10 Tips to Be Safe and Comfortable on an Airplane Flight
1. See Something, Say Something
It is important for your safety and the safety of others to always report suspicious packages or suitcases to airport security officials immediately. You can remain anonymous and do not have to give your name or identify yourself.
A few months ago, my family and I reported a suspicious suitcase at the airport. We were at the baggage claim area when we noticed a lone black suitcase without anyone standing near it. We waited for a few minutes to see if anyone would claim it, but no one did. After a few more minutes, we reported the suspicious suitcase to an airport security official who took the suitcase away immediately, no questions asked. My point is -- do not wait for someone else to report a suspicious package, suitcase, etc. If you see something, say something and don't rely on others to take action first.
2. Check your Fight Itinerary Often
Always check your flight itinerary before you board the plane to become familiar with your flight duration, the lay-over locations and times, as well as the expected date/time to reach your destination.
Even if you have your itinerary printed in hand or on your phone -- when you reach the airport, always check the departure and arrival screens to be sure your flight has not been delayed, cancelled or changed.
Recently, I was at the airport, waiting comfortably for my flight when I got the premonition to check the flight board. I had checked it just a half-hour before and was certain I was waiting at the correct gate. However, when I checked the board once again, I noticed the gate had changed. Luckily all I had to do was cross over the aisle to the correct gate area instead of going to the other end of the airport. My point is airplane loading gates can change at anytime. Usually the change is announced on the loudspeaker, but sometimes you may be preoccupied and miss the announcement. Be alert to gate changes so you will not miss your flight or be inconvenienced during your airplane flight.
3. Board the Correct Airplane
My tip to board the correct plane may seem like a no-brainer, but you can easily get on the wrong plane, especially if you are already waiting at the incorrect gate. If you are unsure where your flight is boarding, ask one of the airport attendants behind the desk where your boarding area is or check the flight itinerary screen. Some people may ask their fellow travellers, but it is best to get the information from the people who will know -- the airport attendants and workers.
Before the airplane departs, the flight attendant will repeat numerous times its destination. I have known the announcement to be made after everyone boarded to ensure no one is on the incorrect flight.
Since your boarding pass has been scanned is not a sure-fire way to make sure you are on the correct plane. For instance, sometimes planes stop during layovers, and allow passengers to get off and board again before it takes off to its destination. During this time, it is possible for you to get back on the wrong plane. You may have seen cases where people have actually left the plane after being seated because they had inadvertently boarded the wrong plane. Don't let that person be you.
4. Be Careful if You Choose the Exit Row Seat
Choose an exit row seat if you do not mind the responsibilities that go with sitting there. There are age limits for these seats as well, i.e. you must be 15 years or older to sit in the exit row on some airplanes.
The flight attendant will verify that you fully understand that you are seating in an exit row seat as well as your responsibilities. Many times you have to verbally agree to take on these duties in case of an airplane crash, malfunction, etc.
You may prefer the exit row seat because of the leg room. However, a disadvantage to the exit row window seat is sometimes there are only two seats instead of three. Because of the vacant space beside you near the window, the person sitting in the window seat behind you can stretch out their legs. When you look down to your right you see someone's else legs beside your seat -- which could be uncomfortable to look at for some people. I had this happen to me when I was seated in the exit row window seat and had to endure seeing someone's outstretched leg resting beside my seat for the duration of the flight. This was not a comfortable flight for me, even though I did like the extra leg room of the exit row seat.
Do you have a favorite place to sit during an airplane flight?
What is your favorite seat on an airplane flight?
5. Avoid Neck Discomfort during your Flight
On long airplane flights, you may choose to use the curved type neck rest designed especially for travel. Make sure you get the right fit because some may cause neck pain instead of preventing it.
You may decide to use the sterilized travel pillow provided by the airlines. Before your neck becomes stiff, you can place the travel pillow behind the lower back part of your neck, and tilt your head backwards over the pillow for comfort. For even more comfort, you can tilt your seat backwards as well. Just be sure to bring your seat back to its upright position when instructed to do so by the airline staff.
