15 Unspoken Rules Of Flying Every Traveler Should Know

1. This is your chance to read all of those horrifying celebrity rags with stories about one Kardashian being pregnant by another Kardashian’s husband. Enjoy it, feel no shame, and collect those bad boys at Hudson News with hedonistic joy. The airplane is a judgment-free zone, particularly when it comes to questionable reading material.

2. One should always have a drink when flying. No matter the time, no matter the day, no matter the circumstance of flying (unless it’s really bleak, although that could be even MORE of a chance for a drink). The sky is the ideal location for a bloody mary, and more importantly, that drink will help you relax and potentially even get some goddamn sleep in coach. (This is, of course, unless you’re already taking something to relax/sleep. In which case, don’t fucking drink.)

3. Forgetting your headphones is akin to forgetting your passport. Do a double-or-triple check, because those horrible headphones they give you in the plane are basically like crumpling up tinfoil in your ears and listening to someone sing to you through it.

4. Don’t take off your shoes and put them under you on the seat. That is honestly one of our greatest behavioral sins as white women and we have to put a stop to this heinous cultural practice. No one wants your gross, smelly feel all over the place. You don’t look cute, you just look selfish.

5. Two things should always be acquired before boarding: a big-ass bottle of water, and some napkins/tissues. You will always be weirdly thirsty (mostly because every food served on a plane is 90 percent sodium, 10 percent food particles), and they only give you a shot glass full of the soda of your choice to wash it down. And for the tissues, you need to be able to wipe your hands/nose/face/whatever at the drop of a hat.

6. Generally speaking, when looking for good food/generous servings of free booze in coach for long flights, go with the national airline of whatever country you’re flying to/from (if you’re willing to pay more, or if it’s the same price). The holy grail of this is Air France, who, in coach, starts you with free champagne, followed by a choice of dishes and wine, followed by a digsetif and dessert.

7. If you are extremely scared of even mild turbulence (raises hand), tell the person next to you at the beginning of the flight if you don’t know them. Be jokey and chill about it, but let them be prepared for you bursting into tears/Hail Marys/general chaos at the first sign of bumpiness.

8. Now is the time to watch Eddie Redmayne movies. Every Eddie Redmayne movie is a perfect plane movie.

9. You never think you’re going to need the little neck pillow, but you always do. There is nothing worse than being seated next to someone who is silently dreaming a thousand peaceful dreams in their neck pillow while you are left to awkwardly angle your neck against the unforgiving concrete chairs in coach.

10. Checking bags is for amateurs and people who are moving. Becoming a master of the carry-on is when you know you have truly reached Travel Zen.

11. Be kind to your steward(ess). There are way too many people who treat them like some terrible mixture of a butler and a disliked relative, and offering them a smile, a please and thank you, or a few kind words is huge to making the airplane (and world) a better place to be. The person that pushes the cart is also in control of the free things you could potentially get, so they should be your best friend for the duration of the flight anyway.

12. You have the right to “accidentally” elbow people who are loudly, open-mouth snoring during a daytime flight. No one needs to deal with that shit for three hours.

13. While no one should be the girl in full makeup, heels, and a bandage dress at the airport, it is also unadvisable to look like you just rolled out of your worst hangover and into the airplane, clad in sweatpants, a messy bun, and a general look of disease. Let’s all find a middle ground somewhere in the “comfortable denim, loose sweater, ballet flats” area.

14. Tweeting your anger at airlines is futile, but cathartic. Do what you must, but don’t expect the poor social media manager at the other end to do anything but say how sorry they are.

15. When landing in a new city with complicated or questionable public transportation to the place you’re staying, suck it up and get a cab. I’ve spent too many broke college travel nights sleeping in dangerous train stations and taking buses to far-flung areas of a city I didn’t know, and it’s only by sheer luck that I have not at least been stabbed by now. Invest the 30 dollars and take a cab. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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