Bizarrely, by the same misguided token that sees people solicit relationship advice from me (lol lol lol), I've also been probed with various travel questions as of late. My inbox, usually boasting subject lines such as "Your Bank of America Balance Fell Below $25" is now jam-packed with correspondence from lovely folk who assume that my tattooed passport and repetitive anectodes are indicative of me being trusty source of travel guidance.
I'm flattered, and there is literally nothing I love more than people assuming I know more than them on any topic, but I'm actually really bad at airports.
Like beyond bad. And I'm not the only one. A recent BCPD (Bi-Coastal-Phone-Debrief; an acronym I literally just invented) with my bestie in LA saw me half-heartedly asking how her flight home was, and her admitting a very near brush with total public meltdown.
"My plane was delayed. My bag was overweight. The staff were HORRIBLE and by the time I realised there was a Chipotle I had already committed to a shitty Subway salad."
It's a situation too real for many of us. I offered my condolences and we conceded one thing: airports are a special kind of hell and the only people who genuinely enjoy them are those who fly once a year to go on holiday. Don't get me wrong; I love to travel. The miniature toiletries! An excuse to wear novelty eye-masks in public! The ability to use jetlag to bail on social commitments!
But actually flying? We hate it. I hate it with the venomous hostility I reserve for three-piece lounge suits and women who use the word 'hubby'. Like French men, team sports and having sex in swimming pools, air travel falls firmly into the category of things that I really like the idea of, but never so much the reality.
In interviews with both YEN and IN BED store, I've fraudulently ascertained that I love plane trips, a tactic I can only assume was an attempt to seem well-traveled and romantic. Close friends can attest to my tumultuous relationship with airports and their staff, having bore witness to a sprawling number of incidents which I'm not sure qualify as highs or lows.
Ironically, I started strong, with Kodak moments confirming a ten-day old baby Sam sprawled lazily across a first class seat en route to Melbourne, to be Christened into a faith I'd later reject. Asleep, content, adored by air hostesses and fellow passengers alike; as loftily as I once soared, so dramatically did I crash. From being flatly denied my fourth (?) tequila due to United's "airline policy", to prematurely necking a Valium in the Sydney immigration queue and regaining consciousness in LA, to calling a member of ground staff at San Francisco airport the c-word in a tone that was less-under-my-breath than intended(low, low, low point); my more recent brushes with aviation have been somewhat turbulent, peppered with episodes I wish I could forget.
Though despite my seemingly ad-hoc approach to sedatives and disregard for public decorum, I do feel like my frequent flier status means I have something valuable to offer on this topic. And because I'm sure the internet doesn't feel like indulging the woes of another Gen-Y-er on #funcation who feels personally victimized by the baggage-check staff at Charles-De-Gaul, I'll try to keep this less about my (many) personal failings and more about how you can be better at flying than me.
1. Know What You Can Bring
Know what you can take and how much of it. Just because Sydney airport is fairly lax about carry-on-toiletry sizing doesn't mean that Suvarnabhumi airport will be. No really; this is a direct example. Take it from someone who learned the hard way that no amount of fake tears (low point) and convincing that your dead grandmother bought you that Aesop hand-cream (really low point) is going to get it back from Nattakan in Bangkok security screening. Getting away with something at one airport does not guarantee it flying (eh, eh!) at another.
2. Pack Literally a Third of the Shit You Assume You'll Need
(14kg overweight x €9 per kg = you not eating for at least three days)
You're going to buy stuff. Having to haul out the contents of your suitcase into your carry-on and pack on nearly every single item of your clothing to avoid airport fees is a special kind of hell. Unless you want to be forced to wear spend your first night in Berlin drunk-tweeting EasyJet about their carry-on size flexibility (or lack thereof), suck it up and stick to their rules.
3. Sedatives Are Your Friend
If valium is wrong, I don't want to be right. I clearly get a bit happy-go-lucky when it comes to air travel and prescription meds, so this is definitely more of a 'do as I say, not as I do' situation'. Jokes aside, sleeping pills give you the chance to align your body clock with that of your destination.
4. Take Snacks
All of the snacks. More is more. One unshakeable certainty about flying is that your plane will most likely be delayed and the food you are served on your tardy flight is likely to be inedible, or unavailable to you due to some sort booking catastrophe or an unfortunately misaligned credit card / cash combination with your arline. And not to get all virtuous-kale-queen on you but if you eat rubbish on a plane you will typically disembark feeling like rubbish too. Do not bring: anything with a protruding smell, anything that requires a utensil sturdier than a paper, anything that is more than a one-napkin situation, anything that can be easily shared if the person next to you so audaciously happens to ask. Every man for himself.