Probably the worst thing about traveling are the flights to get there. It is rare that you find someone who actually enjoys flying. Over the many years I have been traveling, I have learned to tolerate it. These are my tips and tricks to help you with your next flight.
- The biggest tip that I have is if you can afford it or if you have the extra miles, UPGRADE. I do fly economy a lot, but even just premium economy with the extra leg room is worth it on these long flights.
- Choose your seat wisely. If you are traveling with another person, try to book with an empty middle seat in between. You will a lot of times get an empty seat, unless the flight is full. Just ask to switch with whoever ends up sitting in the middle. (No one likes the middle seat!)
- If you know you are going to sleep the entire flight, go for the window seat. If you are going to stay awake, go for the aisle seat.
- Use SeatGuru to help you pick a seat.
Before you Board:
- Make sure all your devices are charged. It is never fun to realize as you are boarding your flight that your phone or computer battery is near empty.
- Have movies or books downloaded to your devices. Some airline carriers will provide entertainment, but it is no longer a guarantee. There are some airlines that now have an app that allows you access to in-flight entertainment, but you have to download the app before you fly.
- If you have young children, have a binder full of activities for them to do on the flight.
- Bring only what you need for the flight. If you can go without having anything at your feet, you will have much more leg room.
- Wear comfortable clothing. I tend to wear a hoodie or something so that I can cover my eyes to sleep. Dressing in layers also helps. I have been on planes where most people are sweating and others where it is freezing cold.
- Bring snacks. You never know what they are serving on the plane and if it is edible. It’s always a good idea to have snacks as a backup. I personally always bring a bottle of water on the plane, that way I don’t have to wait for the flight attendants to bring me something to drink. If your feet tend to swell, limit your salt intake.
While on the Plane:
- Clean your area. This is going to be your space for the foreseeable future. The seats and table have not been sanitized and you don’t know if the person before you was using it as a foot rest. Best thing to do is just sanitize your area right when you sit down. You don’t want to risk getting sick before your trip even starts.
- Don’t dehydrate yourself. Being up in the air itself can cause you to get dehydrated plus people don’t want to drink a lot and have to use the restroom. This can be especially dangerous for elderly or people with medical problems. Just suck it up and use the restrooms.
- Get up and walk the aisles at least every few hours. Sitting for >5hrs is not comfortable and increases your risk of getting blood clots. I make it a habit that every 2 hours, whether I’m sleeping or not, I get up and at least stand. It’s also a great time to use the bathroom should you need it.
- Make sure to bring airplugs or headphones if you are trying to sleep on the flight. It would also be a good idea to pack a pillow if you have the space as well.
- If you are planning on sleeping during the flight, make sure your valuables are either on you or securely locked in your carry on.
- Make sure your fastened seat belt is visible over any clothing or blanket, that way the flight attendant does not need to wake you up to check.
The DONT's of long flights
This should all just be common sense, but at least once on every one of my international flights I have had someone do at least one of these things. Please be respectful of your fellow travelers, you will be having to put up with them for countless hours.
- Having lotion to help moisturize is great, however there are many people have allergies to scents. Please bring one that is unscented. Leave the scented ones for when you land.
- Space is already limited on these flights. Don’t be the person who lays their seat back right after take off and doesn’t put it up until landing. There is no way the person behind you can even eat their meal, with your seat back. You would think this was common sense, but I have had someone even decline to put their seat up when requested by the flight attendant so the person behind could eat their meal.
- Speaking of space, if you do have 2 carry ons, put one by your feet. If, after everyone has boarded, there is still space in the overhead compartment, then put your additional carry on there.
- Last of all, do NOT use the arm rest or head rest of the chair in front of you to rest your feet. This room belongs to the person in front of you and they should not have to worry about your feet touching their hair or arm. This may seem like an odd one, but believe me it has happened several times.
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What other tips do you have for fellow travelers?