…to this article from the Sydney Morning Herald. I don’t know where this writer, Penny Lake, gets her info, but it can’t be from first-hand experience.

I’ll go through her article point by point.

1. Penny says, “Pay more to fly direct if you have to.” I say, “Why?” Sure, suffering through 3 or more stopovers to go somewhere would surely suck, but just one or two can break things up a bit, give you a chance to stretch the legs and freshen up. As for her assertion that you’ll end up in, “some dodgy airport somewhere,” the she’s obviously never been to Singapore, Hong Kong or Dubai, which rank in the top airports in the world. As for her comment that you’ll have to deal with, “airport staff speaking languages you don’t understand,” come off it woman. Most international airports have English-speaking staff. It’s a legal requirement!

2. Penny says, “Travel off-season if you can, ” which is fine and dandy if you can. But talk to a Japanese salary-man….. However her next phrase which is, “choose a time you know won’t be busy at the airport,” is where I must pick a bone. It’s well and good if you CAN choose a flight which is not at a peak time, but if you’re going along the road less travelled, you often don’t have the choice. At least the off-peak flights will be cheaper, eh.

3. All about travelling for the disabled and pregnant (same thing?) and all good, I guess.

4. Check in. Penny says such gems as,

“Arrive about 45-60 minutes before take-off. Every airline has its own late arrival policy, so I tend to stick with airlines that don’t mind you turning up when everyone else has cleared out.” I think the late arrival policy goes something along the lines of, “You’re late and you’ll take the first damn seat we give you, if the gate hasn’t closed already.”

The rest of her commentary that you should ask for an upgrade, or you’ll have your choice of seats is pure, drug-fuelled hallucination. I don’t know of an airport in the world where you could waltz up to a counter, late, ask for an upgrade or window seat and expect to be greeted with a smile, handshake and friendly wave. Obviously she hasn’t read Air Babylon.

“Late arrival for check-in is always smooth, with no wait and plenty of options.” She is on drugs.

5. Penny says, “If you find there is not enough time, try to flag a free ride on one of those motorised buggies,” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Have YOU ever tried to flag a lift from one of those motorised buggies? This ain’t Die Hard 2 lady!

6. Boarding. I, too, avoid the first call as well as striking up conversations. But then again, when you’re as tall and dangerous-looking as I am, especially when I have my face in a book, and you’re as tired as I am too, you probably wouldn’t want to talk to me either.

7. Penny suggests taking sleeping pills. Yay, that’ll really screw things up. I suggest a powerful combination of exhaustion, alcohol and an empty row, if possible. If not possible, then a neck-pillow and something to cover the eyes. She says having, “cosmetics such as toothbrush, paste, moisturiser, lavender spray, anything you’d normally have around to make you feel comfortable,” is good. I say, “Where are you going to put all that stuff?” Any woman who starts spraying lavender spray around me while I’m trying to sleep is going to get ‘accidentally’ get an elbow to the skull. “Oh, sorry…”

8. “Avoid alcohol, ” DO NOT avoid alcohol!
“Asking for low-fat or vegetarian options also means you …. can use the toilets before a queue forms,” That’s AFTER climbing over or past other passengers who are trying to eat. Fat also helps you sleep. Eat the beef woman.

9. “Get into soft comfortable clothes,” she says. Has she ever tried changing in a toilet on a plane?! That would be a great way to calm down and relax before sleeping – NOT! I suggest you wear comfortable clothes all the time while you’re on the plane. I guess Penny is like those Japanese women I see wearing cocktail dresses and high-heels on long-haul flights. Mad, bad and dangerous to know, especially when the ankles and feet start to swell up.

I agree with the stretching part, but I try to do that at regular intervals on a long flight – especially if I can’t sleep or wake up abruptly. The cabin crew seating area near the emergency exits or the open space near the toilets is a good place I find. Usually there are a couple of other co-stretchees there to share the space and time with. Einstein would be proud.

10. “You’ve won!” What? A lot of pissed off airport staff and co-passengers? Penny concludes with ‘Selfish Female Traveller 101’ and I sign off with the simple advice; don’t follow hers!

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