Flying can be stressful, whether for business or leisure. Get through your plane ride like a pro with these tips.
Travelling is great, but flying is often another matter. Annoying passengers, sub-par meals and confined spaces can mean that the very beginning (or end) of your trip may dampen your vacation euphoria.
Whether your next flight is one hour or 10, these crafty hacks will help you feel better about the whole experience.
Research the plane
Not all seats are created equal, so figure out which airline works best for you. Before you book, look up your legroom on a website like Seat Guru, which breaks down seat measurements by airline and aircraft. This helps you also check out access to the exits, or other amenities you might want. If you’re a picky eater, looking at pictures of standard meals also helps so you can request a meal, if you need to.
Pre-book your seat
Pre-booking a seat is the best way to ensure you get exactly what you want. Top tip: seats in the middle of the cabin are usually furthest away from the toilets – and babies – and passengers there generally feel less turbulence.
Buy an upgrade
Many airlines offer upgrades at reduced prices on the day of the flight. Ask (politely!) at check-in or before boarding, and you may just end up flying in a premium cabin.
Become a frequent flyer
It’s useful to be a member of an airline’s frequent flyer program. Signing up is usually free, and you’re more likely to benefit from a range of sweet perks. Think free upgrades, extra luggage and lounge access. None of it’s guaranteed, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
Skip the queues
Nothing makes a fight more stressful than the immigration and security queues that come before and after. Skip it by knowing what fast-track options you’re entitled to. Singaporeans, for example, can use the automatic clearance gates at Australian airports, or you might qualify for an APEC card.
Go carry-on only
Learn to pack light. Not only will you have everything you need during the flight, but once you land, you’ll be out of the airport – and at your destination – in record time.
Whether you’re avoiding the notoriously suspect plane meals or trying to eat healthy, packing your own in-flight snacks is a smart move. Just do your fellow passengers a favour and avoid anything smelly or messy.
Pre-order your meals
If you’re going to indulge in the in-flight meal service, order your meal ahead of time. By doing this, you’ll usually get access to a much wider range of meal options – think low-cal, Indian, or kosher – and you’ll get served first.
Befriend the flight attendant
A quick hello and smile as you board will put you in their good books, and can ensure more attentive service when you need that extra blanket. Pro tip: if you sit near the back, it’s also easier for your attendant to sneak you treats like a glass of Champagne from first class.
Get up and move
Yes, it’s a big ask once you’re settled and strapped into your seat. But it’s important to get up and move, especially on long flights. A quick walk and stretch breaks up the monotony of a flight, and will have you deplaning at your destination with a little more energy. Plus, it’ll minimise in-flight health risks like deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Be sure to keep hydrated
Low humidity, reduced oxygen levels and recycled air mean that on average, a person will lose between 1.5 and 2 litres of water on a 10-hour flight. So be sure to drink plenty of water on board. And don’t forget about your skin. Whether you subtly hydrate with face oil or go all out with sheet masks, a little TLC means you’ll retain your glow when you disembark.
Flying is rough at the best of times, but it’s worse when you’re sick. If it’s unavoidable, just soldier through. But think again if you’ve got a bad cold. Flying with a cold can severely increase the pressure in your eardrums, and can lead to serious issues like ruptured eardrums and even hearing loss.
Being comfortable on a flight is key to feeling fresh when you get off the plane. The solution? Dress in clothes in soft materials that aren’t tight against the body (but maybe skip the yoga pants and flip-flops which make you look less chic). And don’t forget a cosy sweater or scarf to keep the cold cabin air at bay.
Bring your charger with you
You’ve pre-downloaded movies on Netflix to your iPad or plan to use the in-flight WiFi. Either way, you’ll need plenty of juice. Most cabins have seat-back power sockets and USB, so make sure your charger is in your carry-on.
Getting enough sleep is key
Another tough ask, but you can tackle this one with a bit of planning. Whether it’s over-the-counter melatonin, earplugs and an eye-mask, or a comfy sweater, pack whatever you need that allows you to relax, and grab a little shut-eye.