How to Productively Diminish the Drudgery of Long-Haul Flights

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William James Downing

You have dealt with your luggage that was one gram under the weight limit. You have taken off most of your clothes when going through the scanners – who knew that you Calvins had trace metallic elements in them and who knew it was so cold in this airport. You have managed to hold back and compress razor sharp jokes when being questioned by security, which would have surely bombed. You have spent money in the departures lounge on beer/water at a price that Cash 4 Gold would think was cutthroat, eliciting a call from the fraud line of your credit card company.  You have sprinted further than Pheidippides jogged, to find your gate. You have repeatedly removed and stuffed back in your tissue paper ticket from your surprisingly crowded pocket. You have scaled the mountain of pushchairs and strollers that have been sensibly left at the entrance to the aircraft. You have watched as people have brought their frustratingly large luggage onto the plane and stood, hands-on-hips, angrily and confusedly, staring at the empty overhead locker that won’t accommodate their belongings. You have sat in your seat and crushed the blanket (thinner than George Washington’s book of lies) and pillow (less comforting than platitudes from Arnie) under your seat – never to be seen, let alone used, again. You have taken off. Now, how to survive the next ice-age:

  1. Pick the most unappealing movie possible, to start your journey

This is a sensible suggestion for a few reasons: It gives you something different to talk about when chatting up the hot single girl/hot Scandinavian hen-do/hot stewardess/hot attached girl with sleeping window-seat boyfriend (aka Glenn Guglia), instead of the churned out Hollywood blockbuster. It also follows the sound logic of Frank Sinatra when he was feeling sorry for those that don’t drink – start off your tedious, itchy and sense-hindering flight with the worst thing and it can only get better. Oh, and you may be surprised – I guiltily enjoyed Zac Efron’s The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud on a recent trip.

  1. Flirt Outrageously with Anyone on the Plane that is even Vaguely Hot

Note that I write anyone, as playfully socialising with people in a confined and already stressful and awkward situation is better than watching the ‘distance travelled’ pot boil, whilst thinking about how much faecal matter you are inhaling. Oddly the best opportunity to do this is whilst queuing for the toilets as both parties are standing. The worst situation (although this is dependent on how sadistic and/or sex-starved you are) is by standing, talking to a seated stranger – they hate this because there is this natural aversion to having someone standing over you and also because it is harder (but not impossible) to fart, but then there is the benefit of crunching your crotch into their face when someone else tries to squeeze by. Who knows, you may even get to join the Mile-High Club – the common misconception being that most commercial flights do not fly at 33,000 feet… boring? Yeah, I thought so.

  1. Join the Mile-High… on your own

Yeah… although bonus danger points for finding your blanket and doing it underneath that.

  1. Passively Bully your Neighbour

At some point your overweight, goggle-eyed adjacent passenger will fall asleep; this is the time to start your drip-drip war of attrition. Make sure you have a straw and manage to catch the air-host’s attention everytime they pass for “Another glass of water, if possible, please.” Then move as much of the water, via the straw, from the glass onto the crotch of annoying neighbour. The main tactics being; little and often, the ability to suddenly look fast asleep yourself, and the balls to escalate it to putting crumbs on them – they will embarrassingly assume they know where the dampness comes from, but the crumbs will be a dangerous mystery.

You can also ask them a question, just as you see them shutting their eyes – the more inane the better, such as “How far to the destination?” because this is on your own ‘flight plan’ display, and even better “Are we there yet?” a personal favourite because, well, obviously, hahaha.

The final torture is snapping their headphones apart at the jack whilst they sleep: They will have tried to grab a nap between films, excitedly they will dream of watching the next few Harry Potter films (two or three of them in succession) but the reality will be six hours of staring at the flight plan upon waking.

  1. Make the most of the ‘communal’ area by the Toilets

The safety video asks you, out of courtesy, not to loiter by the toilets for a very, very good reason – it is the best place to be and ‘the man’ doesn’t want you to have fun. It is an amazing place. It is big enough to: swing a kitten in, deliver powerful soliloquies to other grumpy voyagers, stage faux-business meetings (actually, tee-hee, you are talking about the availability of hot talent in the cabin), do press-ups, freak people out by brushing your hand along the big door handle to ‘the outside’, etc…

  1. Upgrade to First Class

Or at the very least spend the ten hours on the plane writing a credible business plan so that next time you travel, you can actually afford to sit with those, probably very pleasant, people of whom you are white-hot jealous.

So next time you enter this S&M influenced environment, bear these tactics in mind – it is better than thinking of ways to kill yourself, hindered (purposely) by the prohibition of blades. It is better than letting your pen circle aimlessly over the section:

“Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1939 and 1945 were you involved, in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi germany or it’s allies ?”

That faint mark you accidentally left by that box, that lightest of light gray stain, that thinner than a Sudanese Supermodel blemish, that, that is trouble.

Share your tips!

Have you got any tips for surviving long-haul flights? Share them in the comment boxes below!

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How to Productively Dimin…

by William James Downing time to read: 4 min