The Goldman Sachs Elevator Guide To Flying Like A Boss

Check in early. Stay hydrated. Bring hand sanitizer. Consolidate credit card and hotel points.

Thanks Condé Nast or USA Today; should I be taking notes? The only thing missing are the words ‘life hack.’

Simply put, there’s nothing glamorous or exciting about commercial air travel, especially domestically in the US. Although sitting between a Lager Lout and a ginger Scouse on an EasyJet flight from Luton Airport to Barcelona is hardly any better — except that you end up in Barcelona, instead of in Cleveland.

So I thought I’d share with you the accumulated wisdom of my years spent traversing the globe — a definitive guide to make air travel palatable for you and those around you:

  • Don’t fly an airline where your checked bags might cost more than your seat.
  • No first class selfies.
  • Only use Frequent Flyer miles for upgrades or international flights. Using 60,000 miles to get to Philly is like throwing a bag of kittens in a river.
  • If they have Wi-Fi, don’t use it. You’ll end up doing exactly what you do at your desk. Watch a movie. Read a book. Tune out and shut off.
  • If you have checked baggage, when you land, stop at a bar and have a drink on your way to baggage claim.
  • Unless you are flying first class international, never eat the food, period.
  • If the flight is less than four hours and you have to relieve your bowels, then you are an idiot.
  • If you get stuck with a middle seat, take the next flight.
  • If you are afraid of flying, listen to Britney Spears on takeoff. You’ll be fine; no one is destined to die like that.
  • Pre-gaming with Bloody Mary’s sounds awesome, but the sodium is a killer at high altitude.
  • Be nice to the stewardess; she got drunk and passed out at the Midway Hotel in Newark last night.
  • Take advantage of the #1 rule of air travel: no matter what time it is, it’s always acceptable to drink.
  • If there is a male steward, always keep your seat belt buckled. You don’t want him with his hands in your lap when you are passed out before landing.
  • I already have enough friends, don’t f*cking talk to me. And I don’t want your business card either.
  • Unless it’s to a remote island, the word “Connection” should not appear on your itinerary.
  • Have the stewardess fill up the water glass with wine too, or just ask her for two glasses. You’ll be doing her a favour.
  • Never drive yourself to the airport when your flight is over two hours. Odds are, you’ll be getting off the return flight smashed.
  • When flying internationally, befriend one of the male stewards. They know the best clubs and how to get drugs.
  • When you squeeze by me, don’t give me “the arse” or “the crotch”; just don’t get up. If you must, allow me time to move into the aisle to make way for you.
  • Louis Vuitton in Economy class. No matter how you look at it, your priorities are screwed up.
  • The easiest way to figure out if a girl is marriage material is if she brings a hair dryer in her suitcase. You know she’s never seen the inside of a Four Seasons.
  • Don’t ever Facebook check-in at a lounge. Willy Loman would get lounge access today.
  • Sorry HTO, ACK, and MVY, if it’s got propellers, it doesn’t count as a private plane.
  • Spare change should never be the reason for holding up the security line.
  • The exit row is first class for poor people.
  • No one knows this, but if you wear dark, pleated, and cuffed slacks with a golf shirt, you drink for free. (There can be no other explanation for this airport fashion phenomenon.)
  • Don’t ask me to switch seats with you, unless you are offering me a better seat.
  • Don’t leave home without your (prescription) Ciprofloxacin… and Ambien, Xanax, and Klonopin.

John LeFevre is the creator of the @GSElevator Twitter feed and the author of the soon-to-be-released Straight To Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals. 

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