Are you a first time flyer? Are you trying to gain a little bit more knowledge about flying? Well, today I’m prepared to share some of my wisdom! I wouldn’t say I’m a frequent flyer, but I have flown a lot throughout my lifetime. My whole family (my mom, my dad and my brother + his wife and kids) are in parts of China or Taiwan, so in order to visit them I fly almost every year. There was one summer when I was in undergrad where I flew all over China, then flew to Taiwan and then to Hainan Island. I took 16 flights all within a month!
So, needless to say, I do have some experience with flying (really long flights, too). Here are just some of the major tips and things that I try to remember while flying.
First thing first, food. Haha, I love eating and this one is seriously important to me! It’s becoming more and more common for domestic flights, no matter how long, to not serve free food anymore. I went to Hawaii recently 0n a 6 hour flight from 10AM-4PM and there was only food for purchase. If you have no problems with purchasing plane food, then by all means purchase away! Personally, I just don’t think the price for the quantity or quality of food is that great.
Tip #1 – Most flights with in flight purchase meals will only carry a limited amount of certain dishes, say 10 roast beef sandwiches, 5 cranberry chicken salad, etc. And if your seat number is behind row 15, it’s a good idea to go on the airline’s website and reserve your food. With most airlines, you can do that up to 24 hours before your flight. Therefore, no matter how far back your seat is, you are guaranteed the meal that you want.
Tip #2 – Buy your lunch in the airport before getting on the plane. This way, you have more variety and you can eat as soon as the flight takes off and has reached the necessary altitude. You also don’t have to wait until the flight attendants get to your seat!
Tip#3 – Bring an empty water bottle from home. I always travel with an empty water bottle and fill it up inside the airport after passing TSA inspection. I know we do get complimentary drinks on the flights but I’ve been stuck without any liquid for a couple of hours because of bad turbulence that caused all services to be stopped. In cases like this, it’s good to be prepared!
Tip#4 – Bring some snacks! I think it’s always good to have an emergency go-to snack just in case you are rushed and can’t buy food at the airport or you’re stuck on a plane that’s not taking off because of mechanical problems. A quick snack can really take the edge off of some hunger and even frustration!
Second thing I want to talk about is entertainment while on a flight. There are no new ideas that I can share for entertainment but just some tips that might help to make you choose the right entertainment for you.
Tip #1 – Movies are a great idea, but how long can your computer last? I hardly ever bring my laptop on long flights (It’s about a 13-15 hour flight to China) anymore since it’s so much more of a hassle to carry it, and take it out for TSA and really only have it lasting for 1 -2 movies. If you have a super long battery life and you don’t mind carrying the laptop thn bring it! Just make sure you think through the advantages and disadvantages before you take it with you!
Tip #2 – Bring some variety of things to do. Nothing huge or bulky but jut so you have options. When I travel, for entertainment I usually pack 1) kindle 2) Nintendo DS 3) sudoku book 4) magazine 5) Ipod. They’re all quite light so i’m not lugging around a ton of weight but i still have plenty of options to choose from!
Tip #3 – Bring something you can do while you can’t use a powered item. It can take up to 20 minutes or longer to land the plane after flight attendants ask to have all electronic equipment shut off. I often find that I get super inpatient since I’m so close to my destination but still have to wait. It’s a good idea to have paper novels or magazines during times where you can’t have electronic equipment turned on.
Tip #4 – Okay, so this isn’t really entertainment for adults but it’s one of the cooler ideas I’ve seen for children entertainment on plane rides. It’s called Kidzsack and it’s a backpack that kids can color as well as use it as their traveling bag!
Third thing on my list of important things to remember before flying is comfort. Flying so often has allowed me to really understand how little things can make your flight much more enjoyable.
Tip #1 – Bring/wear a long-sleeve shirt without a hood. Temperature tends to be quite cool for me on a plane but a shirt is a better option for me than a light jacket since you don’t have to take off your long-sleeve shirt when passing through TSA inspection. Clothes with hoods also tend to be uncomfortable when they’re bunched around your back when the hood isn’t up during your flight.
Tip #2 – Wear loose fitting shoes, I prefer slip on shoes and flip flops. The main reason I like these type of shoes is because your feet tend to swell on long flights mainly due to inactivity and the way you’re sitting. This little tip can make your feet a lot more comfortable on a long flight. Another reason I prefer slip on shoes and flip flops is because they are easy to take off. Ever since TSA started requesting shoes be taken off during inspection, I’ve realized it’s become more of a hassle if I have to untie and retie my shoes. Now I almost exclusively travel in flip flops!
Tip #3 – A neck pillow can really be a comfortable item, but it’s all based on personal preferences. There are so many different kinds of neck rests now, it’s a good idea to try one and see how you like it. If you don’t think you have room in your carry on for a bulky neck pillow, don’t worry, there are padded inflatable ones that seem to be quite comfortable without taking up too much room!
The last point I want to emphasize while flying is getting a bit of exercise. No, not getting up and jumping/running around the plane, but some stretches and walking can help relieve tension and improve circulation! There are some great websites out there with ideas on exercises and stretches like this one or this website!
These are really just personal preference tips, but they have helped me over years of flying. I hope these tips well help you the next time you’re taking a trip! Happy flying!