you to the Economy Parking Lot. The bus is packed and letting this family of three off at their stop will require careful manuvering. You shuffle a few suitcases and rearrange a few bodies. You set your bag down again and look up. Once again, you make eye contact with the man with glasses, and you smile a closed smile while you nod in acknowledgement.... and you get off the shuttle even though your car is at the other end of the lot.
10. Always, always, ALWAYS take headphones. You don’t even need an ipod or an mp3 player… just take the headphones and pretend. Trust me.