Travel: Planning for a Relaxing, Productive, and Enjoyable Plane Flight
Make a Flight Plan
Before pilots set foot into the cockpit, they must first file a flight plan. As a passenger, you can do the same to ensure that your flight is as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. With a little preparation, your flight can be relaxing, entertaining, and/or productive.
Use the following categories to prepare for your travels.
Flight Plan Categories
One of the great things about the airlines, is that they haven't decided to be rip-off artists, like every movie theater has across the world. The airlines still allow you to bring your own food and beverage, and don't mind that you eat it and dispose of your trash on their plane. Knowing that, the first thing to thing about is what your going to consume during the flight. Obviously, the length of the flight is to be taken into consideration, wait time, and connections.
Non-perishable items are my first choice, like granola bars, trail mix, dehydrated fruits, nuts, and/or protein bars. The beauty of most of these things is that if you don't consume all of it, and you forgot to clean it out of your bag during your visit, then it's ready for you when you start your return trip.
Grabbing a sandwich from any of the local eateries prior to getting to the airport, or just prior to boarding is a great alternative to anything they'll serve you on the plane. Unless you've paid a King's Ransom to fly First Class, brown bagging it will always be cheaper, healthier, and more tasty.
Bottled water is one of the bigger scams of this century, so you can wait for the air waitress to bring one to you or you can take matters into your own hands. Carry a refillable cup or bottle, and fill it up at any soda station or bar before you board. If you deplete it before the flight is over, then if/when you go to the bathroom, take your cup with you, and ask the flight nurse to refill it with the beverage of your choice. (The difference being that you didn't get on the plane thirsty and have to wait an eternity for someone to serve you.)
The good old days of flasks and Bota bags are long gone, but if you happen to need a nip, then maybe BYOB can come from the Duty Free store or airport liquor store. I'm not a fan of beer, especially cheap, watery beer, during a flight, as that requires a trip to the toilet, and that can have it's own set of issues that detract from a pleasant flight.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Modern day flights include wifi, satellite television, and other auditory and visual distractions. Packing a book, filling your MP3 player, downloading a game to your tablet, or work (yuck) can keep your mind off the captivity.
Planning your flight in relation to your battery life won't leave you twiddling your thumbs.The hardest part is keeping all the gizmo's charged long enough to get the maximum value out of it. An extra battery for your laptop, tablet, phone, MP3, and/or other personal electronics may get you all the way through your flight, or at least long enough before you have to switch to the analog printed media located in the seat pocket.
Noise-cancelling Headphones are AWESOME for listening to your entertainment, but also for drowning out the hum and buzz of the jet engines, not to mention the crying baby, snorer, or chatterbox that's busy telling their life story.
Comfort comes in many forms, and can range from lack of pain to sensory deprivation.
I am a little bigger than the average bear, so the armrests always dig, rub, or hurt in some way. I always carry an extra soft garment to stuff between my body and the hard metal or plastic that will agitate me during the flight. Also, I'll wear a pullover or soft jacket onto the plane specifically to use as a blanket or pillow. A neck pillow is a great investment to help you sleep, and prevent from getting a kink in your neck. An eye mask or sunglasses will help keep light out of your eyes, if you're hoping to get some rest.
In the case that you are olfactory sensitive to perfumes, body odor, or moldy carpet, then consider a pair of swimming nose plugs, or just carry an orange to sniff periodically.
Medication comes in many forms. Some are prescribed, some are herbal remedies, and some are just personal preferences. Obvious things like Asthma inhalers, epi-pens, and other life-saving devices are a must. If you get air sickness, heartburn, gas, or any other wonderful symptoms when you fly, then don't forget to have a pill, cream, or spray in your flight bag and at the ready.
A little ibuprofen never hurts to help take a nap, but I would never take anything PM or a sleeping pill. Remember, planes crash, so you need to be awake enough to exit the plane safely and coherently.
If you're flying over Colorado and/or Washington State, and you have a special brownie, then by all means, enjoy it!
Now Relax and Enjoy
Once you've assembled your flight "kit", then map out your boarding, take-off, work time, entertainment time, nap time, bathroom break, and finally landing and deplaning. Know which pocket you put everything in your pants, breast pocket, jacket pocket, briefcase, and carry-on bag such that you can easily find everything as you get situated, and easily stow at the end of the flight.
IMPORTANT TIP: NEVER put anything in the back of the seat, because you will leave it there and never see it again.
With all this, you will maximize the use of all the devices you've managed to procure, smuggle through security, and remember to use during the flight. Upon departure, you will feel rested and that you've maximized the best use of your flight time.