1. Pack light
I know, this is one is hard. Obviously, you need to look your best for this trip. What are the holidays if not the perfect opportunity to convince your extended family how well your life is going via your perfectly styled outfit? I get it, trust me. But this doesn’t mean you need to bring your entire wardrobe. And you definitely don’t need to be holding everyone else up at the check-in counter as you try to re-distribute items between your various suitcases, trying to adhere to the 50-pound weight limit. You’ll be there for three days. You’ll survive without eight choices of shoes.
2. This goes double for carry-ons
Don’t be That Person: the one that has a suitcase/small house, a huge duffle bag, a garment bag and the largest down jacket you own; you’re stretching the carry-on rules and you know it. If you do insist on bringing all these things, at the very least practice your Tetris skills the week proceeding your flight so you can shuffle the bags in the overhead compartment without holding up a billion people.
3. For the Love of God, prepare yourself for the security check
We’ve all been through the nightmare that is getting through airport security. So please, don’t wear your combat boots that take 5 minutes to unlace, or a million different pieces of metal jewelry. You know better. Also, when the TSA tells you to empty your pockets, take everything out, not just the metal. You will be subject to the uncomfortable pat-down if you don’t. Basically, just get it together before you join the security line, and save us all some time. Also, the 3 oz. rule has been in affect for a while now: don’t act incredulous when they make you throw out your fresh pumpkin spice latte. You should have seen that coming.
4. Flying Southwest? Try not to become the worst version of yourself.
Southwest has somehow gotten away with playing this awesome joke on society in which they force disgruntled travelers to basically fight to the death for seats, à la the Roman Empire. If you are unfortunate enough to have to participate in this annual Competition of Who Can Be The Rudest Person In Line, please do the following: chill out. Yes, technically you are B31 and I am B32, but please don’t insist on seeing my ticket just so you can verify my line inferiority. Just accept the shittiness of the system and stand in the way-too-small line space with everyone else. It’s not that serious.
5. Bring a snack
Besides delayed flights, long security lines, and annoying travelers, the only thing that can make you even more insufferable during your trip is hunger. No one likes a hungry traveler. When you get hungry and you happen to be traveling at the same time, you are extremely likely to revert back to the behavior of a toddler at Christmas mass without cheerios. Bring a granola bar, lest you be forced subject yourself to the masses in line for their annual fix at Cinnabon. Cinnabon enthusiasts are ruthless. They will probably cut you if you mess with their sugar high in any way. Avoid.
6. Please, no PDA.
I know you’re really excited to finally introduce your new boyfriend to your family, but I would really prefer it if you would save your make out session for your childhood twin-sized bed. This airplane row is small enough without having to hear you two going at it right next to me. Thanks.
7. Pick airplane-appropriate watching material
Nothing is more awkward than watching what is basically softcore porn on your computer screen while sitting next to a family with a screaming 5 year old. Know that whatever you’re looking at, your neighbors are sneaking glances at, too. Game of Thrones and Sex and the City may seem innocuous to you, but chances are good little Tommy will spend the rest of his holiday giggling about the boobs he saw on your computer screen.
8. Realize that everyone, (literally, everyone) wants to get off that plane as much as you do.
After three hours of cramped seating, stale air, and way too-small portions of snacks and beverages, everyone wants to get off that plane. Be patient. Grab your stuff from the overhead bin in a timely matter. If you were forced to store your carry-ons in a bin several rows behind you, quietly accept your fate of waiting until everyone else deplanes. Also, don’t be the dude in row 28D who bolts up the second the plane lands, pushes into the aisle, and skips everyone else on the plane, because obviously he has somewhere really important to go. There is a special place in hell for those people.