Things I Have Learned From Air Travel This Year

Illustration for article titled Things I Have Learned From Air Travel This Year

Due to a combination of circumstances, I have taken over twenty plane flights this year. I do not recommend this and will try not to replicate it in the future. I have, however, learned a few things about life during my Year of Flying Constantly. And now I'm sharing them with you.

  • Barfighting is not what it used to be. According to one very verbose Englishman who sat next to me for one very long flight, you used to put your boot on a guy's neck, he would give up, and then you'd shake hands and have a beer. Now, guys kick guys when they're down.
  • You can order two beer-and-whiskey combos on a flight that departs at eleven AM, and the flight attendant will still bring you a third one without batting an eye (see above Englishman).
  • A surprising percentage of people sing and/or hum to themselves constantly.
  • Don't bother putting your toiletries in a separate little bag. Ninety-five percent of the time, security either will not find them when they scan your luggage, or will not give a shit. I think it's mostly the latter.
  • You can recycle a bottle half-full of water. If you don't, and instead choose to throw it away because of course you cannot take it through security, a TSA agent might yell at you for not being environmentally friendly.
  • Imagining a person trapped inside a plastic water bottle is an extremely environmentally friendly way to pass the time.
  • Flying on airplanes is not.
  • Most feelings of rage will eventually turn into guilt if you wait long enough.
  • You always want a sweater.
  • JetBlue is the best airline, except when your personal TV is broken, and then you reach up to turn on your reading light and that is broken, so you are left alone with your thoughts. Your awful, awful thoughts.
  • Science has developed lots of new caps for the common plastic water bottle, all of which are stupid.
  • Many airports around the country sell Auntie Anne's pretzels, which are delicious.
  • No matter what city you are in, it is possible to develop the conviction that your mom can see you. This makes it harder to fully enjoy an Auntie Anne's pretzel.
  • The bus is actually pretty nice.

Image via Istomina Olena/



If you ever thought of taking a train? Not sure how possible it is in the US, but I used to love going everywhere in the UK by train.....relaxing, beautiful countryside passing by your window...lots of space to move around, the motion of the train does seem to encourage reflection and creative thoughts. You stare at the clouds and eventually you fall asleep....

The problem with planes - apart from the horrendous pre-boarding shenanigans - is that you feel like you're trapped in a sardine can. So you need to distract yourself from that experience all the time you're on board.