Some people settle with the idea that flying is an uncomfortable experience, but that doesn’t need to be the case. And while we don’t have tricks for avoiding nosey seatmates who steal the armrest, we do have some simple tips that can make your journey a little more comfortable.
Choose the right plane
We all look at flight times and prices, but have you ever considered the plane make and model? If not, maybe you should. If you are prone to altitude sickness when flying, buy a seat on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A350. The cabins on these planes are pressurized about 2,000 feet lower than on other commercial airliners. You’ll find that you breathe easier and sleep better on long flights. The interiors of these planes are also more humid so your nasal passages and eyes, if you wear contacts, will be more comfortable.
If you’re prone to air sickness, try to get a seat over the wings. It’s like sitting on the fulcrum of a seesaw: There’s less motion up and down.
Plug ‘em up
Wear ear plugs, and not just when you’re trying to sleep. You may not realize how loud the engines are because the sound comes off as background noise, but according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the sound is typically around 85 decibels (dB) at cruising and can reach 120 dB at takeoff and landing. The sound could affect your sleep, or unknowingly cause stress. If the sound really bothers you, pick a seat in front of the wings, which tends to be a little quieter.
Shut it out
Eye shades are great for sleeping, especially as seat mates may have the glowing screens of their phones, laptops or seat-back TVs turned on during the flight. Pro tip: Eye shades also do the trick for avoiding a talkative seatmate.
No drinks onboard
Hate to kill the fun, but you should avoid drinking alcohol too. Sure, it may ease your nerves, but flying already makes you dehydrated and alcohol only exacerbates the problem. Save the booze for a toast upon your arrival.
Monitor screen time
Finally, limit (or even go without) screen time. The blue screens and light can impact your sleep. Instead, kick it old school with a good book. Or, better yet, a boring one if shuteye is your goal.