(Flying) Ciderhouse Rules

Before we took off on our recent Spring Break trip (coast-to-coast from Santa Monica, CA to Washington, DC) the boys each received two pages which told them the rules in the plane and suggested some things to do if they got bored. It worked remarkably well. Rather than fielding constant requests for Gameboy time we just occasionally checked in with the minute log and, on a few occasions, did the timing for them. Because they knew each flight included some playing time, they were less anxious about it, and also seemed to enjoy the non-playing time more.


[Part of our Spring Break 2009 Trip.]

When Can I Play my Gameboy or Watch a Movie?

  • The plane must be above 2,500 feet above the ground to use anything electronic. While we are climbing, enjoy the view. On the other end of a flight, once the pilot announces that you should prepare for arrival, all electronics must be turned off immediately. Now is the time to get your courier bag re-packed to exit the plane.
  • You can play Gameboy for one quarter of a leg. So if we are flying for an hour, you can play for fifteen minutes.
  • You must read for twenty minutes before you can play.
  • You must keep track of the time you play on the kneeboard notepad. Date, time, minutes, game played, and your name. You can’t stare at your seatmate’s Gameboy while they are playing. That’s like playing.
  • You cannot play more than twenty minutes in a row, you need to take a twenty minute break. (See below for some suggestions in case you are bored.)
  • You can watch a movie if you have read for twenty minutes and written a blog entry.

Argh, I am Bored in the Plane, What Should I do?

  • Read a book.
  • Listen to a book on your iPod.
  • Listen to some music on your iPod.
  • Ask for a channel on the XM radio, there are a lot of things to listen to.
  • Draw something.
  • Plan a Dungeons & Dragons campaign or come up with a mini-mystery.
  • Write a blog entry on your Sidekick.
  • Send someone a note from your Sidekick.
  • Play a game with your seat mate, perhaps with the graph paper or the wild animal cards in Dexter’s seat pocket.
  • Take a nap.
  • Draw some ideas for your perfect house, perfect room, or even perfect airplane.
  • Watch the landscape below, out your window. It’s an amazing country.
  • Watch a movie or television show.
  • Play with your Gameboy.

Some of these require agreement with your brother or other family members, that’s part of the trip.

About Colin Summers

I am an architect, programmer, private pilot, husband and father. A couple of those I am good at.
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