Nobody likes flying. We all love the excitement of traveling, but most sane people hate the actual flight. And for good reason. The airline industry sucks balls. Most planes are outdated, low-tech germ cans that were built to accommodate people the size of Willow. If you like cleanliness, modern technology, edible food or leg room, flying is a big pain in the ass. But with the right attitude and a few helpful tips, you can make your next plane ride less painful. Here are nine ways to make airplane travel suck less:

Drink Before, During and Potentially After Your Flight

Scotch makes airplanes better. It really does. Beer works for some people, but if you have the bladder of a small child, it’s just not a good idea. Liquor is quicker and it’ll keep you in your seat. Pay the outrageous fee for an in-flight head change.

Buy the WiFi

Why the hell isn’t WiFi free in every airport and airplane in the country? If coffee shops can provide you with free Internet access, shouldn’t the airline industry do the same? Sadly, like everything else these days, airlines charge you extra for web access. Splurge for this expense. It’s totally worth it. Don’t get stuck squinting to see the shitty in-flight movie. Forget about the Skymall mag, too. Pay whatever king’s ransom they’re charging for WiFi and boost your ability to stay sane during a long flight.

Own the Armrest

No matter where you sit on an airplane, stake your claim to the armrest early. Establish your elbow dominance as soon as you take your seat. Get big, box out your neighbor and own it for the whole flight. If you snooze, wait for the right opportunity and pounce that elbow back in there. Never give up. Never surrender. Hold the line like your life depended on it.

Spring for a Bottle of Water at the Gate

Nothing’s worse than having cotton mouth on a plane. Sure, the sky waitress will bring you a beverage when you hit the right altitude. But you need some liquids to get you through that first half hour or so of non-service.

Be Nice to Airline Employees

You think flying is a big inconvenience for you? Imagine if that shit was your job. Folks who work in the airline industry have to deal with stressed, uncomfortable and annoyed people every single day. They see people at their worst, so be nice to them. You’d be surprised how far a couple of extra smiles and thank yous can take you. I once got two free mini bottles of Johnny Walker from a flight attendant just for being the least douchiest person in my row.

Wear Shorts

It’s rare to find yourself on a plane and think, man, it’s freezing in here. It can happen, yea, but the more likely scenario is you sitting in a cramped seat with a bad case of the schweaty balls. Do yourself a favor and wear shorts on your next flight. If it get’s cold, you can always reach for a jacket or blanket. It’s not like you can air out your junk when things get extra toasty. Leave the air on, too. A little air circulation never hurt anybody.

Bring Snacks

Gone are the days of endless peanuts and complimentary in-flight snacks. Airlines make you pay for everything, and nine times out of ten, the soggy sandwich or questionable cheese & cracker combo or whatever overpriced snack option their pushing just isn’t worth it. If your famished, you’ll pay any price for airplane food, but you’re going to feel dirty about it afterward. You’re going to feel used. So stash some granola bars in your bag and schedule some time to snack it up before you board.

Don’t Smell

Sounds simple, right? And yet so many people insist on traveling extra ripe all the time. Don’t be one of those people. If you can’t figure out where the stank is coming from, it’s probably coming from you. Do the whole bathing/deodorizing/clean hair/clean socks thing. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Zen Out

Whatever it is you do to get to your happy place, make sure you can reach that state of mind on a plane. Get into breathing exercises, put some Enya on your iPod, pack a photo of a loved one or a favorite location. However you get there, the ability to zen out hard is a critical carry-on. With the right preparation, you can block out anything – chair kickers, coughers, aggressive screaming babies, loud white girls – you name it. Learn how to transform yourself into a zen master at will and nothing will get under your skin.

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