...I wanted to put down, for posterity, some previously unwritten laws of airline travel. - You can tell a lot about a city by the type of people that hang out in its airports. Atlanta has beautiful people. Philadelphia has ugly people. Everyone in Los Angeles International looks like a cheap whore. Look around next time; everyone in a given airport fits the same stereotype...it's almost eerie. - The security measures taken in airports are a fuckin' joke. There's just no nice way to say this. If I really wanted to blow something up, I'd go to an airport. This replaces my previous choice for worst security; now, if I had a destructive urge, I'd hit an airport BEFORE I'd attempt it at a public high school. Really, the whole thing runs off the convenience and whim of the airport staff. - It's important to not show up too early. We don't want to crowd the airports. Showing up more than ten minutes before your flight is unnecessary. Afterall, you don't want to waste your valuable time sitting in an airport terminal. And besides, running for your departing gate is good exercise. Which brings up our next point: - You WILL inevitably be departing from the gate that marks the furthest point from where you are currently standing. No joke; I've been flying for YEARS, and never ONCE has my gate been even the second furthest away. It's always the furthest. Just deal with it. Furthermore, you will be in the very back of the plane. Since you are getting on the plane 3 nanoseconds before it takes off, this means you'll be doing some dirty dancing with at least one Mother Teresa lookalike who can't get her ass out of the aisle while you try to get your luggage settled and your butt planted. - Someone is going to be in your seat. Don't be disruptive; steal someone else's. - Fate has frowned upon you. Inevitably you will either be stuck between two people that are clinically obese (who will be likely to snore, sweat, or drool on you during the flight), or you will have the window seat. Whether you enjoy the view the window affords you or not, one thing is certain: the other two passengers between you and the bathroom will sleep soundly for the duration of the flight. - Don't worry: if you think the food on the flight sucks, it'll be WONDERFUL compared to the in-flight movie. Will you be seeing "American Beauty"? How about "The Shawshank Redemption"? Nope. The last two movies -I- saw while airborn were "Crazy in Alabama", which was Antonio Banderas's directorial debut, and "The Spy Who Knew Too Little", which was just another nail in the coffin of Bill Murray's career. Do what I do now: Get a laptop, a fast internet connection, and pirate a movie before you leave. Watch it instead. I've got the entire South Park movie sucking up over a gigabyte of my hard drive. It's a bootleg stolen by some guy going into a theater with a video camera. I can't identify the language the subtitles are in. But it's still better than watching Antonio try to recreate Citizen Kane. - Airlines have a sort of contagious financial vampirism. Not only are they going to RAPE you for cash every chance they get, but every business within a five mile radius will do the same. I blame the business class, yuppie motherfuckers for this one; if people willingly pay rediculous prices, then the prices willingly stay rediculous. USAir will rent you headphones, to listen to the movie...for five bucks. FIVE?! You really want me to PAY you so I can watch this PUKE you call a MOVIE? Fuck you. Hint: Regular headphones work, too. You probably have them anyhow, since you brought your own movie to watch. And don't even DREAM of using that phone in the seat in front of you if you ever want to put your child through college. Anything in or near the airport has this problem. Parking. Shuttles. Restaurants. Bars. Prostitutes. Beggars. Overpriced, every one of them. The fact they don't charge you for the crappy packet of peanuts is probably due to a federal regulation. - Speaking of federal regulations, does anyone REALLY believe that all these safety instructions are going to help you in the event of a crash? A jet plane is effectively an attempt to test the laws of physics; you are, more or less, strapping enough force to a lump of steel to propel it through the air. If you have 100 really light passengers, you've added at least another 10,000 pounds to this lump. This isn't even considering the absurd amounts of luggage all these richy-bitches are carrying. Therefore, if this vehicle decides to stop propelling itself, it's going to hit the ground. And YOU are GOING to fucking DIE. There's just no way around it. You might as well fire up that pirated South Park before the safety lecture is over. No one else is listening, either. - Light a match at 30,000 feet. See how obnoxious that is? Still wonder why smoking was REALLY banned on flights? - You will be required to keep your tray down for most of the flight, since the stewardesses will patiently ignore all your attempts to hand them your empty cup and the foil wrapper from your honey-roasted peanuts. - Beyond the peanuts, on longer flights you might get a meal. Chances are you will have a choice of meals: chicken or fish. Anyone who's seen "Airplane" knows better than to choose the fish. If they're out of chicken, then just starve. Hey, how come they never show "Airplane" as the in-flight movie? I'd pay for the headphones for that one... - You are going to want to minimize the restriction of blood flow. Recline your chair as soon as federal regulations deem you worthy. Still, you're first reaction to the person in front of you doing this will always be annoyance. - Oh, if you really do bring the laptop, bring an extra battery. There won't be an outlet to plug it in, or the supplied outlet will require some Martian converter hoobajoob to operate. Remember that once the battery fails, you will be forced to view the remainder of "Ernest Goes to Camp." Come prepared. - There's no such thing as a steward. Just stewardesses. The existance of stewards is just a myth invented by the airlines to prevent descrimination lawsuits. If you ever saw a steward, it was probably just a stewardess with a horrible, embarrassing deformity. - Steal EVERYTHING. Blankets. Pillows. Magazines. Take the barf bag. Rob the drink cart. Cut the cord on the phone that's embedded in the seat and take the reciever with you. Do EVERYTHING you can to these VAMPIRES to minimize your financial loss and emotional abuse. Just don't tamper with the smoke detector in the bathroom: there's a federal regulation against that. --ryan. "I am writing graffitti on your body, I am drawing the story of how hard we tried." -- Ani Difranco.