Flying Solo: Literally

I don’t love flying. I won’t say I hate it, but it’s right up there with going to the dentist and eating kale.

After I bought my ticket to Paris, my mind immediately went to the LONG flight from Los Angeles to Paris. How much turbulence would I have to endure and would I be able to run to the lavatory and hide if it got really bad? After all, the toilet’s the safest place to be, right? These are valid questions and ones that can’t be answered before I board.

I realized that the best thing I can do to combat this is to plan ahead. If I can’t control those factors, I’ll control what my neck pillow and compression socks look like. I was never a Boy Scout, but I know being prepared is always wise. There’s a whole song about it in The Lion King:

Meticulous planning, tenacity spanning

Yes, my teeth and ambitions are bared

Be prepared!

Who am I to argue with Elton John and Tim Rice?

So… off to Amazon I go to prepare for my solo journey.

  1. Neck pillow
  2. Compression socks
  3. TSA-approved travel bottles
  4. French café music
  5. Hand sanitizer
  6. Sleeping mask
  7. Magazines to either read or pretend to read in case my neighbor is annoying

Which brings me to my next planning obsession to deal with my anxiety: seat choice.

Flying Southwest is a different monster for a different post at a different time. Let’s talk about assigned seats. Aisle or window seat? If you like the middle seat, then you are an alien and should stop reading this post.

I’m tall. 6 feet to be exact, so don’t go mistaking me for the Jolly Green Giant even though I have a similar shirt made out of leaves. I have long legs, so I prefer the aisle. Plus, nothing worries me more than having to climb over people on a long flight just to go to the bathroom. I would honestly rather hold it until it came out of my eyes than to wake some poor soul who just wants a little bit of shut-eye before they’re not able to sleep for the next four days because, ya know, jet lag. It worries me!

I know what you’re thinking. Brandon, I can’t always get the seat I want. This is true, but, did you know that on most airlines you can change your assigned seat multiple times until almost the last minute? It’s become an obsession of mine and one that’s well worth it. Most obsessions are.

If you don’t get your desired seat, make it a habit of checking every night before you go to bed until you finally get it. It’s more fun than brushing your teeth and just as healthy. A preferred seat is not guaranteed, but I’ve yet to be disappointed with this tactic. If you’re hellbent on sitting at the front of the plane (I am not) then you might have a harder time. But if that window or aisle seat is precious enough to you, you’ll be happy to sacrifice a little more time deplaning by sitting towards the back. It’s where all the cool kids are, anyway.

So, with all my items purchased and my seat of choice locked in and ready, I board and hope for the best. From the seating chart I looked at 347 times over the past few days, I noticed that no one was sitting in my aisle. Could it be? Would I really be able to lie down and have the whole aisle to myself? Yes. My prayers had been answered. It was ALL 72 inches of me.

The flight was uneventful. And I mean that in the best way possible. I ate. I slept. I only hid in the bathroom once.

My preparations paid off and it was time to take my good luck to Paris… on the ground. Allons-y! That’s fancy talk for “I want to go to there”.