Last night was our tenth flight with Junebug in our arms, and over those ten flights we've learned a lot of tricks about flying that we'd like to share:

1. Never, never, never select two seats right next to each other on a three-seat-per-row aircraft. Always leave the middle seat empty. Those are the last ones that johnny-come-lately ticket buyers want. If the flight isn't full, there's a good chance the seat will stay empty. Also, don't be tempted by the seats at the front of the plane. If you choose them, you increase the possibility of having between you and your spouse a fat Chinese man who insists on keeping a large, mysterious box under the seat in front of him, requiring him to "borrow" the area under the seat in front of YOU to put HIS feet when he falls asleep. Always offer to let said fat Chinese man have the window seat if he'll take it. They always do.

The back of the plane is the best. No one behind you to hear the crying! Last night, we did the "empty seat in the middle" thing in the last row and it stayed open while the rest of the plane filled up. Funny how having one empty seat in your row can make you feel like a Raj in his palace compared to those stuffed three in a row like untouchables in a Calcutta slum.

If the plane is full, you're fucked.

2. Get on the plane last. Who are all those masochistic vultures hovering around the gate just waiting for their row to get called so they can get on the plane and sit in misery while the rest of us get on? Generally I find people in airports to be pretty logical with their selfishness, but this makes no sense. With a squirmy baby in tow, I don't get on the plane until they're about to drag my ass down the jetway.

3. There are times to respectfully acknowledge that no one else in the world gives a crap about how hard it is to juggle your parenting responsibilities and there are times to act like a totally self-righteous prick. Airports and airplanes are theaters of human misery, nothing more. No one is really happy. No one expects you to be anything but a selfish jerk, so why dissapoint them? Don't bother with politeness and courtesy, particularly if you are flying Southwest Airlines, which long ago instituted a "survival-of-the-fittest" approach for general boarding, meaning no seats are assigned and it's first come, first served (though three "classes" of passenger board one at a time, with your class assigned based on how early you checked in). A remarkable exception to Southwest's policy are people with "issues": the handicapped, the elderly, and PARENTS with small children. That's right: Parents get to board first. Do not hesitate to shove an old lady out of a way or walk faster down the jetway than the guy dragging his oxygen tank. Your goal is to get on that plane first to grab the bulkhead seats up front. Sit with an empty seat between you and your partner, and put the child in the middle seat as though it were an unaccompanied minor. Ignore the baby while it cries. Costumes may also be in order. Women should wear muslim head scarves if they really want to avoid sitting next to a pharmaceutical salesman from New Jersey. Get one for the baby, too, for effect. Breastfeeding, for some reason, makes a vast majority of the American populace uncomfortable. A woman in a burqa breastfeeding a baby will make EVERYONE uncomfortable. Men, dress as though you have nothing to do with the kid. Wear a Haggar suit with a soupstained tie and read USA Today, coughing loud wet coughs every time a new passenger emerges from the jetway. In a pinch, simply wearing a bowtie might work. No one wants to sit next to a guy wearing a bowtie.

Remember how when riding your elementary school bus, you would avoid making eye contact with the kid with the two gigantic hearing aids and the tick problem when he got on the bus and you had a empty seat next to you? Just pretend that everyone getting on the plane has two gigantic hearing aids and that tick problem.

4. There is no better sound than hearing the aircraft door shut with an empty seat between you and your partner holding the baby. Remove burqas and bowties, stretch out and enjoy yourself. We call this Dutch first class.

5. Make friends with the stewardess. Make sure she gets plenty of the face time with the baby before the plane takes off. If you order a beer, she may bring you an extra one later because the kid is so darn cute. And that brings us to getting drunk. We highly recommend it.

6. When your baby is screaming and there seems like nothing you can do and the guy who looks like Donald Rumsfeld in the next row is scowling and shaking his head, remember that half the people on the plane have probably gone through it themselves and the other half are probably fucking assholes anyway.

7. Be prepared for the pilot to drunkenly announce halfway through the flight that you just flew over the world's biggest ball of twine or those on the left side of the plane can look down and see what Canyonlands National Park looks like from 38,000 feet (rocks). This announcement will wake your child. There is nothing you can do. I always find it disconcerting, with all the aviation technology onboard that's supposed to keep us safe, how all the airlines keep the same P.A. system in their 737s that Arby's saw fit to replace in its drive-thru windows during the Nixon Administration.

8. If you have an irrational fear of flying (like me), don't show your baby the various charms and amulets you keep in your hands while chanting during take off and landing. She will want to chew them.

9. If the guy in front of you reclines his seat the whole way, let your baby stand on the tray table and play with his hair. That'll teach him.

10. Don't sweat it too much. Babies want to sleep just as much when they're circumnavigating the skies as they do in their cribs. Just figure out a creative way to get them to that place in limited space. If all else fails, breastfeeding combined with a scrupulous application of Rule #5 (above) works wonders.