Here at Travelfish.org we fly quite a bit. Luckily it is just about all short-haul, but that doesn't stop some of our fellow passengers from trying to make it just about as long-haul as possible. Here are some of the more common methods people use to make sure your flight is as interminable as possible.
Book as late as possible
By doing this you should just about guarantee that you'll pay the highest fare possible -- hopefully at least as much as a full service carrier -- which will, of course, be full by the time you realise the low cost carrier is not really low cost at all anymore.
Always book a window seat
By booking a window seat you are able to maximise disruption for the other passengers in your row. If on a wide-body aircraft, aim for either window seat or the centre seat in the middle of the row.
Always book towards the rear of the aircraft
This is important in order to improve the likelihood that the overhead lockers will be full and to guarantee the longest possible boarding and deboarding time.
Don't commence packing till taxi is out front
While this will slightly inconvenience the driver, the bigger benefit here is to increase the odds that you will forget to pack your passport, ticket or ukelele. For bonus points, don't get out of bed till the cab arrives.
Always pack something organic
Leftover curry or a slice of durian are always great prospects for problems during the trip.
Wear all your metal jewellery
Bracelets, anklets, toe rings and metal tiaras are all valuable during the check-in process. There is no such thing as too much, but ideally spread it across different parts of your body to maximise the number of times you have to go through the X-ray. Bonus points for chainmail.
Wear sandals that have a metal strip in them
Fake Birkenstocks are the best for this. Be sure to look blankly at security staff for as long as possible when they tell you to take them off. Ideally insist they have no metal in them to prolong the conversation.
De-metal when standing in front of first X-ray machine
Do not remove anything till the last possible moment. Ideally try to walk through the X-ray wearing it all to maximise the delay. Only remove the material they ask you to remove.
Do not print out your ticket
Airlines want you to print out your ticket to minimise check-in time. This is exactly why you should not print off your ticket. And whatever you do, don't write down your booking number.
Don't have your passport nor ticket at check-in
The first thing the check-in staff will ask you for is your ticket and passport. Have neither ready. Ideally you don't have your ticket at all and your passport is at the bottom of your sofa-sized wheelie bag.
If the airline offers kiosk check-in, don't use it
Designed to speed up the check-in process,these are just silly. Avoid and stand in the queue -- especially if you have no luggage to check.
Make sure your luggage is overweight
If you have an allowance of 25kg, pack at least 35kg to make sure they stop you, then feign shock when you're informed you are overweight. Be sure to unpack on the spot to get below weight.
Don't have payment ready for departure tax. Try first to pay with a credit card. Hopefully that will not be acceptable so try to pay in any cash currency not accepted in the country of departure. When they relent and allow you to pay in Martian ingots, quibble over the exchange rate.
Never ever fill out the departure card
While the best approach is just to lose your departure card, if you managed to keep it, be sure to hand it to the immigration officer uncompleted. Make sure you don't have a pen and ideally ask the immigration guy for theirs then try to pocket it.
The perfect overstay is three to four days, as it won't cost you too much. Of course, when you are informed of the overstay, be sure to pull out a Rough Guide or Lonely Planet at least ten years out of date and point to the pertinent section where you are entitled to a 743-day stay. See "Departure Tax" above for what to do when it comes time to pay the fine.
Don't head to lounge until gate is closed
Once you've jumped through all the above hoops, go and sit in a bar and drink as much beer or water as possible. Ignore all calls to board. Don't move until an attendant comes in and asks are you supposed to be on the flight. See "Departure Tax" above for tips on what to do when you have to pay for your drinks.
Have at least one litre of non-sanctioned water
This will be confiscated at the boarding gate, so feign horror, then stand there and drink all of it. This is important later when you need to go to the toilet every five minutes.
Be the last to board
This is crucial in order to have the best chance of a) someone sitting in your seat, b) no overhead locker space and c) the other two seats being occupied.
Put all luggage in overhead locker. Everything.
Wallet, handbag, the lot. Ideally the locker closest to your seat will be full so you need to spread your bags over many lockers. Only this way can you be sure to annoy as many of your fellow passengers as possible.
Once seated, use your smartphone incessantly
Tweet stuff like, "Hey I'm on a plane" -- your followers will love you for it. Continue to use your phone until you've been asked at least three times to turn it off. Once you do turn it off, insist that the other passengers stand so you can stand up to place it in the locker. As soon as the seatbelt sign goes off, ask them to stand again so you can retrieve it.
Once in the air, as soon as seatbelt light is off go to the toilet
Because you have drunk so much, your pee capacity will be high. Don't linger. Instead head back as soon as possible so that you are sitting down again when you realise there is more pee to come. With two litres drunk you should be able to spread it over at least four visits in twenty minutes. Be sure to be depleted before the food cart, though as you don't want to combine stands.
Food and drink
Buy something on every occasion the cart goes past -- after retrieving your wallet from the overhead locker and don't forget to replace it back up there -- but only after the other two seats have ordered meals and started eating. Repeat every time the cart passes. Make sure you have a currency they don't accept.
Just be an ass: Angry Birds, no earphones.
As soon as the plane lands, turn your phone on
This is important as it will absolutely annoy your fellow passengers. If you're in luck and someone says something to you, ask them to prove that the phone interferes with the aircraft's navigation and anyway, you're on the ground. Make sure you only have this exchange with passengers smaller than you.
As soon as the plane has stopped get up
When the other two in the row don't move, courteously barge past them. Get all bags then stand in aisle for at least 20 minutes. Bonus points if a flight attendant tells you to sit down.
Don't fill out the arrival card
As with the departure card, do not have any documentation ready. If the country has a visa on arrival program, ignore it and just queue at immigration. When they tell you you need a visa, get the guidebook out and explain to them how they are in fact wrong.
Don't declare the leftover curry nor the durian. When you get caught, ask to be told where it says you cannot pack leftover curry.
Always change all of your money at the very first exchange kiosk
The kiosks at airports always offer the most competitive rates. You should change all your cash at the very first kiosk that calls out to you.
Never use official taxis
Official taxis are a government conspiracy to defraud tourists. Never use them -- especially if the rates are clearly displayed on the wall.
Rinse and repeat.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 10th July, 2012.
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