Flying in economy seating can be a drag, especially on tinier airplanes where leg room is at a premium. But just because you’re confined to your seat, it doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. Some basic tricks will help ease you through your trip.
1. DRESS STRATEGICALLY.
Layers are key to flying comfortably. You never know how hot or cold it’s going to be on the plane, so wear clothing that can easily be removed. Soft, breathable clothing like sweatshirts and cotton t-shirts will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable. Avoid wool, tight fitting clothes, or scratchy tags. There’s nothing worse than feeling itchy while stuck in a small space.
2. WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES.
Stay away from high heels or clunky boots when flying. You want shoes that are not only comfortable, but can slip on and off easily so you can get through security without a hitch. Once on the plane, take those shoes off. Feet tend to swell on flights, so wear socks or bring a pair of slippers so your feet can breathe.
3. BRING EARPLUGS.
Tune out crying babies and chatty passengers with a good pair of earplugs. With your newfound silence, naptime can finally become a reality.
4. PACK A LIGHT SNACK.
A small healthy snack will make for a good pick-me-up while flying. Consider baby carrots, trail mix, fruit, or something else that can be easily kept in a plastic baggy. Try to avoid anything greasy that could make you lethargic. Also keep any pungent foods at home: Your neighbors will thank you.
5. CHECK IN EARLY.
Cross one stress off your list by checking in early. By checking in online before you head to the airport, you’ll save some time waiting in line and will also be able to pick your seat ahead of time.
6. PICK THE RIGHT SEAT.
Everyone has their own preference on where to sit, but that doesn’t mean all seats are equal. Taller flyers would be wise to grab an aisle seat, where it’s easier to spread out, while nappers might want a window seat, so they’re not disturbed by neighbors who need to use the restroom. All passengers, however, should try to grab a seat closer to the front of the plane—the back is plagued by the engine noise and bathroom smell.
Skip the coffee or soda and go for water. The caffeine and sugar will just lead to a crash leaving you more tired and dried out than before. Additionally, the air inside the cabin is notoriously dry: Humidity levels are typically around 10 to 20 percent, compared to a typical room’s 30 to 65 percent. This dries out your eyes and skin, leaving you itchy and uncomfortable. Don’t be shy about asking the flight attendants for more water!
8. EMPTY YOUR POCKETS.
When trying to settle into your seat, the last thing you need is stuff poking you in your side. Unload the contents of your pockets into the seat pocket in front of you for a smoother ride. If you’re worried you’ll forget your possessions, bring a small bag to store them in.
9. LISTEN TO A RELAXING MIX.
Decide on an airplane playlist before boarding and load up your smartphone or mp3 player. Calm music or a sleep-inducing podcast will help you zone out and feel more at home while flying. For shorter flights, it can be fun to create a playlist of pump-up music to get you in the vacation mindset—some people like to choose music that directly relates to the city they’re going to visit.
10. UTILIZE THE PILLOW AND BLANKET.
Most airlines will provide you with a pillow and blanket for longer flights, so you might as well use them! But it’s smart to bring a neck pillow or sweatshirt you can roll up to rest your head, just in case a pillow isn’t available.
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