airplane in sky - fly more comfortably

With the cramped seating arrangements in today’s airplanes, and especially in those smaller commuter planes, flying economy class can be a real pain.  It is the way to save money on your travel although the trip may be somewhat uncomfortable.  Here is a list of some of my basic tips to help make your voyage a bit more bearable so you can fly more comfortably.

Clothes

What you wear can make a big difference in your comfort during the flight.  Wearing layers is one way to be prepared since you never know whether it will be hot or cold, or even both, during the trip.  By wearing clothing in layers that can be easily removed or added on as needed you can adjust as necessary.  Soft and breathable clothes such as cotton tee-shirts or sweatshirts will help keep you comfortable.  I always avoid wearing wool or anything that is uncomfortably tight or has irritating tags.  Some of my wool clothing causes me to itch after a while—not an issue to deal with on a long flight.

Shoes

Keep it comfortable for flying and make sure they are appropriate for walking.  You will be doing a lot of walking.  Also, having footwear that can easily slip on and off makes for easier passage through the security areas.  Then, once you are in the air you can slip off the shoes since feet often swell a bit on flights.  Be sure to wear socks or have a pair of slippers handy.  This is not a time for heavy boots or high heels—keep them in your luggage if you must have them at your destination.

Ears

With inexpensive foam earplugs, you can easily block out those crying babies, noisy kids or chatty passengers.  The subdued quietness may even let you catch a nap along the way.  Since I love to travel I always carry the foam earplugs.  However, one of the best travel gadgets I have is a set of noise cancellation earphones that I use most of the time.  They cut out the jet engine noise, subdue the surrounding sounds and allow me to listen to my favorite tunes along the way.  Either way, cutting out the surrounding noise will help you fly more comfortably.

Food

A good healthy snack pays big dividends while flying.  By packing your own, you can choose the combination that works best for you.  Maybe it’s veggies, or trail mix (one of my favorites), fruit or any other item that can easily be stowed in a sealable baggie and pulled out when you need a bit of nourishment to lift your energy level.  Stay away from heavy, greasy foods that will zap your energy levels. 

Check-In

Be sure to check in early.  Check-in at home or at your hotel or office before you head to the airport to avoid time waiting in line and to get your seat assigned ahead of time.  By checking in early with some of the discount airlines you also save the extra fee they charge for airport check-in services.

Seating

All seats are not equal and we all have our individual seating preferences.  I prefer an aisle seat where it is easier to stretch out or to get up and stretch my legs during the flight without bothering other passengers.  Some like the window seat for a quiet ride or the window view.  Not too many people are happy with a middle seat although sometimes that is all that is available. 

Drink

Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.  I always bring my own water bottle (empty through security, then filled up before boarding) for a plentiful water supply during the flight.  Skip the coffee and sugar which will cause a sugar crash leaving you more tired and dried out.  Also, the cabin air humidity is much lower than normal which will cause you to dry out, itch and get thirsty.  The flight attendants can provide water but it is never enough for me.  My own water bottle supply saves the day.

Pockets

The seats are small enough already.  The last thing you want are pockets filled with items that poke you in the legs as you settle in or cause you to be constantly adjusting them during the flight.  Empty those pockets into a small bag, or even into the seat pocket in front of you if you will not forget them when you land. 

Wipes

Bring individually wrapped disinfecting wipes with you.  I always fly more comfortably after wiping down all the surfaces in my seat area.  The tray table, the tray table lock, the seat belt buckle, the seat adjusting button, the armrests, even the seat pocket area, and any other surface.  These areas are touched by every passenger who has used the seat and are not disinfected by the service crews.