Monday, September 12, 2005

Advice for your next trans-Atlantic flight 

My first advice: don't sit in the aisle seat right under the overhead bin where in-flight supplies are stored -- overstuffed, actually. But if you do, always keep your hands up and ready, or bring an umbrella. And pray they packed the paper napkins last; that worked for me.

Early in the flight is the time to start a betting pool: "which passenger will be the one to stand up in the aisle before the plane reaches the gate".

I strongly recommend blocking out 5 minutes of your busy flight schedule to follow Dalia and Osnat's Pilates Video Workout. It's worth it, even though only a two year old would actually have enough room to follow the drills sitting in a real airplane without breaking the seat in front or tripping a flight attendant. You won't be able to do the exercises, but if you are like me, you'll still be curious to finally learn where all this fuss about Pilates is coming from. Let me just say this: walking is an Olympic sport. So until they start handing out medals in Synchronized Pilates, I'm going to stick to the equally strenuous "post-nap stretching."

A trans-Atlantic flight is a seemingly never-ending deal, and the biggest chunk of time you can burn up is your nap. I've found it helpful to stretch it out a bit. Sleep, wake, sleep, wake, sleep, wake. Little ten minute sips of nap followed by a few waking moments to wipe your chin and shift your left buttock over two centimeters. Plus, if you are over the age of twenty three, remember that after napping for an extended period in these fabulous accomodations (i.e. coach) your right knee will probably not be able to support your weight all the way to the bathroom so you might need to crawl. You can always pretend you lost a contact.

When the movies start on the seat-back screens, if you are traveling with friends and coworkers, think carefully about your viewing selections. It could prove embarrassing to watch something sleazy and then look up to find your coworker watching the FDR biopic. My advice is that if you want to watch a lowbrow movie without advertising it to highbrow friends, watch it on a nearby screen instead. Put a towel or blanket over your screen, sanctimoniously announcing you don't want the light to bother you while you meditate. Then turn the audio channel to the movie of your choice, find a lowbrow neighbor whose screen is easily visible from your lotus position, and enjoy.

You might be tempted to just turn on the audio channel and listen to some music. But I must caution you not to do this. There is a possibility you could fall asleep with your earphones still in place, and a trans-Atlantic flight's duration exceeds the maximum threshold scientists have found before repeated Celine Dion exposure can lead to cranial liquefaction in lab rats -- so think what it could do to a human!

Of course, I'm a relatively infrequent flyer compared to some of you, so please feel free to add your own advice. I've got another flight returning home in a week, and I can use all the help I can get.

[Paste "intermittent-blogging-while-traveling" alert template here.]

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