How (Not) To Be A Frequent Flyer

Photo by Gary Lopater

It’s no lie, I travel frequently. In fact I probably fly more often than most people wash their sheets. Then again, I’ve never really been much of a domestic goddess so must confess I have absolutely zero idea how often how frequently one is really supposed to wash their sheets. Housework aside, I’ve seen my fair share of quirky passengers on planes. From the classic “I’m so sorry my children haven’t slept in four hours and will continue to kick your chair for the entire flight “ parent to the more unusual “here I am sitting on the plane just casually reading my gun and explosive magazine” passenger. On one particularly memorable flight the flight attendants encouraged all of the passengers to participate in some in-flight trivia, based on questions they had made up and blurted over the loudspeaker. Given all of this experience, I’ve compiled a brief instruction (based entirely on experience from my sad pathetic life) on how NOT to be a frequent flyer.

DO announce loudly to the entire aircraft upon boarding that you were once in a commercial for the airline upon which you’re travelling. They really want to know about how you can see like half of your leg for at least 5 seconds in the final shot. Feel free to sing them a few lines of I Still Call Australia Home in fluent indigenous tongue just in case they didn’t get the picture. Then, immediately demand to be upgraded due to your celebrity status.


On the off chance that you are in fact upgraded to *gasp* business class (which for the record in the flying world is basically up there with winning a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory), DO act like a completely obnoxious snob, loudly exclaiming when you misjudge the temperature of the hot towels and pretending to look over the wine list before ordering the caviar. You need to make it clear that you belong here.


DO spend the entire flight staring longingly out the window like it’s the opening scene of some 90’s teen flick about kids in high school that gets all meta about life and has some great indie soundtrack preferably featuring David Bowie. Make sure you sob quietly about your recent failed relationship. Not too much to attract unwanted attention from the middle-aged businessman sitting next to you, but just enough that the flight attendant passing by notices and slips you an extra chocolate after dinner.


DO pack as many bags as possible and proceed to bring them all on to the plane with you, bumping and knocking them against anyone and anything that gets in your way. Continue to hold up the entire line of people waiting to find their seats as you try to find a place to put your stylish winter hat so that it doesn’t get flattened during the flight. Make sure you also ask as many of the flight attendants as possible if they could help you with your bags as you couldn’t possibly lift them all that way. Slave labour is to be encouraged in these situations.


DO take full advantage of the free booze and food in the lounge at the airport. It is not shameful to try every single slice and cake that they have to offer. Order as much free alcohol is possible. Make sure you drink enough Bloody Marys’ to be fairly intoxicated by boarding time. There is nothing classier than stumbling up and down the aisles of economy class, drunkenly slurring at the other passengers. Bonus points if you have to be restrained by the flight attendants.


DO make sure you watch Air Crash Investigations the night before you fly so that you self-induce a panic attack during take-off. Everyone sitting around you will love hearing you hyperventilate and dig your fingernails into the armrests for the entire flight. Trust me.


Finally, DO forget to take your travel sickness tablets so that you spend the flight feeling more and more queasy before finally having your very own pitch perfect projectile vomit moment just before you land. It will make your brother’s day. Especially if you get it all over his bags instead of your own. This may even be enough to earn you a fun nickname such as Vomitron.

There you go. Now you will blend in with all the other MacBook carrying, Nike Free 5.0 wearing pretentious frequent flyers. Congratulations.


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