7 Ways to Improve Your In-Flight Experience

From seat-kicking neighbors to an overly talkative seatmate, it’s always a gamble when you step onboard an airplane. Flying can be exciting, stressful, boring, and downright scary at times. I’m here to give you a few simple tips to ease the burden and improve your in-flight experience when you take to the skies, and possibly even make your travels more enjoyable!

Flying on an airplane

Prioritize Comfort

Sure, you may want to step off the plane in Paris looking fabulous in your jeans or new dress–but you don’t want to sit for an extended period in them. Think comfort and ease, whether it’s your favorite wrinkle-free trousers, yoga pants, or t-shirt. Don’t discount comfortable footwear either. It’s very common to retain water weight on planes, resulting in swollen ankles and feet, so sneakers or flat footwear with some room work best.  

Don’t forget to layer! The air conditioning on airplanes can be very cold at times, so consider the temperature on the plane, and then at your arrival destination. If they are vastly different, pack a spare outfit in your carry-on to change into prior to landing. You can also make a quick change of clothes in the restroom while you wait for your bags in baggage claim.  

Sleeping on an airplane

Set the Mood for Sleep

If you’re on an overnight flight, increase your odds of getting some shut eye with a good sleep mask, neck pillow, and earplugs.  I’m not a fan of the eye masks the airlines give you on the overnight flights–they tend to be a bit stiff and scratchy for my liking, so I always bring my own mask that is soft and comfortable. I also add a spritz of lavender spray to it before leaving home (pack it in a Ziploc bag to retain the scent) to help promote relaxation when I’m ready to go to sleep on the plane. I also bring a large blanket scarf when I travel, which in a pinch can be used as a pillow or a blanket. 

Pack Provisions

Bringing extra snacks means you’re not at the mercy of the busy flight attendants, and you can stay satiated and hydrated on your own timeline. This will also keep impulse snack purchases to a minimum, saving both your wallet and your sodium levels. 

I now carry my S’well water bottle with me and fill it at a water fountain in the airport after clearing security so that I know I will have water with me on the plane. You can’t always count on the beverage cart for this…I was once on a flight where the turbulence was so bad upon takeoff that the flight attendants couldn’t do beverage service for a couple of hours into the long flight. By that point, I was already feeling dehydrated from the dry air on the plane.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

And I’m not talking about drinking water here. Bring moisturizer, and even Vaseline or Aquaphor for your lips and the inside of your nose (I pack a few Q-tips for this). The recirculated air on airplanes is notoriously drying, and between that and the decreased blood flow thanks to your 30,000 feet altitude, your skin will suffer.

One of my personal favorites is the mini bottles of facial spray for a quick and refreshing pick-me-up mist (Caudalie Beauty Elixer, Avene Thermal Spring Water, and Evian Facial Spray are great options).

If you can’t get travel sized versions of your favorite facial moisturizer, then try my trick and use a clean contact lens case–I put one application of moisturizer in one side and one application of face serum in the other. This, along with a facial wipe I pack in a Ziploc bag, does wonders to help me feel refreshed after an overnight flight.

And don’t forget your hands! The soap in the plane restrooms tends to be very drying, so I never travel without a travel sized tube of my favorite L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream.

Listen Up

Bring your own headphones s (be sure they are still compatible with the headphone port on planes), not only to be able to connect to the in-flight entertainment but to fend off potentially chatty neighbors. I also carry my AirPod Pros…while I can’t connect them to the in-flight entertainment, they provide noise canceling benefits, plus I can listen to some relaxing music from the Calm app on my phone when trying to fall asleep. 

Clean It Up

Bring your own travel size disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, and ensure you give your seat tray and armrests a thorough wipe down before settling in. There’s often a very short time when turning around a plane, and rarely do they receive deep cleaning treatments. 

Packing for a trip to improve your in-flight experience

Organization is Key

The last thing you want on a long-haul flight is to be fumbling around in multiple bags/pockets trying to find the items you need in-flight. I have this Travelon Organizer and I love it! I keep all the items mentioned above in it, plus my USB phone charger and any medication I need to take during the flight. My Kindle e-reader even fits in the large pocket. I can easily stow it in the seat back pocket or under the seat for easy access at any time.

Need more travel tips? Click here for my blog post on top travel mistakes and what to do instead.  

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