Gary’s 20 Immutable Laws of Air Travel

As someone who puts on over 150,000 miles in the air each year and has elite status on all three major airline alliances, I’ve come to realize that there are certain things that will always happen when you fly. I have codified these into Gary’s 20 Immutable Laws of Air Travel.


1) The biggest person on the plane will probably sit next to you.

1a) If you are the biggest person on the plane, you will get the middle seat.

2) If you have only a short amount of time for a layover, your flight will almost certainly arrive late.

3) If the seat next to you is empty when they are about to close the door, the last person to enter the aircraft will be the person sitting next to you. Also, see #1.

4) If you are on the list for an upgrade and there are 4 seats available, you will be number 5 on the list.

5) If you have to transfer planes, your gate will be the one farthest away.

6) The person sitting in front of you will have their seat fully reclined the entire duration of the flight.

6a) The moment the person sitting in front of you does recline their seat you will have your tray table down and it will crush your chest.

7) If you pick the shortest passport line, the person at the front of the line will immediately spark some sort of incident that will require 30 minutes to resolve.

8) There will be no available electrical outlets at your gate.

9) The woman in front of you in the security line will try to go through the metal detector wearing all her jewelry and will require 4 trips through before she is cleared.

10) You will be chosen for additional screening.

11) Despite manufacturer’s claims, your tablet/smartphone/laptop/e-reader’s battery will not last the entire flight.

12) If you are not sitting in an aisle seat, the person sitting in the aisle seat will be sleeping if you want to go to the bathroom.

13) If you hope to sleep on the flight, there will be a screaming child within two rows of you.

14) Someone will have already half-completed the sudoku and crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine. What they did complete will be incorrect.

15) In a moment of weakness, you will think to yourself that you could actually use something in the SkyMall catalog.

16) When the in-flight meals come around, they will be out of whatever it was that you wanted.

17) If you have an entire row to yourself, the armrests will be the kind that doesn’t lift up preventing you from lying down.

18) The distance from your gate to the passport window will be measured in kilometers.

19) The plane will hit turbulence the moment you lock the bathroom door behind you.

20) If you have a window seat and are flying over some fascinating landmark like the Grand Canyon, it will be on the other side of the plane

6 Replies to “Gary’s 20 Immutable Laws of Air Travel”

  1. You forgot Space Invaders! ‘The guy sitting next to you will always race to get their entire arm on the armrest. If by some bizarre fortune you acquire armrest space, when you remove it for a second, it will be occupied on returning said elbow.’

  2. Yes, yes and yes. Flying with these issues are just something you have to accept as a frequent flyer!

  3. Love your humor, Gary!
    These keep happening to me quite frequently:
    7), 9), 12), 13), 17), 18)
    I’d add some more to your list:
    21) they delay, delay, delay the flight until they announce you 4 hours later that it was canceled!
    22) the inner (plastic or plexi) window is buzzing due to vibrations (on long flights, this can be exhausting)

  4. Brilliant list!!!
    My personal update to to rule 13…If you plan to sleepEither there will be a screaming child or you will be sitting next to the chattiest person in the universe.

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