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 we've seen on airplanes. It's good to keep your cool, but let's face it: Some things 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 little or, for that matter, when you were a rambunctious toddler? They do cry (and so did you) and they can't always help themselves. (We've 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. Don't 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 you've got a 6-footer with long legs behind you, don't 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 overhead. In general, be nice.
5. Think about the glorious time you're going to have on your vacation. Avoid fixating on the return trip.
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service www.scrippsnews.com)
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