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How can I make my flight more comfortable?

Today's high fares, tight seats, delays and limited on-board services can necessitate some hard choices. So, here are some things worth considering to make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable:

  • Airline Selection - Fly with an airline where you have a high membership status to have a better shot at being upgraded or to purchase discounted upgrades.
  • Flight Selection - Select flights that best suit your schedule (e.g. if you need a good night's sleep prior to your arrival, do not select a redeye flight just to save money)
  • Seat Selection - An aisle seat is more convenient for those who wish to move about the cabin whereas a window seat is best if you don't wish to be disturbed by the person next to you needing to use the lavatory. Travelers seated toward the rear of the plane tend to board first and get to stow their bags before the overhead bins are filled. Avoid middle seats when possible.
  • Flight Status - Checking the status of your flight before heading out can save you from unnecessary time spent waiting at the airport if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
  • Clothing - Wear comfortable, layered clothing with shoes that can easily be taken off and put back on, along with socks lacking any embarassing holes. Cabin temperatures vary and are likely to be beyond your control.
  • Amenities - When traveling in economy, bring your own amenities, such as a travel pillow, light blanket, eye shade, ear plugs and / or noise-canceling headphones.
  • Entertainment - Bring reading materials, puzzles, a music player or whatever other portable items you enjoy to keep yourself occupied.
  • Medication - If you have medical needs, be sure to carry your medicine on board to both have it handy and not to lose it with your luggage. If you are sensitive to changing cabin pressure, bring some chewing gum.
  • Food and Drink - After passing through security, either fill up an empty bottle with water or purchase a beverage to avoid being thirsty while waiting for cabin service. Bring an emergency snack even on short flights in case of delays.
  • Travel Light - Bringing on-board only the items that you truly need will leave you with more room and less hassle, especially when the overhead bins get filled.
  • Before Boarding - Prior to boarding, use the airport facilities, as it may be a long time before the captain turns off the Fasten Seatbelt sign.
  • Stress Reduction - Pack ahead of time, allow yourself sufficient time to check in, get through security and make connecting flights without sprinting.

last updated 2008.09.10
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