How to Improve Comfort on Long Flights

With the advent of commercial flying, millions of people board planes around the world each day. Flights might be a hop from Boston to New York or a hop ‘over the pond’ from JFK to Heathrow.

Unless you fly in business or first class, you are going to be uncomfortable during the flight, no matter how long or short the flight is.

But the long flights, those seemingly interminable journeys through the atmosphere, they can often feel like the worst torture known to man. Short flights are fine; we can get through them because the end is almost immediately in sight.

Conversely, long flights, whether international or domestic, make us antsy and want to grow hulk-like proportions so that we can stretch out our physical space.

For your next long flight, try these techniques to make yourself more comfortable and thus avoid the need to turn into an angry, big green oaf.

1. Pack lightly

Today, airlines are charging for checked bags; this is causing much head and heartache for passengers. However, if you are going to check a bag and thus pay the fee anyway, put as much as you can in your checked bag so that your carry-on is lightweight and compact.

With a small carry-on, you can easily stuff it in the overhead bin and thus leave yourself more legroom. This is a huge part of being more comfortable.

So pack lightly to increase your comfort during that long flight.

2. Arrive early

You can be sure that arriving early is going to help you be more comfortable for your long flight. Here’s why:

*You can make it to the gate early and see if you can finagle better seating or get a cheap upgrade.

*You won’t be harried, hurried and sweaty. Thus you will feel fresher for the journey.

*Your mood will be better. Emotional state can absolutely affect physical comfort.

3. Plan ahead

If you plan ahead and get your tickets and seating assignments well in advance, you can usually choose your seats. If you can choose your seats, you can choose bulkhead or exit-row seating. These spaces have significantly more legroom.

4. Be a frequent flyer

Even if you don’t fly very often, it is in your best interest to become a member of every airline’s frequent flyer program. In fact, if you can get a credit card that will build miles for you, that’s extra gravy.

You see, if you have a nice bundle of miles, you can use them to upgrade to a more comfortable seat. So do what you can to let your spending and traveling work for you.

5. Move around

This is a well-known tip, but did you see a lot of people doing this during your last long flight?

Not likely.

But you know better, so you will stand, walk up and down the aisle a couple of times and stretch about every hour. In fact, this can be a helpful technique for making time go faster. Set your watch or phone to count down an hour and alert you so that you can get up and stretch your legs.

Doing this breaks the endless flight into manageable chunks and is of great psychological help.

And don’t forget it keeps your blood flowing and your body from getting too uncomfortable.

6. Dress appropriately.

For women and men, you need to wear clothes that:

*Do not ride up into uncomfortable areas.

*Don’t gather uncomfortably.

*Are not too heavy or restrictive.

*Make you feel comfortable.

You don’t have to look your best for long flights. Surely you’ve seen pictures of celebrities after a long journey; not even they are gussied up and that’s essentially their job!

7. Bring water.

Yes, you are not allowed to carry liquids through security. So carry an empty water bottle through security and fill it up at a fountain. Alternatively, you can buy water once past security.

If you buy water, don’t get the stuff that has sodium added, because that will dry you out. Which brand you ask? It starts with ‘D’ and ends with ‘asani.’

Staying hydrated is vital to your health and comfort during a long journey. Plus, needing to use the bathroom gives you an excuse to get up and stretch your legs.

8. Chew gum.

Chewing gum does several things. It helps keep your ears popped. Chewing gum also gives your mouth something to do other than chewing on snacks.

9. Read a good book.

Unless your work is very engaging, you are not travelling alone, or you are a charming conversationalist, your long flight will seem endless without something to kill time.

Don’t bring a textbook or something dry to read. Make it engaging so that your attention can be fully drawn in.

10. Get a window seat.

If you want to sleep, keep your elbows unbruised, and don’t care to stick your foot into the aisle, get a window seat. The bulkhead wall provides a nice place to rest your noggin while sleeping and you can remain pretty much undisturbed if you wish when you are sitting at the window.

There you have them; ten tips for making that long flight more comfortable and manageable. Now you can plan that trip to Borneo.

About jaredgarrett

Jared Garrett is the author of Beat, a YA scifi thriller, and its forthcoming sequel, both published by Future House Publishing. A new series, debuting in January 2016 and also published by Future House, kicks off with Lakhoni, a fast-paced rescue adventure in a world reminiscent of Aztec culture, to be released in January 2016. He self-published Beyond the Cabin, a novelization of his childhood in a cult, in December 2014. Both Beat and Beyond the Cabin were Whitney Award nominees, and his story Song of the Wind, received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. In addition to writing, he's spent fifteen years in adult education and is an accomplished public speaker and workshop leader.
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