How to Fly in Comfort
You don’t often hear the words comfort and economy-class flights together, do you? The seats are narrow, the legroom, well, what legroom? And the temperature of the fan blowing at you from above could easily be below zero. But that’s not all. Free water was yesterday, a stale sandwich costs half a fortune, and you’re wedged between an over-excited toddler and an exhausted mum. Whether long or short, flights can be tedious. With the right kind of preparation (and attitude), however, being stuck on a plane can also be an inspiring, relaxing and enjoyable experience. Read on to find out my top 7 tips to make your journey as fantastic as it should be.
1. Carry Less
There is always that one person hopelessly trying to cram his oversized bag into the already-overflowing overhead lockers to then only get up 10 minutes later searching for the quintessential in-flight supply of a neck-pillow, five books, a laptop and an iPad – just in case. Don’t be that person. First, choose a light-weight bag or carry-on suitcase which you can easily lift and manoeuvre around the aircraft. Second, fill it with essentials only. For instance, be sure to pack an extra set of clothing, your go-to toiletries and any valuables (such as jewellery and tech items) you can’t go without.
2. Combine Comfort & Style, Because You Can
Spending a long-haul flight in your suit or skinny jeans and boots may not be the best idea. Ideally, you’d step on the plane wearing a comfortable outfit you are happy to sleep and walk around the airport in. Choose fabrics such as cotton, fine wool or linen, loose and simple cuts and wear lots of thin layers (check out this post for some ideas). Alternatively, pack your pyjamas and get changed on the plane. Shortly before touchdown, freshen up and swap your track pants for something that’s more suited to the climate of your destination, whether that’s shorts and sandals or boots and a knit.
3. Choose Your Seat Wisely
A window-seat will give you more space to relax without falling asleep on your neighbour’s shoulder. If you weren’t able to pre-book your seat, ask for one by a window up front at your check-in. If you are flying during low-season or on weekdays, be sure to scan the back rows for some empty seats, and once you are up in the air, kindly ask to swap. What you don’t want is a seat in front of a wall (i.e. toilet), which you will not be able to A) recline and B) relax in considering the amount of people passing by.
4. Stay Hydrated – Inside + Out
Staying hydrated is more important than ever at 45,000ft in the air. Bring along an empty water bottle and find a water fountain after you have gone through security. Since your body is trying to shift from one time-zone to another while trying to fight the dry cabin air, look after it and drink more water than you usually do. Have a moisturiser and lip balm handy to avoid chapped lips and dry skin. Eye-drops will help combat dry and puffy eyes. A leave-in conditioner in your hair will leave you to be the only one with a good hair day stepping off a long-haul flight.
5. If in Doubt, Bring Your Own Food
Good food will at least triple your in-flight comfort levels. Depending on the airline and your dietary requirements, consider packing some nutrient-packed, flavoursome homemade snacks, such as raw fruit or vegetable, biscuits, granola bars or bliss balls, crackers, nuts or a slice of freshly baked bread, and, of course, some chocolate for dessert. However, carrying liquid foods or taking any food into a new country is going to make your customs check a whole lot more awkward, so don’t do it. If you are into herbal tea, bring a couple of tea bags and (almost) feel like you’re at home sipping your tea before you go to sleep.
6. Pack Noise Cancelling Headphones
Whether all you want to do is binge-watch Games of Thrones or have a nap, noise cancelling headphones will get rid of any ambient noise and let you zone out as soon as you’re ready. Trying to close your eyes next to a teething 6-months old is a nearly impossible task, so prepare for the worst, pack some earplugs and, if possible, invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
7. Keep Warm
We’re nearly there. You’re wearing comfy clothes, you feel super hydrated, you’ve had a fantastic meal, and you even scored a couple of empty seats down the back of the cabin. Now, all you need to do is to keep warm. Reach for the extra scarf and pair of thick socks you packed earlier today and get cosy. It’s about time to drift off to sleep and get excited for the adventure awaiting you once you touch the ground.
What are your go-to in-flight tips to make your journey that little bit more comfortable?