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NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS

At least the mood can soar

Trapped on the tarmac by winter's wrath? These 10 tongue-in-cheek tips may show any planeful can be a party.

February 18, 2007|Chris Erskine | Times Staff Writer

CALL it the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Wednesday's blizzard, which swept from the Midwest to the Northeast, canceled hundreds of flights and left travelers stranded for up to 10 hours aboard their planes as crews worked to de-ice aircraft and clear runways. In fact, runway-sitting has become the national pastime this winter.

What's a seasoned traveler to do? Well, as someone once noted, "Laughter is an instant vacation."

Here are 10 out-there ways to keep yourself amused if you get stuck on a tarmac.

Individual results may vary.

1. Start up a conversation with a stranger sitting next to you. Possible ice breakers include:

a) You know, on Mars this never really happens.

b) Hey, that's a nice wig you're wearing.

c) In Attica, they'd never put up with this.

d) Wanna see my birthmark?

2. Write a phony last will and testament: "My name is _______. If I die here today, right here on this tarmac, I would like to leave all my material assets, including my Bentley and government bonds, to the hottie sitting in seat ___." Fold the paper 100 times and ask the flight attendant to deliver it to the hottie.

3. Play "Name That Body Odor." Rank them from 1 to 10. Give out small cash prizes. Ask the winners to stand.

4. Form a pool on when your plane might eventually take off. When someone asks how the pot will be split, tell them, "Winter takes all." Hint: Like an opening line, it's all in the delivery.

5. Tell everyone you're a talent coordinator for "American Idol." Scratch your chin and say, "Hmmm, wouldn't it be crazy if the next champion were sitting right here on this airplane?" Hold tryouts. Accept bribes.

6. To lighten the mood, wrap the seat belt round and round your wrist and yell: "ANYBODY HERE LOSE A SNAKE?"

7. Jam six volunteers into the tiny lavatory. Play "Tarmac Twister." Right foot, sink. Left hand, door ...

8. Stuff something in your blouse (probably not the flotation device). Tell the flight attendant, "You know, when I got on this plane, I wasn't even pregnant."

9. Use the time productively. Organize your wallet. Clean your eyeglasses. Braid your tummy hair.

10. Act like an adult, exhibiting patience and saint-like understanding. These days, stuff like that can really mess with people's minds.

chris.erskine@latimes.com

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