Remember, if you are on a relatively short flight, the neck rest may not be necessary. The flight may not be long enough for your neck to experience any discomfort.
6. Safe Use of Airplane Restrooms
Some people are not too keen on using an airplane restroom and try to avoid using them entirely because of its small size, possible germs, etc. The bad news is on long flights, sometimes you do not have a choice but to use these facilities. The good news is using the airplane restroom gives you a chance to get up and stretch. In fact, an advantage to taking restroom breaks on an airplane is you have the opportunity to move around and exercise your muscles.
Remember, on airplanes you cannot stand by the laboratory area and wait in line for your turn. You must stay seated until you notice the restroom is vacant and free to be used. You may notice some airlines are lax about people lining up in the aisle, but it is best to stay seated until the restroom is unoccupied and available.
For long flights, you may choose to use the restroom facilities at the airport before you board the airplane. If you do use the airplane restroom, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before returning to your seat to avoid germs as much as possible. You may want to have some baby wipes or other sanitized napkins like Wet Ones handy to keep your hands germ-free.
Do not line up to use the restrooms on an airplane.
Wait until the restrooms are vacant before getting up to make your way to the restrooms.
7. Exercise Your Muscles During Flight
If you have been sitting for a long time during your plane flight, you need to move around. The one thing you do not want is the possibility of blood clots, or something else happening due to sitting still for long periods of time. Even if you just reach up and adjust the light or the air flow -- do that for movement.
A common problem is lack of blood circulation in your legs due to non-movement. Try to move around to prevent stiffness in the first place. You can change your leg positions, maybe stretch them out in front of you as much as you can, being careful not to block the walkway if you are sitting in an aisle seat.
You can do this simple exercise to keep your blood circulating properly. Move both feet around, either with your shoes on or off, and try writing your name in cursive with both your feet, wiggling your toes at the same time. Your feet movement will help with your blood circulation. You can also stand up and walk down the aisle and back to your seat -- when it is safe to move around the cabin. Also remember, to keep hydrated.
8. Exercise Caution when Using Airplane Blankets
You may decline using the airplane travel blankets, especially if they are not enclosed in plastic. However on long overnight flights where you feel like snuggling up with a blanket or if it is cold on the plane, you may choose to use the travel blanket for warmth.
My tip is if you are offered a blanket by the airplane attendant -- accept the blanket just in case you may want to use it later. If you do not need the blanket, it fits neatly in the seat pouch in front of you. Remember, if you are cold on a plane, you can ask for a blanket; however, this may be a benefit to first class customers only. If you cannot use a blanket, use your coat instead.
9. Wear Seat Belts While on the Airplane
For your safety and the safety of others, use your seat belts while on the plane, when in flight and even when the plane has landed and is moving to its hangar. Always check the seat belt signs and listen to the pilot or airplane staff if you are not sure if you can unbuckle your seat belt.
As a rule of thumb, just keep your seat belt fastened whenever you are seated on the plane. You never know when there is going to be unexpected turbulence and the pilot or airline staff may not have time to give you advance notice.
10. Entertainment on Your Airplane Flight
In today's high tech society, there is a wide variety of electronic devices at your disposal for entertainment. For example, instead of the reading a hard back book, you may elect to use the Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble Nook or other electronic books.
Your cell phone is also an option to play mobile games such as My Tiny Horses: Little Pony Racing, which is a fun horse racing game available at the app store that will keep you competing in cyberspace against your friends. My Tiny Horses: Little Pony Racing is available for IOS devices and is playable on your iPhone. There are lots of other mobile games that will keep your interest as well.
Some airlines offer free movies to watch. If not, you may elect to use your laptop computer, phone or other mobile device to access movies. Be sure to wear your headphones so as not to disturb your seat mates and other airplane passengers.
Be Safe and Enjoy Your Flight
Remember, the fun part of any trip in addition to getting to the destination, is enjoying the journey. The next time you are on an airplane flight, be happy not only when you get to where you are going, but be joyful on the way there too. Enjoy your flight!