Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When Flying

I'm traveling for work for part of this week. Unfortunately that means I'm flying.

I was annoyed to discover that Dane County Airport has only last week installed one of those damn irradiate-you machines. You have the choice between that and a pat-down. Or not flying. Yeah, next time I'm taking the damn train. At least they don't treat their customers like criminals.

But that aside... I have made carry-on and expedience an art form when it comes to flying. Other passengers, please take note:

They post size requirements for carry-on luggage. These are rules, not guidelines. Stop trying to make your bags fit into spaces they are not meant for. Note: you must take all the extra pockets and projections on your bags into account when you measure. And measure them FULL, for gods' sakes.

If you are going to be on a small plane, like only three or four seats across, THE CARRY-ON DIMENSIONS ARE WRONG. If your bag will not fit under a seat, you will have to gate-check it, because it won't fit in the overhead. Plan ahead so that your personal item goes in the overhead and your carry-on goes under the seat in front of you. Rearrange the stuff in your bags ahead of time.

When you stop in the aisle so you can get your bag into the overhead, and then slowly take off your coat and put it in the overhead, and then need to get something out of it or your bag, or decide something in your pocket must go into the overhead, YOU ARE HOLDING UP THE REST OF THE PLANE. Think about this shit ahead of time. It's not like we weren't all just sitting around for forty minutes waiting to get on the plane.

I can fit three days (or two and an extra set in case I fall in a lake) of clothes and necessities in one carry-on that's small enough to fit under the seat. My laptop and electronics then fit in the laptop bag. My laptop is too big to comfortably use on the plane, so it can go into the overhead. (My netbook is actually small enough to fit into one of the pockets of my booster jacket, if I need a computer on the flight.) Everything I expect to need on the flight I put in my jacket: paperback novel (for when electronics must be off), iPod and headphones, Kindle, protein-rich snacks, bottle of water, pack of gum for take-off and landing, breath mints, mini notebook (the paper kind) and pen. Rarely do I need to get anything out of my bags. My jacket is light enough that I can just slip out of the sleeves and leave it wrapped around me and I won't get too hot. I have a pill case on my keychain in case I get a headache or something.

When I board the plane, I am wearing my jacket. I have my under-the-seat bag carried in front of me and the overhead bag carried behind me, both by the handle. When I get to my seat, I drop the seat bag into the seat, sling the overhead bag into the overhead, step out of the aisle if I have room, sling the seat bag under the seat, and sit my ass down. Only then do I take off the jacket by removing my arms from the sleeves. Viola, I am stowed and out of everyone's way in approximately five seconds (or less). Exiting the plane is pretty much the same thing in reverse.

Please folks, be kind to your fellow passengers. Plan ahead so we can all spend the least amount of time in the tin can as possible.

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