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FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS(OR HOW TO ENJOY A BUMPY RIDE)

Even before we had to pay for baggage and take off our shoes to get through security, a trip on an airplane was an experience. The flying tube of humanity, or zoomanity you might say, has always been a microcosm of the world at large. Questionable behavior and good intentions sitting cheek to cheek. Yes, those cheeks. ´ Love, hate, jealousy, impatience, excitement and crying babies are all stuffed into six seats across, separated by an aisle barely wide enough to accommodate the drink cart. Watch your elbows! The summer travel season has us thinking about the crazy, irritating and endearing things weÍve seen on airplanes. Today, we put them together for one strange trip. The mile-high Lotharios, the kid insisting on a game of peekaboo and the lady with the smelly lunch canÍt keep us from traveling. But they sure do make for a good story later. ´ This illustrated plane, packed with lots of giggles and familiar scenes, might be just the ticket you need to entertain yourself or your kids on a long trip. Pack it away in your carry-on and spend your flying time looking at the details. You just might see yourself.

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Surviving the flight

There are serious problems with air travel (long delays, missed connections and mechanical trouble) and there are minor irritations (a smelly seatmate and no food). ItÍs good to keep your cool in either situation, but letÍs face it, some are easier to deal with than others. For the big stuff, just do what they tell you and no one will get hurt. But here are five ways to handle the small stuff, no sweat.

1 Keep your sense of humor and breathe deeply. It will be over. At some point.

2 Remember when your kids were lit-tle or, for that matter, when you were a rambunctious toddler? They do cry (and so did you) and they canÍt always help themselves. (WeÍve even heard of one mother who brings treats for the people who sit near her as a mea culpa for whatever her children might do.)

3 Bring something to occupy yourself. A book, magazine, movie, music, cards, something. DonÍt count on the airline to provide entertainment, plus it might signal to the person next to you that you don't want to chat. Maybe.

4 Be aware of the people around you. If youÍve got a 6-footer with long legs behind you, donÍt recline your seat fully. Remember that the person next to you might not like Green Day as much as you and if you turn up the volume all the way, she can hear the music through your headphones. Help the person struggling to get the bag in the over-head. In general, be nice.

5 Think about the glorious time youÍre going to have on your vacation. Avoid fixating on the return trip.

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