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Susan’s 5 Rules for a Happier Flight

As I sit in the Atlanta airport waiting for a delayed flight (who hasn’t done that before?), I’m fantasizing about what travel would look like if I was in charge. Prepare for fantastical, unrealistic, and yes, a bit biased ideas.

1. Thou Shalt Have Your Shit Together When Going Through Security

No more of these fumbeldy folks who wait until they’re at the conveyor belt to pull out their laptops, take off their double-knotted shoes, remove their zipped jacket, and pull out their liquids. Then they forget that they have a knife in their pocket and a bottle of water in their purse.

Here’s the new rule, folks. You pull out whatever you can carry while you’re waiting in line. Wear slip off shoes and no belt so I don’t give you the evil eye. Hell, pack your suitcase so those liquids aren’t stuffed between your muumuu and your deodorant at the bottom of your bag and you can easily get them.

2. Every Gate Shall Have Tasty Food Nearby

It’s such a juggle to figure out how, when, and where to eat when I’ve got layovers. In Atlanta, where I have a layover today, I had to rush from one terminal to another and find food on the way. I preferred food that wouldn’t make me want to puke. I lucked out with a fantastic sandwich from Brioche Doree (in Terminal A if you need the tip), but more often than not I have to resort for the crappy snack boxes on the plane or fill up on candy, which still resorts in that pukey feeling.

So I say every gate should have an assortment of food options that we don’t have to run to find on our way to checking in.

3. There Shall Be a Fast Lane and a Slow Lane on the Airplane

Now I realize, I travel more than many people, and therefore have my system in place. When getting on the plane I:

  1. Know what seat I have before boarding the plane to avoid fumbling for my ticket and holding people up

  2. Hop into my seat and throw my bag under the seat. If I have to stow it overhead, I do so as quickly as possible so I don’t hold people up

  3. Buckle up, store what I’ll use on the flight in the pocket in front of me and sit still

When I get off the plane, I:

  1. Fiddle with my phone while the plane is parking so I don’t hold people up by trying to listen to my voicemails mid-aisle

  2. Get all items and bags ready so that when it’s my turn I can leap out of my seat and get moving and don’t hold people up

  3. If I have an overhead bag, I get it as quickly as possible and encourage people to go around me so I don’t — you got it: hold people up

I hate being held up on planes. So I propose two lanes. Much like on roads. For the fast, savvy folks like myself, we zoom out of the plane to our connecting flights and don’t have to curse the slow people. Because they have their own lane. Maybe you have to take a test to prove that you’re speedy enough for the fast lane.

4. Thou Shall Not Talk Loudly, Smell Badly, or Eat Disgusting Food on a Plane

Believe me; I’ve been tempted by that garlic pizza at the restaurant across from the terminal, too, but out of respect for my fellow passengers, I resist. Stinky food lingers for the entire flight. Don’t do it. And wear deodorant. I just reapplied in the bathroom. Once I sat next to a 13-year-old who clearly hadn’t been given the “your body is changing” lecture from his mom. We were on a 7-hour flight to Paris. Joy.

As for frivolity, there’s a time and place. By all means, talk to your seatmate and ask all kinds of personal questions about where he’s from, but when the lights dim, keep your barroom jokes to yourself. Or I will rise up over the seat like a vengeful dragon and glare until you pipe down.

Come to think of it, let’s charge fines for these offenses, too.

5. Airport Lookie-Loos Shall Move Out of the Way

You know the ones. They stop right in front of the departures board to find their gate, with no concern about the 5 million people who are trying to pass. Move, folks! In my world, you will receive a hefty ticket if you are not in the special Pause Zone designated for such purpose.

This is just the beginning, folks. I’m seeing the vision of my travel utopia, and it’s a beautiful thing. If only everyone else would comply.

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