Some of you believe that air travel is a great thing. For the rest of us, flying is like death. And like death, air travel shares the same five stages of mourning. Denial comes first: “God I hope this flight won’t suck.” We convince ourselves that it will be different this time: “The airport shouldn’t be bat-shit crazy that day. The plane will be on time. No one else will be going there this time of year. Maybe I will just sleep through the whole thing.”

Next comes anger. Upon arriving at the airport, you have two options: find your way through the impossible rope maze to a ticket counter or stand behind the idiot who can’t figure out how to use the e-check computer. Take note, these are the same people you get stuck behind at the ATM or in the self-checkout line at the grocery store. Their purpose in life is to nullify whatever conveniences are offered to the public. Do your best not to kill them.

After 30 minutes, you have your ticket and it’s time to head for security. This part reminds me of the tests at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: only those with liquids in containers smaller than 3 ounces may pass! Good thing we have to put them all in one plastic bag. If anyone had gotten through with some sort of bomb, I’m sure that a thin layer of plastic will protect us all. If that won’t save me, I bet X-raying my shoes will.

So you are through security and are tired of looking at overpriced crap at the “duty-free” store”¦ get on that plane! Bargaining begins right away. “If only I had checked in sooner, I wouldn’t be sitting in the last row next to the bathroom. Maybe I can convince someone to switch with me.” These thoughts only grow in your head as you are paraded like a freak on a leash for the amusement of first class.

Bargaining moves quickly to depression once you find your seat. At first glance, it appears that no adult human could possibly fit in there. I am convinced that all plane cabins were designed in the 1800’s when the average height was 5-foot-3. Once you Tetris your way onto your modified flotation device, you can meet and greet your new neighbor! If you are lucky, this person will be either crazy, smelly, noisy, fat or some combination of all four.

Now, noisy and smelly are never good. If you fall into these categories, please keep this in mind: you do not need to compete with the plane. It is already far noisier than anyone wants it to be and it smells like old nuts and steamed hamburgers (just like you!). Oh, and one more thing: stop shitting on the plane! Take care of that business in the airport, you sick-o.

Crazy can go either way. There is funny-crazy and scary-crazy. It can be a fine line, but usually the former provides for a memorable experience with potential for a hilarious story, while the latter leads to nightmares and serious paranoia (scary-crazy is apparently contagious). Funny-crazy will tell you stories about his trip and will serve as a human garbage disposal for your unwanted airplane food. Scary-crazy will have you reconsidering your feelings on shoe X-rays.

Much like crazy, fat can be a good thing; it’s all in how you look at it. Sure, you are about to be squished into a tight corner by a large pile of flesh and you can forget about using that armrest, but think of the potential. You are sitting next to a living body pillow! Next time your seat neighbor is a person of super-sized proportions, get your lean on! Cuddle up in there”¦ it’s so soft! Chances are, they won’t even notice and you will get that sleep you wanted.

The flight is over. The landing almost killed you, your bags are missing and you feel greasy from recycled air, but you made it. You should be upset, but you aren’t because you have entered the last stage: acceptance. The cycle is complete and ready to reset for your return voyage. Enjoy the trip; after all, you know what you’re in for in a few days.