10 Things I’ve Learned About Flying and 5 Things I Never Will

2012 is the Year of the Tiger*, and also a year that I have found myself flying approximately all of the time. I have gleaned little wisdom to date, but what I do know I will share with you now, in the utmost confidence.

Go on, settle into the scratchy sky-high polyester seat at my side and let the unfortunate aesthetic of its muted geometric pattern wash over you. Buckle its alarmingly limp ostensible safety fabric around your waist and try not to feel weird about it. Here are 10 pieces of pseudo-advice and 5 pieces of not-advice for avid travelers and wayward sky-faring individuals of all shapes and sizes.

* not actually true

pairs well with klonopin

5 Things I have not learned and will never learn:

1. How to pack a bag more than 1 hour prior to leaving for the airport because it always works out okay actually, 100% of the time.

2. The right amount of coffee to drink that will get me to the airport on time without sending me flailing into an endless cascade of anxiety.

3. How to choose reading materials that I will actually care to consume and how to avoid the stuff that will just glare at me for the duration of the flight, riddling me with the guilt of the ill-read.

4. How to cope with the crippling public transportation OCD that prohibits me from rewearing any article of clothing that was on my person in-air once I arrive at my destination.

5. How to talk about my flying/travel panic without it being a humblebrag. (bcw just taught me the word humblebrag, so this one is sort of in progress)

the marine layer is my favorite mystery about LA

10 things that I have learned:

1. The TSA is wholly ineffectual. I have accidentally found myself on the other side of a security checkpoint with everything from hulking nalgenes full of suspect liquids to razors and (Boy Scout) knives. A close friend made it through by accident recently with an entire tin full of joints. Which is not to say you should try this. I think anything you do in an airport is a federal crime, so try to remain very still and do very little.

2. Never check a bag. You will not only save a ridiculous amount of time, but you’ll look extra hot, strong, and gay. And you’ll be building up invaluable arm muscle. You’ll need that later.

3. Airports make you sweaty. Never wear Tom’s on a flight. It just can’t be there for you — it’s time to bring out the the big guns.

4. Everything I ever told you about drinking and flying still stands [see the “In-flight Advice for Adventurers” section]. For bonus points, bring travel sized bottles of liquor and order a mixer on the plane (free!)

5. Tweet at the airport and check in on Foursquare. You’ll experience a sense of deep fullfilment that your life is otherwise devoid of. You will win friends and admirers, be the talk of the town, etc.

6. No one ever hooks up in an airport except in that one episode of Six Feet Under, unless I made that up too. It’s sort of unfortunate but also maybe a good thing.

7. In order to hibernate properly, you will need the following: a hoodie, fingerless gloves, over the ear headphones, wool socks and sunglasses. This is The Best. It’s like being an anonymous bear in an anonymous bearcave 30,000 feet in the air.

8. Are you going to a godless place without proper coffee? Pack a shatter-proof french press and some pre-ground coffee beans from your pretentious local roaster of choice. You can put it in your carry on and the interior of the french press will fit between 1-5 snacks. Your luggage will smell like euphoria.

9. Snacks! These Mojo Clif bars are the best even though I think they are terrible for you, maybe. Also: bananas.

10. “Two carry-on bags” actually means three for your average not-asshole. You have business class traveler assholes who just don’t give a fuck and wheel on suitcases of egregious proportions to thank for this. Smallish rolling suitcases are okay or whatever, but we’re all homos here.

Get yourself a proper duffel bag (ideally from a garage sale or Army Surplus store), a decent backpack, and something else small like a tote bag or a Crown Royal pouch slung around your beltloop, full of treasure. You are now Pro. You’re welcome.

Those are my things. Do you have things? Tell them to me.

Taylor has written 137 articles for us.


  1. I saw this article:

    and it reminded me of this thread on Autostraddle. I swear that it was stories like these that were read to me in grade 7. I know the lady in this true story survived but her survival was much harder to achieve because she broke her glasses and couldn’t see all the scorpions, snakes and other dangerous JUNGLE creatures, and she was wearing a thin cotton minidress and flimsy sandals.

    Hell, if I ever wear my glasses or dress like that on a plane!

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!