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AISLE SEATS, LIGHT BAGS AND OMELETTES MAKE FLYING TOLERABLE

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Here are the Top Ten Ways to get the very most out of your summer plane trip:

10) Before boarding, eat a sandwich, a burger and fries, or at least some chips and a soft drink - unless it is in the morning. Then, if you're lucky, you will get breakfast on the flight.This is usually the culinary highlight of the trip. I like to order the omelette, which is usually pretty darned good. But when I changed planes and stayed on it for four-and-one-half hours, I got only peanuts and Sprite. I was one hungry little fellow at the end.

9) When you visit other airports, be sure to get directions straight to your next flight just as soon as you deplane. Otherwise, you may be lost forever in the airport. One of the scariest is Atlanta, where you usually have to take an escalator into the bowels of the airport and then board a very sophisticated but inhumane subway to the next terminal.

As people board the subway, the car starts to move and the doors simultaneously close HARD. A mechanized voice says, "Please avoid touching the doors. The doors will not stop closing when they come into contact with a human body!"

I guess they're trying to stop the subway cars from becoming overloaded. I didn't see anyone actually die, but a few people almost passed out, and several got zapped.

8) Buy a small, compact bag and one of those sweet little gizmos that carry it on wheels, so you don't break your back or develop tendinitis in the left leg.

Take only those articles of clothing and personal items you absolutely cannot live without. If you do, you can carry one small bag on the plane and not have to worry about losing your luggage.

7) Get a seat on the aisle. It keeps you from seeing the expansive view from the window, but you not only avoid claustrophobia, but you can get up when you want to and stride up and down the aisle, thus avoiding those nasty leg cramps.

6) Read newspapers at airports, read books on the plane. Newspapers are a big pain on planes. They are noisy, they get in the face of the passenger next to you, you have to keep folding them in bizarre ways, back and forth - and your hands quickly become a disaster that blackens everything they touch, including your shirt and face.

Do not take 3 or 4 books. Take only ONE book - and a small one at that. It will be easier to transport, and you might complete it instead of dabbling in several.

5) When the flight attendants give the safety instructions, remember it is cool to LISTEN. You may have to use them some day.

4) Leave your jacket at home. If you must bring it, avoid putting it in the overhead bin. Even if you put your bag in it, then carefully fold your jacket on top, some guy is sure to come along and shove his bag and jacket on top of it - and your jacket will turn into a crummy, wrinkled little wad.

3) When you arrive at your destination, sit and read some more while all the zealots leap up and get their bags, then stand in the aisle for 10 minutes while waiting for the doors to open.

2) Turn down the offer to rent headsets for the movie. It will always be a sports movie that you can easily figure out by lip reading or watching the action.

Airlines avoid showing engrossing movies, anyway, because passengers always have to look over food trays or other passengers - and scary movies, especially those about plane crashes, just stress you out.

1) When you leave the plane at your destination, smile broadly at the flight attendants and the pilots, and say, "The peanuts were great - and oh, yeah - thanks for all the swell leg room!"