Even in the best of circumstances, flying on a plane can often be uncomfortable and stressful. People are inconsiderate, children are screaming, and at times it feels as though you are trapped in a flying coffin with less than zero personal space. There are weird smells and questionable foods. There are scary noises and movements. There is no fresh air. There is no way out.
However, here are five tips that will help make air travel much more comfortable (for those who fly economy because we all know how it feels to walk past the smiling assholes in 1st class with their reclining beds and freshly baked cookies . . . Seinfeld anyone?) :
1. Think of others
For the duration of your flight, you are within a community. It is very easy to overlook the fact that you are in a mini neighbourhood on an airplane where your actions can directly contribute to another’s comfort or discomfort. But they really do.
Imagine the scenario that every avid flyer has encountered: the screaming baby(ies). It is so easy to think of yourself in this moment – how unfortunate it is that you have to be exposed to such an annoyance and how that mother has the audacity to bring her child on a plane! Shame on her. And will that kid put a sock in it already? You can’t hear your movie.
Yes, it’s annoying. But do you ever for a moment think of the baby’s discomfort or the difficulties the mother is facing traveling across the globe with her child? The chances are that she’s having way more of an unpleasant flight than you are, and the same goes for the poor child who doesn’t have a clue what’s going on.
Taking a moment to think of someone aside from yourself will help you gain some perspective and hopefully help you become much more relaxed. If relaxed is too ambitious . . . then nonchalant. Even keel. Not ready to blow a gasket.
2. Be helpful
In relation to the above concept of thinking of others, if there is an opportunity to help someone, you should take that opportunity and do so. Whether it’s getting out of your seat so your neighbour can get out of theirs, nudging someone so they don’t miss their meal, or helping someone lift their luggage (except I actually don’t accept help from strangers where physical strength is concerned. I can lift my own luggage, thanks. However, if there is someone clearly struggling then by all means assist!)
I once saw a sign in an airport that was a step-by-step guide for women to lift their luggage into the overhead bin. It went like this: Step 1 – Grab a sturdy handle. Step 2 – Bend your knees. Step 3 – Use both arms and lift into bin. Step 4 – Examine positioning. Step 5 – Ask for assistance. I found this sign to be very humorous yet insulting. Just throw your luggage into the damn bin and let everyone waiting behind you get by.
I think I got a little off topic with the politics of lifting luggage into the overhead bin, but the concept remains – if someone needs help, help them. If we go back to the mother and the screaming baby – could you potentially help the situation?
I once witnessed a man donate his headphones to a sobbing child while selecting a cartoon feature on the TV display. In an instant, the child was silent and happy as a clam, enthralled with Sponge Bob bouncing around the screen. Another time, I witnessed a woman offer her seat to a toddler who wouldn’t stop fussing and crying for his own seat. Granted she had to come back to her seat at some point, but the toddler having enjoyed his own space for a bit did the trick to be returned peacefully to his mother’s lap. I was pretty amazed by both of these gestures.
3. Bring lots of snacks
I will vouch firsthand that the concept of being “hangry” exists in full force. Hangry = a state of anger caused by hunger.
On a long flight, you barely eat. When the meal arrives, you may poke and prod at it, you may eat a small portion, or you may well eat it all. But plane food really isn’t sufficient enough for you, in my opinion, which is why you need to be equipped with satisfying and filling snacks. You don’t want to cause a scene and piss off the air marshal. You need fuel to get you through the flight so when you land you aren’t a miserable S.O.B. Not a good way to start off your trip.
4. Order the wine
If you are having a hard time getting settled into your seat or distracted enough with your surroundings that you can’t sleep, order a glass of the wine when it wheels by, or two. It just might do the trick. I know it helps me slink into my seat and care less about my surroundings!
5. Think of the end result
Where will you be once the plane lands at its final destination? New Zealand? Peru? South Africa? Sitting on a plane for 10 + hours is really a small price to pay in order to experience some amazing travels in exchange.
Think of everything there is to look forward to! Think of everyone else on board – they are really in the same boat as you. Everyone is eager to land and simply have the most enjoyable flight possible. You can contribute to making that happen and should make every effort to do so!
Sky Rage Convert