I'm not afraid of many things. I admit that school teachers make me nervous, and this has a lot to do with spending a good part of my childhood trying to explain why my homework wasn't done.
I would not choose to have an encounter with a snake or a spider unless I was heavily armed.
And, the very word "travel" strikes terror clear through me.
I know some people believe travel is an adventure. So is skateboarding on the interstate, but you're not going to find me doing that anytime soon.
My fear of flying is not the fault of the airlines. They actually do a great job. The problem is me.
So here is some advice for frightened travelers like me who need a lot of help.
First, packing your suitcase.
The other night I Googled on the Internet "how to pack a suit for a business trip." I got 101 million results.
None of them work. Believe me. I've tried them all.
The best way to get a suit to your destination is to ship it to a dry cleaner in the city where you're going and pick it up when you arrive.
Second, travel light. I've never understood this one. Airports have lights. Airplanes and hotels have lights. Why do I need a travel light? Pack a little flashlight to be on the safe side.
Third, many airlines are charging to check luggage so it is best to use carry-on bags.
Flight attendant: "I'm sorry sir. That is not a carry-on bag."
Me: "But I'm carrying it on. If I'm carrying it on, it's a carry-on."
Flight attendant: "Let me rephrase this. Your golf bag will not fit in the overhead bins."
Me: "Can I put it under my seat?"
Four, don't give flight attendants a hard time. They will skip you when they're passing out the pretzels.
Five, airports are very crowded and at this time of year probably one out of three people is sick. To avoid catching cold or the flu take precautions: Wear a deep sea diving suit.
Six, it's a good idea to UPS some items before you travel. Go to the nearest UPS store, ask for the largest box they have, climb in and ask for next day delivery. Bring along some pretzels.
Seven, if you are parents planning to travel with three or more children under the age of five it is essential that you do this before your departure: reconsider.
Eight, get to the airport early so you have time for the healthy breakfast food they sell at the gates, like double bagel fried egg, bacon, ham and triple cheese sandwiches with hollandaise sauce. I always arrive extra early so I have time for seconds.
Nine, some airlines now weigh our luggage and charge us if the bags are overweight. So, will they next weigh us and charge us if we're overweight? If so, skip number eight.
Last week while traveling I ran into a man at an airport. He looked confused. I asked where he was going.
Man: I can't remember. I know I started this morning flying out of Cleveland. Then I flew to New York and then Orlando and Atlanta. My ticket says I'm supposed to be going to Toronto.
Me: "Through New York, Orlando and Atlanta?"
Man: "It was a $90 super saver."
You can't beat getting to see that much of America for only $90.
Some people like to sleep on flights. Some read. And some people like to tell and even retell their "funny" stories.
I was on a flight once where a husband and wife were not seated together. A kind woman offered to change seats with the wife.
Woman: "Would you like to sit with your husband?"
Wife: "No thanks. I've heard all his stories a thousand times. You can listen to them on this flight."
I'm not going to say who this couple was. But I'm trying to find some new stories.
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