Molly Ringwald is perhaps the only former child actor whose career 180 meant entering the literary world. While her single digits were largely devoted to theater, as a teenager, in the 1980s, Ringwald starred in several decade-defining coming-of-age movies, including three John Hughes films: Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club.

Ringwald still acts—see the CW’s hit series Riverdale—but she’s turned much of her attention toward writing. She’s the author of two books—Getting the Pretty Back (2010) and When It Happens to You (2012)—an essayist, and a translator. Next week marks the publication of My Cousin Maria Schneider, Vanessa Schneider’s book about the Last Tango in Paris star, which Ringwald translated from the French.

Ringwald, who lives in New York, spends much of her time on airplanes. Here, she answers our questionnaire about what she packs, eats, and buys while traveling.

Last flight you took?
New York to Vancouver—a flight I take quite a bit since I’ve done Riverdale there for the past seven years.

Favorite airline?
Cathay Pacific used to have a flight from New York to Hong Kong that stopped in Vancouver, and it was beyond fantastic. They phased it out during Covid so I am personally pleading with them here to bring it back. Please!

What do you wear to the airport?
I dress in layers so that I’m covered if the plane is too hot or too cold.

How long before your flight boards do you get to the airport?
I stick to the rules since I hate missing flights and don’t want to risk my bags not flying with me.

Check bags, or carry-on only?
Always a carry-on, if possible.

What do you bring in your carry-on?
Clothing for at least a couple of days. My computer, books I’m reading, toiletries, hat, eye mask, whatever I bought that I didn’t need at duty-free.

T.S.A. PreCheck, or regular?
T.S.A. Global Entry, Clear … Whatever they offer, I get.

What do you buy in the airport terminal?
Generally, a big bottle of water since I was on a flight on Air Canada that ran out of water—which I didn’t even know was a thing.

What do you do while waiting to board?
Read or Duolingo. I study French and Italian.

Item you can’t fly without?
My two pairs of AirPods.

First class, business, or coach?
Who’s paying?

Window, middle, or aisle seat?
Window—unless I’m flying with one of my kids, in which case we argue about it and I lose and sit on the aisle. Never middle. No one wants to sit next to me if I have the middle.

How do you pass time on the plane?
Planes are actually a great place to write since you are trapped. If I’m really tired, I catch up on sleep. The sound is so terrible on the plane devices that I rarely watch films.

Do you buy Wi-Fi?
If available, yes. And I get absolutely enraged when it goes out, and it always does.

Do you eat plane food?
Reluctantly, yes. The best food I ever had on a plane was the keftedakia and tzatziki that my Greek mother-in-law made for my husband and me when we flew back to New York from Greece. We were so clearly (and rightly) despised by everyone sitting in our radius. I reeked of garlic for days after.

Best drink to get on a flight?
Obviously, water is best for you—but if they’re offering, I can’t say no to bubbles.

Do you talk to the people sitting next to you?

Keep shoes on or off?
Off, but I always bring an extra pair of thick warm socks.

What do you do when turbulence hits?
Mindful breathing.

Worst part of the flight?
When the [landing] is delayed, and they don’t have a gate and you have to circle or taxi.

First thing you do when the plane lands?
Check my e-mail and texts.

Advice for travelers?
Wear deodorant, don’t dress like a slob, and be nice to the flight attendants!

Molly Ringwald’s English translation of My Cousin Maria Schneider, by Vanessa Schneider, will be published on April 18 by Scribner