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When we travel together, David and I book a window and middle seat, hoping until the doors are locked that the remaining seat stays vacant. When we're not so lucky, I make David sit in the middle, and I stay in the window seat. Like a true gentleman, he refuses my empty offer to switch seats (though he still huffs and puffs for the first 30 seconds). When no one shows up, we use the middle tray to hold our ongoing Scrabble games. Delays are to be celebrated when you have with you one Travel Scrabble and one other person willing to play. We have marathons, playing three games in a row, surprised when the pilot announces an impending landing ("What, already?"). The fabulous word game is the closest thing to a time machine I've found. But I've saved the most important tip for last.

Despite bad weather, regardless of how many assholes surround you, no matter the length of time you must wait, or what evil hardships have befallen you, when you get in front of an airline representative, remain calm, smile, and be nice. Shit happens that even they can't control, and if you are the relief from the stress, if you are the fresh air in a room full of irate gas, everything that can be done will be done. Being a Mister Cranky Pants gets you nowhere, whereas being sympathetic, understanding, and going with the flow have gotten us upgrades, improved seats, and three times the effort given to the dickhead who was in front of us. In the very least, it has spared a handful of people from having to feel bad, including us. This tip, of course, goes for any type of business you deal with. If you want to be treated like a princess, you need to treat the woman in front of you like a queen.

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