My friend Becca Grumet recently portrayed her flight home as a plane full of smiling people in a Simpsons-opening-perfect sky.

I. Think. Not. Air travel is an exercise in the willful torture of hapless civilians which manages, year after year, to escape the attention of the International Criminal Court.

Let us throw off the yoke-like neck pillow of tyranny, and hereby proclaim the revolution begun. Fight on, fellow Trojans, at check-in, on the plane, in security (quietly), and demand our basic human rights!

Our weapons, you ask? Laughter. Impossible on a flight, you say? A wise man once told me that even when they pull out your toenails, you can decide to have a good day. I’m not sure he ever flew coach, but the principle still holds. If we can smile for the body scan and chuckle through the turbulence, maybe we can, for once, “enjoy the flight.”

Arriving at the Airport

The trip from campus to LAX or any of the smaller airports is your first opportunity to improve your flight experience. Your best plan of attack depends on if you’re taking a shuttle or bumming a ride.

…Oh, wait. You have a car of your own that you can afford to leave at the airport? Or you can afford a nice limo?

Well, aren’t you special?

The rest of us have to dive out of our vehicles at the terminal drop-off zone, luggage in hand, so the horde of hungry, waiting cars doesn’t eat us.

If you get a ride from family or friends, top off the rushed goodbyes with little presents, especially around the holidays. Once you’re on your way and they’ve gone home (or at least stopped at a red light), they can get your goodbye hugs and kisses all wrapped up in a bow. Say, bacon-flavored coffee beans with a nice card, or perhaps a new stack of Post-It notes for your roommate.

If you have to cram into one of the miniature mobile nightmares that call themselves shuttles, game the system and go in a group. Oh, all your friends are on the football team? Well, aren’t you special? Try to get a ride in the private jumbo bus they take to their private jet so you don’t wind up as jelly in a muscle sandwich.

Start fighting the airplane atmosphere with a sing-along. Use cookies to buy the cooperation of Gloomy Gus, Gloomy Gertie, and the driver (most drivers are pretty gloomy) as you throw your voice out on something travel-ly. Bonus points: Sing something related to your destination. The Boston-bound are required to get through at least one rendition of “Love That Dirty Water” and “Shipping Up to Boston” before the ride is over.

We’re already having fun and we’re barely inside the terminal! Tune in for baggage decoupage and security insecurity in Part 2! Happy contrails!