How to Improve Your Airline Flight Experience

I understand the journey is supposed to be as important as the destination, but I am not certain that aphorism applies to airline travel, especially in coach seating. There’s that kid just behind you foot-kicking your seat like a base drum, and the overly-talkative fellow right next to you who wants to explain pickleball. An unexpected tarmac delay can keep you in the airplane for far longer than you had hoped. The airplane is no doubt a wondrous invention, but, let’s face it, stepping onboard a flight is a throw of the dice when it comes to comfort.  

Here are a few ideas to ease the pain as you take to the air and possibly make your journey a bit more pleasant. 

Think Ahead and Plan for Comfort
Yes, you want to be presentable at all times, properly attired, and looking good. While maintaining your sense of style remember you will be sitting for extended periods in those pants, jacket, and shoes. You don’t want to dress like a slob but consider the need to move easily and freely without undue restraint or constriction. 

Also, remember to layer!  Air-conditioning on an airplane can be chilly. If your destination is warm, you want to be prepared in advance for the temperature change upon arrival. A sweater that can be easily stowed in your backpack upon arrival is a welcome fashion accessory! 

Set Yourself Up to Relax
Regardless of the length of the flight, take along a sleep mask and ear plugs at the very least. Consider a travel pillow for overnight flights. These items can serve the dual purposes of assisting you in your efforts to sleep and (bonus!) can ward off a talkative neighbor even if you are not sleepy. The earplugs can also help guard against the battle-cry of the baby in the seat two rows behind you.

Pack a snack
A favorite healthy food item in your briefcase or backpack is no small treat. Most flights serve water (see the next tip), but not having to wait on the food cart is both an answered prayer and will help you to relax at the snail-like pace of the flight attendants. You might also save some money!

Stay hydrated!
It is very easy to become dehydrated on a flight. The rapid exchange of air on airplanes means there is a drying effect, plus the lessened blood flow at altitudes means your body will crave water. Go ahead and have that vodka tonic if you must (alcohol is also dehydrating), but precede it with a glass of water. Consider moisturizer for your skin, lip balm, and apply them more than once on long flights.

Entertain yourself
Music relaxes, so bring your music player and headphones. Dive deep into your own world of favorite tunes, yoga meditations, or Gregorian chants whenever you feel the need to relax or avoid conversations. Those earbuds say, definitively, “I am not available for chatting!