The lowest part of any trip is usually when you’re high up in the air. After the novelty wears off and the hours roll by, any decent human can begin feeling a bit sorry for themself.
The food tray feels like it’s been left in front of you for hours, your neighbours close proximity bugs you and that cute little kid you were making oogly faces at you now seems to be made of the things of your nightmares.
Welcome to long international flights, please bring your boarding pass and a suitcase full of tolerance. Air hostesses on the other hand, emerge from flights looking generally unphased. It does help that they are paid to be there.
However they are also experienced. After flying to many miles, they learn a few tricks of the trade. Here are some of them.
1. Bring a Carry On Bag and a Satchel/handbag
Experienced travelers know that while you can only take one carry on bag, you are allowed to bring a handbag. This handbag can serve one of two purposes:
- Hold important documents (Jo recommends): Use a small purse to carry your passport, boarding pass, ticket and any needed medication. That’s it. This is especially useful when you have layovers. It allows you to get what you need without holding up a queue or feeling stressed:
- Taking off some weight: If you are an obsessive overpacker and can’t limit yourself to a 7kg carry on bag limit, sneak some heavier items into your purse. However don’t overdo it – you don’t want to look like you have two carry on bags! Looking like this will cost you.
2. Buy Water Now
Yes airport water is expensive. But now is the perfect time to find the cheapest water. I mean, you do have time to kill. And lets face it, airlines never provide enough water. And it can taste a bit off. For long flights your own water is enough.
But Jo, I love Sprite/fanta/coffee! Shouldn’t I pack that to make the flight a bit more enjoyable?
The short answer is an empathetic no. These drinks can lead to thirst quicker and even dehydrate you. this means you need to spend more money buying the water that you should have bought in the first place. Trust me on this one.
3. Pack a Pillow And Small Blanket
The pillows on flights are almost always crepe thin. And the blankets are even worse. Airlines do this to save space, weight and money. But it costs you your comfort – especially when faced with an overnight flight.
You often see travelers with little beanbag pillows. While these are great, make sure it’s something you actually are comfortable with. If not, you’ve just used about half your carry on space on a nuance.
On the Flight
4. Electronic Use Causes Turbulence to Your Sleep
Here’s a tip for getting the best sleep you’ve ever had on a flight: keep your devices off. No I don’t mean keep your phones off when landing and taking of (but please do that too).
What I really mean is avoid all electronics if you want to sleep. That includes the mini tv on the back of your sleep. “One of the most simple but important reasons technology affects our sleep is cognitive stimulation,” says Mark Rosekind, PhD, former director of the Fatigue Countermeasures Program at the NASA Ames Research Center.
However if you need to stay awake because of an impending layover or jet lag, watch the loudest, brutalist action movie you can get your paws on. A silly game on the tv would work too because of the mental stimulation.
5. Don’t Skip Meals
It is almost statistically impossible for every passenger on board to be hungry at the same time. Because of this, you will likely be faced with a meal you just don’t want.
But if you skip it, there’s little chance you will get another opportunity to eat for at least the next four hours. Perhaps if you found a very kind air hostess, things would be different. But don’t count on it. Just play it safe and accept the meal.
6. Try Maintain Some Schedule
If you compulsively wash your face every night before bed, don’t skip it on the flight. Even if it means you need to crouch in a dingy bathroom over the sink, do it.
Do you listen to some light music just before you drift to sleep? Go right ahead! These little patterns of behaviour regulate us. In a plane, your pattern is already majorly shifted. This shift makes sleep more difficult and you feel uneasy, even if just subconsciously.
So you do whatever you need to do to create some familiarity. Even if it makes you feel or look silly – chances are people will be too groggy to remember. And they are also just as desperate as you to get comfortable.
7. Use People as Road Marks
Look for some notable people as you exit the plane. Have a small list of them such as: girl with big beanie, old man with hot pink suitcase, teen with denim jacket. Just incase you become lost, it helps to see whether those on board are heading in the same direction.
However don’t count on them – they may be on layover or need to go through a different gate because of differing citizen statuses. The best case scenario is overhearing a “road mark” talking to security about where they’re going.
8. Keep Your Cool
This one is easier said than done. Exiting a plane to an unfamiliar airport and having to navigate it can make anyones heartbeat flutter. But if you lose your calm, you are more likely to get lost and distressed.
Focus on your breathing. Watch your temperature to make sure the stress isn’t getting you too hot. If it all feels like too much, make small talk with a person next to you. A simple chat about who they are and where they’re going can distract you from your own fear.
Do you have any travel tips that air hostesses would envy? Comment down below.
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