How to be 50: How to Make Flying Fun

By Charlotte Latvala


As we approach 50, the thought of standing in line for three hours at airport security seems less and less appealing.

At our age, we just don’t have that kind of time to waste.

And yet, life often calls upon us to get on an airplane. Of course, everyone hates it. But you hate it more if you have memories of flying in the 1980s, when airline security consisted of a friendly nod, and you were presented with a hot meal and a pillow no matter how short the flight was.

Here’s how to make the waiting and the actual travel more bearable in middle age.

  • Be that zany adult with Pokemon or Disney stickers all over your luggage.

You’re never too old for Pikachu, are you? Well, yes, but don’t let that stop you.

  • Bring a cozy piece of home with you. An empty bottle of gin and a bathrobe slung over your arm makes an interesting conversation starter.
  • Adopt a new persona, complete with a jaunty hat and an accent you haven’t completely mastered.
croc dundee

G’day, Mate!

  • Announce that you are writing a novel, and anyone who gives you $10 “gets to be in it.”
  • Sing chestnuts from the turn of the century. Nothing breaks the tension with strangers like a rousing chorus of “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal.”
erie canal

Everybody now!

  • Involve small children in an energetic game of “Duck, Duck, TSA Agent.”
  • Carry a cane. Wave it erratically while wheezing and telling kids to get off your lawn.
  • On takeoff, perform loud, Lamaze-style breathing. When the airplane has reached a certain altitude, shout, “Now everyone: Push! Push! Push!”
  • Mid-flight, stand up and start belting “Defying Gravity” on your way to the restroom.
defying gravity

Would you prefer “Let it Go?”

  • Exclaim loudly over the wonders in the air mall magazine. Point each one out to your seatmate and ask “Can you even believe this exists?”
  • Make an origami animal out of your airline sickness bag.

He who knows origami never lacks for friends.

  • Matter-of-factly ask the flight attendant if she knows how long lice can live on a headrest, and then say, “Well, you may want to disinfect this one before the next flight.”
  • Ask for an exotic cocktail, and then act offended when the employees can’t deliver. Threaten to report them in a Yelp review.
moscow mules

You’re so much cooler than your fellow travelers.

  • When you exit the airplane, say, “Well, that was nothing like ‘Lost.’ Next time, I’m driving.”

lost plane




Filed under flying, humor, mid-life

3 responses to “How to be 50: How to Make Flying Fun

  1. I’ve never enjoyed flying, but I’m still not going to follow your suggestions. On my second ever flight (i.e. coming back from the holiday that necessitated the first flight) the plane was hit by lightning. They’re built to withstand that, obviously, but it’s a worry when there’s a loud bang and your plane falls a few hundred feet. It did help that the pilot announced very calmly that the plane had just been hit by lightning. Then there was a year when I flew to and from Germany a lot and I started to be more comfortable, until the emergency landing. No one was hurt, but getting off a plane in the middle of the runway at Gatwick with ambulances and fire engines hurtling towards you is not going to endear you to flying. And there is still no way something that big and that heavy should be able to fly.

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