Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Getting Comfy in Economy

Is getting comfortable at all possible on a long-haul flight in economy class? I think it depends on your attitude and your definition of comfort. It also heavily depends on how well you prepare. Everything from the seat you pick to how you pack can affect your in-flight comfort.

SEAT SELECTION
Many travel experts say to avoid seats near the toilets because of noise and traffic but I find that area to be my favorite place to sit. If you do have to get up during flight, your walk to the facilities is shorter, plus the noise isn’t any more noticeable than the roar of the jet engines.
I prefer an aisle seat because it is easier to get in and out of, plus I can stretch my legs out for a few seconds whenever the aisle is clear. My travel companion prefers the window seat because he likes to lean against the wall to sleep but I find the window seats to be much colder on long flights, so I avoid that option.
The row behind the emergency exit row is good. On some airlines, the exit row seats don’t recline so you won’t have the seat in front of you too close to your face. In addition, some planes now only have two seats in the emergency exit row so if you sit in the window seat just behind it, you might have some glorious extra legroom.
PACKING
Here are a few things that I like to keep handy in-flight. All of these items are available through Amazon. If you want to learn more about each item, click on the links provided.

I love this set because the mask is molded in a way that doesn't rub against my eyes and ruin my make up but also because it also comes in a neat drawstring bag that keeps it clean and easy to find in my purse.
Take an empty water bottle and fill it up after you pass through security. You'll want sips of water throughout the flight and it is nice to have your own in hand.
Three little puffs of air are all it takes to blow up this magnificent pillow. What the picture doesn't show is that it rolls up to the size of a burrito and can be attached to a purse or luggage strap. It also has built in wrist supports so that your arms don't go flip-flopping about while you sleep.
Load your Kindle up with books, movies and games before you leave home and you need never be bored. I used to take magazines and books along but they add unnecessary weight to your load.
Wisps
On long flights, brushing your teeth with a Wisp before and after you sleep will help you feel refreshed.
Travel can be dirty and gross. See the "Settling In" section below.
Ok, I am old. If I'm going to read or watch a movie on that tiny little entertainment screen, I'm going to want my readers close at hand.
I don't know why but take-offs and landings make my sinuses go nuts. I can go through an entire travel pack of tissues on a single flight.
You never know when the dry cabin air will give you a killer headache. It's better to have Ibuprofen and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Put these things in a bag small enough to stash under the seat in front of you because you will definitely want easy access to them in-flight.
WHAT TO WEAR
One of the most effective ways to ensure your in-flight comfort is to dress for it. Thank goodness that the short-lived trend of wearing pajamas to the airport has passed, along with the equally unattractive wearing of obvious yoga pants.
You can dressy comfortably and still be reasonably stylish.  Opt for soft knits with no zippers or fussy fastenings. Leave the belt at home or in your suitcase, if possible. I have a Wearever suit from J. Jill that is as comfy as PJs but that can be dressed up or down to suit almost any occasion. No matter what I wear, I always top my outfit with a black pashmina for extra layer of warmth.
Footwear can make big difference in your comfort before and during your flight. Don flat, easy slip-off shoes, such as Sperrys or Lands End driving mocs.
SETTLING IN
I sit on my coat to provide easy access should I need it and also to save space in the overhead bins. Just don’t drape your coat or any part of it over the headrest.  You don’t want to block access to the tray or the in-flight screen for the person sitting directly behind you.
Once I am seated and waiting for everyone else to board, I clean the seatbelt buckle, the armrests and the fold-down tray with sanitizing wipes. Seatmates often snicker until they see how black the wipe is when I’m done cleaning. At that point, they often ask if I can give them one so that they can wipe down their own area.
I take the airline pillow and place it behind the small of my back. It’s usually way too small to serve as a decent head pillow but tucking it behind your back provides welcome extra cushioning. I’ll generally put the blanket the seat back pocket for later use.
IN THE AIR
Reclining your seat is never a question on international flights because everyone does it. Just avoid doing so during mealtime. You’ll be less likely to spill if you are fully-upright while eating. Plus, you don’t want to cramp the dining space of the person sitting behind you. Once the meal is over and the trays have been collected, feel free to recline.
After dinner is a good time to make a trip to the restroom. I brush my teeth with a Wisp and freshen up in general. If you like, you can use a baby wipe to clean your face. I prefer to travel wearing Estee Lauder Double Wear makeup and I leave it on until we land. It still looks fine when I deplane and I can always freshen up when I arrive at my hotel.
Once back in my seat, I cover my legs and feet with the airline blanket and cover my upper half with my pashmina. I blow up my pillow and settle in to watch a movie until I fall asleep. I’ll keep my sleep kit handy and put it to good use just before I drift off.
What works for you might differ but this routine works for me. I’ve been able to sleep this way on every long-haul flight that I’ve been on.
Above all, watch your attitude and your manners along the way. Getting into a petty disagreement with a fellow traveler will only make everyone angry and uncomfortable for the duration of the flight.
If you’d like a few laughs and some examples of how not to get too overly comfy on a flight, I suggest you visit Passenger Shaming on Instagram.
Most important, try to keep your sense of humor. After all, even the most uncomfortable flight in the world consumes only a few hours of your life. This too shall pass.
Happy travels!

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