There is a certain knack to travelling comfortably when flying. Air travel (especially in cattle class) can be a long, uncomfortable, claustrophobic, dehydrating and sometimes a socially awkward ordeal, however follow these simple travel mantras and your flight may actually be an enjoyable part of your trip.
What to wear?
Between over-heated airport terminals and ice cold air-conditioners on board your aircraft, it’s often difficult to plan what to wear as it needs to survive changes in temperature, the dreaded metal detectors and avoid that crumpled look whilst sleeping on the plane. I always find that layering is the way to go for dressing for air travel. Include something light for the warmer terminals and a warmer layer to keep you warm and comfortable on the plane. Avoid wearing metal e.g. clasps as it can set off the metal detectors on check in. Also avoid wearing belts or lace up boots as you may be asked to remove them before approaching the detectors (just ask Peter who was almost had his pants around his ankles after being asked to remove his belt and shoes at Gatwick airport in London!). I swear by either wearing or packing a Pashmina scarf or a jumper into my hand luggage to use as an extra layer, a blanket or rolled up as a pillow. Also slip on shoes are handy to slide on and off during the flight – especially when your feet begin to swell!
- Think ahead and pack entertainment into your hand luggage. Pack music (e.g. an iPod and a god pair of headphones), a magazine, a good book and/or a pen and note book.
- Choosing your seat in advance can help to ensure you end up getting your aisle/window seat at the back or front of the plane.
- Have your documentation on hand in your travel wallet, complete with boarding pass, passport and ID to ensure a fast and easy check in.
- Be early when checking in to avoid missing your flight (why does Peter spring to mind again?) and keep an eye on the time when wandering around the airport waiting to board your flight. There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as being personally called over the loud speaker to hurry to the departure gate and having to board an already seated aircraft.
What to pack in your carry on luggage
- Sunglasses – to hide dark circles as well as puffy and blood shot eyes from lack of sleep.
- Water – Buy the biggest bottle you can find in the departure gate (after you’ve been through security) to take on board and remember to drink lots. The cabin of an aircraft is very dehydrating!
- Warm Jumper or Pashmina/large scarf.
- Mints or sweets to chew during take-off and landing. The chewing and swallowing action helps to unblock your ears. Otherwise yawning can help too. My flying ritual in London always had to include a tin of Harrods mints.
- Lip balm and a small moisturiser for dry lips and skin.
- Your entertainment (book, mp3 player, etc)
- Limit alcohol consumption on board and pre-flight as it will only dehydrate you further.
- Please practice patience on landing and wait until the announcement before standing up and collecting your luggage from the over head compartment, otherwise it’s just rude and dangerous!
- Now this may be the Nurse in me talking but don’t forget about DVT prevention (preventing blood clots forming your leg or lungs while you are immobile). Exercise your legs and ankles at least every hour and take some deep breaths. It’s too easy to forget and sit stationary for 14 hours. Get up and walk to the toilet every couple of hours. Or do a bit of flying yoga (I do this on long haul flights to Peter’s embarrassment). I wait until most the plane is asleep or resting, then I head to the back of the plane or somewhere a bit out of the way (like near the exits) and do a bit of yoga and stretching. I swear by it!