Having just returned from a recent jaunt to Hot-Lanta, I was subject to layovers in both directions. Occasionally a daunting prospect to most fliers, I’m one of those people who love to see new airports and new cities (outside the windows of said new airports ;). Usually in the air once every couple months, it had been a bit since my last flight as school has recently taken front row seating in my life so I was a bit rusty on my old traditions but thankfully caught on quickly enough. Realizing we all have our own rituals, I thought I’d put a few of mine out there to explain why if you pass by me in LAX I’ll be in such a weirdly good mood even though it’s still 4 hours before my connection home.
1. Brand New Playlist:
Assuming we all have our iPhones charged and roaring to go come airport time (or iPods if you MUST), you don’t want to be hitting the “random song” button and having Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” bomp on as you wander from A wing to B wing. Don’t get me wrong, love the Chap but particularly when you’re by yourself and in a new place or waiting to visit somewhere new, I love being able to listen to that latest new-find off last night’s “So You Think You Can Dance”. Personally, before any long trip, I make sure to download all the albums and songs I’ve been putting off searching for that have been loading up my Shazaam for the past month and put them onto a looped playlist that I can… yes, quietly sing to while in public… I do that 🙂 Personally, I find it really emboldening to get excited to all-new tunes amidst the strangers and crazies of fellow airportees. This past trip, the big ones were Florence and the Machine’s “Kiss With a Fist” and Vanessa Carlton’s “Ordinary Day” (yup, the latter is an oldie but a newbie to my iTunes so I count that as valid!)
2. Dress For Success:
Realizing that most sites would likely recommend you to “dress comfortably, you’re not applying for a job: you’re stuck on a plane for 4 hours”… This is Homorazzi, where we really do judge everything! Above is a picture of a FATHER of a poor, unsuspecting baby that will never, ever recover from what his hemp-loving, pajama bottom wearing, too old to be procreating “dad” while no doubt put him through as he removes him from regular school and teaches him- while at home schooling- that wearing whatever you’d like IS appropriate at the airport… Well baby Moonshine, I can tell you it ain’t! Though I use to subscribe to a more lackadaisical approach to my choice of outfits while cruising airplanes and their ports, I recently dressed up on my return flight- mostly due to a lack of clean, casual clothes- and found myself walking not only with more confidence but also found the reaction of passersby to be less: “There goes some college kid on his way home to mom and dad’s,” and more: “Ugh, if that kid is riding business class and I’m still an economy flier, I’m in the wrong job.” It may be terribly superficial, but I have to tell you, it made me smile! Furthermore, it’s a safe bet that at least one cast member from Homorazzi is up in the air at any point in time, and you don’t want to be caught in Gap capris when we are, cause you know how we like to take those “Bitch, Please” shots with our iPhones haha.
3. Pre-Flight Check-In/Use Kiosk For Seat Change
Admittedly, most of you frequent fliers are well aware of the wonders of pre-flight check-in. Not only offered online, but often at the terminal as well! These days, to avert insane line-ups of families of 6 that arrive with passports stuffed in 6 separate bags and not anywhere near their flight info, the airlines allow you to check into your flight online within 24 hours of your flight’s takeoff. On here you can let them know how many bags you need to check-in and more importantly if you’d like to change your seat!Often, when booking a flight, I’ll either be doing it too far in advance to properly get that window seat I’m oh-so-desperate for come fly day or I’m hitting the skies with a group of friends who haven’t all signed up yet so we’re spread throughout the 747 by the time we do. As a result, re-signing up for adjacent seats closer to flight time is paramount. The airport kiosk is often your last and best chance to do so. Unless you’re willing to set up an 8-way GChat group conversation with friends the night before the flight, your meeting at the airport is the easiest way to coordinate sitting next to each other to enable the mid-flight game of “which flight attendant would you/have you done,” cause let me tell you, doing that 4 rows apart gets hard and apparently “inappropriate” (according to mothers of 3 not looking to expose their kids too early to “whores” as she put it 😉 Flying alone, this advice still stands as you can search out that elusive “emergency row seat” with its extra leg room, or that seat nowhere near the bathroom to ensure you don’t get woken up every 20 minutes by the pregnant lady with her ridiculous bladder. Make sure you take advantage of this option is all I’m saying: nobody wants to be in that dreaded middle seat!!
With new and even more ridiculously stringent laws and rules being imposed on carry-on allowances, food and water have become more scarce on planes than they are in the post-apocalyptic world of “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”. Having restricted outside liquids and perishables (because my sealed bottle of Fiji is apparently a huge red flag to anti-terrorist units), you are now forced to live and die by what the airlines decide to offer you mid-flight- occasionally free, often not- or what is being sold at vendors near your terminal. To this I say: come prepared! Bring some wrapped up candy or energy bars of course but mostly bring an extra 10 bucks to splurge on a 3-entrée combo from the Panda Box chinese food shop, because, no matter how long or short your flight is- anything over two hours and you’re gonna get bored and want to pass the time, and that feeling of being trapped in a metal box with the sweet escape of carbs 😉 Furthermore, when offered that complimentary bag of nuts on the plane, take the couple extra I know you’ll be offered once the “air host” catches that gay glint in your eyes, because those babies are shockingly filling- the peanuts that is- and weirdly healthy according to the stats on the back (thank god for the litigious americans, everyone’s gotta have a hearty option these days!)
5. Mini-Gel, Mini-Moisturizer, Mini-Cologne
This one will be a short one, but an important one. I’m not sure about you, but after a flight of any substantial length, I’m not exactly my tip-top, runway-ready best. We’ve all felt the curse of recycled air, permeating throughout the cabin: long-term, I always get a cold post return flight, but immediately upon arrival, I’m headin’ to the washroom to try and make the best of what is usually a pretty bad situation. Acknowledging the limited amount of liquids we can bring on, I think you should maximize those 50ml and bring the big three with you: fix the look, the feel and the smell. My hair these days isn’t exactly touching my shoulders- or the roof of my car- but definitely gets a bit out of a pomade refresher and definitely attacks the “just off a flight” look so many of us show off in the arrivals area. Secondly- and to me, most importantly- I hate feeling dried out by the nasty air flow of those flights and feel not only healthier but fresher after slappin’ on a bit of moisturizer both during and post flight. Finally, cologne. This one is more for “those who need it.” Stagnant seating doesn’t often bring out the best in our personal scents, and dabbing on even a drop of our favorite fragrance not only does the olfactory-memory-inducing-sense-of-safety thing when we head to new places, but recharges your nose and the sniffer of whoever’s picking you up and will put an easy smile on both your faces. I promise.
But, these are just my obsession. I’d love to hear about your pre-flight rituals: let me know what gets you through that cross-Pacific endeavor!