Flying can be quite tiring at the best of times. It can also be difficult if you have a fear of flying.
Feeling more comfortable on a plane will help you arrive fresher, happier and calmer. Making flying easier will enable you to travel to more wonderful places!
Hence, here are 14 flight hacks to help you make flying easier!
Flight Hack #1: Book Your Seats in Advance
It may cost a little extra think of this like an investment. Knowing that you have your preferred seat on the plane reduces anxiety.
If you are travelling with someone you can relax knowing you will be seated together, rather than waiting until check in.
This simple hacks will make you feel much less anxious about the flight and check in. It’s a very worthwhile investment to make.
An aisle seat can be good if you feel like a bit more view, or want to get up and about a bit more.
A window seat can be perfect if you plan on sleeping as you can rest your head easily.
If flying long haul avoid the seats in the front row behind the bulkhead, as this is where the baby cots are (unless you have a baby of course!).
Book your seats early to get the best seats available for you and your budget.
Flight Hack #2: Book Seats Within 6 Rows of An Emergency Exit
Knowing that you are in the best area should anything go wrong can also help relax those nerves.
Of course, there is very little chance of anything happening!
Being closer to an emergency exit can sometimes be a little more expensive if there is a charge for seats but again it is worth it.
Of course watch the safety briefing and check the safety card.
You may also want to check there is a lifejacket under your seat, it’s one of the most stolen things from a plane!
Flight Hack #3: Avoid Emergency Exit Row Seats
These are often the most expensive seats on the plane because of the legroom. However, you cannot have any personal belongings with you or around you during takeoff and landing.
On longer haul flights the takeoff and landing periods can be quite long.
Having your belongings around you means you have everything you need to keep you busy and occupied while flying.
On longer haul flights the emergency rows are sometimes used by people stretching their legs or standing. This can mean it’s not that easy to stretch out or you get your toes stepped on.
Sitting one row behind or in front of the emergency exit row can be a good choice and cheaper.
Flight Hack #4: Have an Under Seat Case/Bag
Boarding a plane, particularly on a budget flight, can be very stressful. Looking for somewhere to put your luggage is stressful and sometimes the luggage can end up in a different part of the plane.
Make it much simpler and easier and have a small case/bag that fits under the seat in front of you.
You can easily fit enough in there for several nights travelling – ideal for shorter trips.
For longer haul flights an under-seat bag means you have everything nearby and handy.
Airlines publish the size of their under-seat space. If your luggage fits the under-seat space of a budget carrier it will generally fit under longer haul plane seats.
Flight Hack #5: Download Things to Your Device
If you are travelling on a budget carrier there won’t be any inflight entertainment. Having your own entertainment downloaded means you have something interesting to watch, read or play. This can be an easy way to stay distracted and occupied through your flight.
Why not download a film that you have been particularly wanting to watch? For shorter flights choose a film that has a run time similar to the flight time. Before you know it, you will be watching the credits and landing.
Having things downloaded to your tablet is also handy in the event of travel delays or no Wi-Fi too.
Flight Hack #6: Have Good Headphones
Planes are noisy places. It can be difficult to relax with a constant noise from the engines. Those noises can also be a bit unnerving for those with a fear of flying. Get some nice headphones and you will be able to focus on your music, films, audiobook or other entertainment.
Noise cancelling headphones are the best option and there are some great fold down options available.
In ear buds are great at blocking out the noise too and are a good budget option.
Flight Hack #7: Take Something to Chew
Changes in air pressure can really affect your ears and cause pain. This can make taking off and landing really quite uncomfortable. Having some sweets or gum to chew will even out the air pressure in your ears.
Chewing can also be calming too, another thing to help those with flight nerves.
Flight Hack #8: High Dose Vitamin C
Planes do have advanced filters but you can still end up sitting near people with coughs or colds.
Take a high dose Vitamin C tablet before you fly and get some extra protection from the germs. This may not be clinically proven but it can help, even if it’s just the placebo effect of thinking it does.
Flight Hack #9: Take a Book or Magazine
E-Books are fantastic and you can squeeze many books onto your tablet or device. However, occasionally planes have to land in conditions where all electrical devices must be switched off.
It’s in these circumstances where you really need something to read to distract you. Taking a book or magazine is a great back up.
Why not take a book about where you are going and enjoy some pre trip research?
FlightHack #10: Take Snacks/Food
Many short haul flights do not include snacks or refreshments. These can sometimes be expensive to buy on board, or there can be a limited choice. Often planes have supply problems and run out of things, so there is very little available.
On longer haul flights meals are often served within 1-2 hours of departure and within 1-2 hours of landing. There may be some self-service options, or a snack pack in-between.
Taking your own snacks or food onto a plane means you have something if you get hungry or thirsty. Some airlines have rules that don’t allow you to take hot drinks on a plane.
Taking a hot takeaway onto a plane for a flight is often not appreciated by other passengers.
FlightHack #11: Have a Variety of Activities
Long haul flights can be tough going, especially if you can’t sleep. It is very difficult to sit and watch films for 9 hours so having a variety of activities helps.
Why not take or do some of the following;
Puzzle books, audio books, colouring books, meditation recordings, podcasts, magazines, newspapers, books, films, box sets, documentaries, guide books.
FlightHack #12: Break Flight into Segments
The thought of being on a plane for a long time can be overwhelming for those with a fear of flying.
Break to flight down in segments and have a plan of things to do. For example;
1.5 hour segments for a 9 hour flight:
- 1st segment – take off, meal service, music
- 2nd segment – film
- 3rd segment – stretch legs, reading, puzzle book
- 4th segment – film
- 5th segment – film finishes, stretch legs, freshen up
- 6th segment – meal service, landing
FlightHack #13: Take A Little Reading Light
If you find it difficult to sleep on a plane and it’s a long haul or night flight, take a light. This means you can read a book without disturbing others.
It also means you can see your drink or snack and it helps avoid the brightness of your tablet/device.
It’s also handy for when you are travelling and the beside lights might be poor for reading.
FlightHack #14: Raise the Armrest
If you are sitting in the aisle seat the armrest will raise making it easier to get out of your seat. This is generally the case on longer haul flights, but becoming less common on short haul flights.
Raising the armrest will allow you to swing your legs round and get out of your seat easily without having to pull on the headrest in front.
It makes you a kind and considerate fellow passenger.
Written by The Professional Traveller and based on +30 years of professional travel experience, including lots of flights!