Here are 10 easy-to-follow recommendations you can use to make your next air-travel more comfortable and stress frees.
1. Pack the day before
Pack the day before for a restful piece of mind. Packing the last minute or on the day of your travel is stressful and you’re more prone to forgetting something. On the day of travel, you have to pack only some last minute or additional items. Make sure your suitcase is in good condition as it will have to endure quite a lot of beating on its journey. Hard-shell suitcases tend to protect your belongings better then duffle bags which can got squashed.
2. Put essentials in carry-on
Travel documents including passports and IDs, personal small electronics, medications, even an extra sweater, pair of socks, underweare, tooth brush, small deodorant, and tissues are some of the essentials you’d like to have handy during your flight. Remember, any valuables also have to go with you and not in your checked-in luggage. Make sure you carry with you only items allowed to be taken on-board or you risk them to be confiscated at security checkpoints.
3. Early Check-in
Early check-in is the best, stress-free way to start your journey. It also allows you to check your travel reservation prior to your flight for any last minute changes that the airline missed to tell you.
Almost all airlines today will allow you to check-in online 24 hours prior to your flight. They’d even send you a reminder. So go ahead and take advantage of this opportunity. Checking-in online will make your pre-boarding experience more enjoyable. You don’t have to wait in line to check-in at the airport, especially so, if you travel light on a domestic flight with your carry-on only.
Traveling on an international or transcontinental flight will also allow you for an early check-in. During this process see if you can enter as much information as you can in your reservation such as passport and visa information, or emergency contact phone number and an email address where prompted or required. Entering some of that information in advance will speed up your personal identification verification which is required for in international travel.
Don’t warry if you have to check-in bags for the international flight. During the online check-in specify how many bags you want to check-in where prompted. On the next day at the airport just go to the airline checking-in counter and inquire for the bags drop-off location. Established international airlines have adopted this process. Make sure you take your luggage stabs from the airport staff who checks your bags in as the they are the only proof you have to claim your bags in case of being delayed or lost.
During the online check-in you may be prompted to pay for any additional services such as extra bags, meal choice, seat reservation, etc. Don’t forget to print and save receipts for every payment for service you make and carry them in your carry-on. In case of any disputes over services you paid for, you’ll have a prove handy.
Last but not least, you can opt in for your boarding pass to be emailed, sent via text message, or be printed. We recommend that for any digital form of saving the boarding pass you chose, have a copy saved on your personal computer or at another safe location. Best of yet, have a printed copy in your carry-on.
4. Get snacks and know the food
Airlines stopped offering free food on U.S. domestic flights long ago, and some of these flights can last from 3 to 5 hours. If you are not into airline food for purchase, your personal preference of snack will be your hunger quench. You can either buy it in advice or on the day of travel at the airport. Remember, airport prices are steep.
On transcontinental flights which often exceed 8 hours and last up to 13 to 14 hours the airline provides at least one full meal and a snack, including free drinks. If you have dietary restrictions, visit the airline website prior to your travel, open your booking and look for the options to specify what meal you’d like to be served. Make sure you do that at least several days before your flight. Full service airlines are good at offering variety of options to choose from such as vegetarian or vegan food or kosher meals. Of course, you can always call the airline the old fashion way and request a special meal.
5. Drinks: Do's and Dont's
Coffee: You should know that drinking coffee keeps you dehydrated and not being able to sleep. So coffee should be fine on short, up to several hours flights. However, if you’re flying for 10 hours straight - definitely not. Drinking any decaffeinated or herbal tea is better.
Water vs. Soft Drinks (Sodas): Drinking plain water is always best. It will keep you hydrated at all the times. Fruit juice with moderate content of sugar is also recommended. On the other hand, sodas are very popular among all ages. Remember, it may contain high fructose corn syrup and lots of sugar. Thus, avoide sodas, if you can on a long-haul flight as too much sugar may keep you away from sleep.
Alcohol: Keep it in moderation and don’t abuse it on-board. And even though some people like to have a glass of wine to make them fall asleep, alcohol acts as stimulant and can keep you awake for the first few hours of consumption. Alcohol also exacerbates the dehydration you're probably already experiencing. Drink too much of it and you can become a nuisance for the rest of the passengers. And if you become rowdy and out of control you can be arrested by law enforcement agencies upon arrival if the cabin crew deems necessary.
6. What to wear?: Dress in comfortable clothes
If you’re going on a business trip, for example, and don’t have time to change, wear what’s appropriate for the occasion. Otherwise, wear comfortable clothes that cover your body. Even though we have seen these vacationers wearing flip-flops, shorts, and T-shirts, it is always wise to weather long sleeved tops and jeans as temperature in the cabin may get chilly. The best approach is to wear layers of clothing that you can take off, if hot, and put back on, if cold. Also, you’ll need good shoes if you’re to evacuate in case of an emergency.
7. The neck pillow
It is essential to have a neck pillow to give you the neck support you need while sleeping. We recommend a neck pillow with the memory foam. It proves to be truly comfortable and helps you feel better duting naps.
8. Use a pillow for back support
When you’re exposed to prolonged seating on a long-haul flight you can start feeling back and neck discomfort as seats may not be as comfortable. To avoid getting your back sored use a little pillow to put behind your lower back. You’ll definitely feel much better at the end of your trip. Such pillow is provided on long haul flights in economy class. You may be asked to pay for a pillow if flying domestically.
9. Entertainment: Electronics on-board
On their website airlines will tell you what entertainment to expect during your flight. Whether you travel domestic or international taking your personal entertainment devices is a wise idea. On domestic flights entertainment may be offered at a fee. On international flights you have a choice of variety of entertainment programing regardless of your cabin class as such services are now standard in the industry. But just in case, you want to watch your favorite movie or listen to some music that you like, it is when your own device comes in use.
Make sure all of your electronics are fully charged and bring an external power battery that can help you when you run out of juice.
10. Where to seat?
Seating at certain places in the cabin can have some advantages and disadvantages:
- Seating by window will give you a nice support for your sleep and you’ll not be disturbed by your neighbors when they want to get up and stretch. But if you want to get up the passengers in the two seats next to you have to give way. Also, by the window tends to be colder.
- Seating close or over the winds will give you less jolt in case of turbulence.
- Seating by the bulkhead (divider walls in the cabin) can give you more legroom. Be aware of the possibility to be seated next to a crying baby as the bulkhead rows are where they are.
The seat belt:
Let’s be honest. You have to buckle up at all times while seated and when instructed by cabin crew or illuminated signs. Unexpected turbulence can hit the plane at any time. Guess what? A plane ca drop thousands of meters in a matter of seconds and having your belt on you will prevent you from being thrown up in the air in the cabin. The most recent example is when a JetBlue Airlines flight experienced severe turbulence in august of 2016 on route from Boston, IL to Sacramento, CA when 24 passenger ended up in a hospital. According to a CNN report a passenger on that flight said that “a woman sitting in front of him rose 2 feet into the air in the cabin at one point because she wasn't wearing a seat belt”.