Let’s fly

How to survive air travel

Craig Mod
The Message
Published in
6 min readJul 23, 2014



This is how you survive the airport:

Arrive early. Arrive early? Sounds simple. It is — let me show you.

Arrive so early that a friend will text you, What R U sixty years old? No, you’re not sixty, you’re much older, because the wisdom of the early arrival seems to have eluded even most sixty-year-old travelers.

Authorities recommend arriving two hours before international flights. I say four. Get there four hours before your flight. You are a hundred and fifty years old. Your friends laugh at you. Have patience.

Arrive early and move through the airport like the Dalai Lama. You are in no rush. All obstacles are taken in stride, patiently, with a smile. Approach the nearly empty check-in counter. Walk up and say, I’m a bit early but I’m here to check in to … Marvel at their surprise and then their generosity. Suddenly you are always able to get an exit row or bulkhead seat. Suddenly, sure, they can slip you into Business. Suddenly tickets that are supposedly unchangeable, cannot be modified, are, after a few calls, some frowns, upbeat goodbyes, specially modifiable for you. This is what happens when there is no one behind you in line to check in.

Move then to security. Fear not the nonsensical theater. The half-gaze of those supposedly looking for murderers, jihadists. Transformers was CRAP, one yells. Fear not the bottle checks, dreaded liquid checks. Sorry, sir, 3.2 oz, finger wag, we cannot abide, checks. Fear not holding up those behind you in line as you unlace your shoes, remove your belt, disrobe various layers in the name of flight safety, in the name of keeping shoe bombs and belt bombs and baby milk bombs from dropping planes from the sky one after another. Fear none of this because the line is nearly empty. The queue sparse. The rush yet to hit.

Male opt-out. You know, sir, these machines are safe now. I know, but that’s what you told me last year with the old machines. You know, sir, you get more radiation on the flight. Oh, do I? Well, then, I better be sure to cut it down any chance I get.

Male opt-out. Take deep breaths as they yell or whisper the words into the air. Much like apps, there is no sense in opt-out delegation. You feel no…