Posted by Carter | Under Travel Tips
Friday Jun 13, 2014
Airplane Essentials: How to Enhance Your In-flight Experience
With every airplane ticket I book, before I hit the payment confirmation button, I take a moment to fantasize and reflect on the pampered luxury heaped upon those travelers with the financial freedom to occupy the first class cabin as opposed to coach, or as I like to call it, the bullpen. However, the necessary steps it would take to fund those golden tickets (e.g. offering up a firstborn child, mortgaging a home, selling a kidney), always seem a bit excessive when weighing the amount of time I could benefit from them.
The days of simple, free airline amenities offering small creature comforts from blankets and pillows, to pretzels and headphones have come and gone, making it necessary to take measures into our own hands. In lieu of going to extremes to purchase the premier flight experience, here is a little advice to bookmark with a checklist of airplane essentials I’ve found have enhanced my coach class experiences.
Are You Sleeping?
Bring a neck pillow and wear it around your neck as you board the plane to avoid taking up valuable space in your carry-on luggage. Some passengers may look askance at you initially, but their contemptuous glances in the terminal will change to sidelong looks of envy when you’re resting comfortably during a sky-high siesta. Inflatable versions are also available, but I personally prefer the pre-stuffed horseshoe pillows as opposed to the blowup styles.
The interior of airplanes tends to be more wintry than not, but unless you’re planning to visit an equally, or more severely cold destination at the other end of your flight, it’s easier to just bring a small, compact blanket or sweater to guard against the chill.
Even on an evening flight, an eye mask ensures you have a more sleep-friendly level of darkness for when restless neighbors play disco with the overhead lights and the screen on their electronic devices illuminates the aisles. It also sends a polite signal to your seatmates that you’re enjoying a measure of private time.
A set of ear plugs is an invaluable asset. If you’re seated near a snorer, someone courting deafness with the volume of their headphones, or a further miscellany of potential noisy intrusions, these little beauties will drown out the sound.
TIP: A sad reality is that thieves tend to target people who appear to be travelers. The advantage an inflatable neck pillow has over the ready-to-use version is that it’s easily stowable, removing one obvious sign that you’re not a local.
When you’re not resting or striking up a conversation with the seat next door, avoid a case of the doldrums with some ready entertainment.
I always bring a book (yeah, I’m old school like that), a set of five dice (for Yahtzee and Zonk), a deck of cards, and a magazine of mixed crossword puzzles as my primary means of mental stimulation.
Keeping up with work necessitates having my laptop handy, which means the perks of pre-downloaded games, movies, music and other electronically fueled amusements are also at my fingertips. Obviously, this also works for other tech-oriented devices, depending on your preference.
Headphones aren’t just convenient to have, they’re also polite to use in public places! Noise cancelling are the best! A headphone jack splitter is a petite piece of equipment that has been good to have for the mutual benefit of visual and auditory sharing with friends.
TIP: Charge your electronic devices fully prior to boarding, and bringing an additional battery source never hurts.
There are many things that if lost, misplaced or stolen can be easily replaced when you’re traveling, but medications aren’t one of them. If you have prescriptions of any kind make sure they’re placed in the bag that remains with you.
TIP: Keep these in a clear, plastic bag along with your travel-size toiletries to get through security checks faster.
Whether this section is beneficial to you will depend largely on whether you choose to check luggage or not. If you consign your suitcases to the underbelly of the airplane, then read on. Otherwise, I’d skip ahead to Munching and Crunching!
I’ve had my luggage…I won’t say lost, because the airline has always seemed to know where it was, but my bags have been inconveniently misplaced more than once when I’ve checked them (this happens more often than you realize). To avoid arriving with nothing but the travel-worn clothes on your back for an indeterminate period, pack an extra set of garments in your carry-ons. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just functional. At the very least, include an additional pair or two of skivvies. Next to the inclusion of a toothbrush and toothpaste, which you should always keep with you in travel sizes, a fresh pair of undergarments is a refreshing change during a layover or after a long flight. It may sound odd, but try it, seriously.
TIP: Using compression bags helps keep clothing items clean and using a fraction of the space.
Munching and Crunching
With the number of restrictions that have been implemented in regards to food and beverage items, we’re at the mercy of the restaurants, bars and kiosks in the airport terminals. Once you’ve made it through security and are waiting to depart, there are typically a variety of options to stock up on snacks and bevvies for a comparatively small fortune. Check in advance to see what, if any meal options your flight has to offer before you decide whether you should stock up in advance, or feel confident in paying for whatever they have available.
TIP: If you want to avoid the unpleasantness of your ears popping during the airplane ascent and descent, bring some gum to chew!
As most flights currently allow you two carry-ons, I stow any items that aren’t needed during the flight in the second, larger bag that is kept in the overhead compartments. The aforementioned items go in a smaller satchel that is placed under the seat directly in front of me.
It (should) go without saying that any travel funds, including cash and credit, passport and important documentation are some of the things that should unquestionably be in your immediate vicinity as well.
Further Benefits to You
The use of these airplane essentials also translates to your comfort level while touring in your Kemwel car rental! Who knows where your road tripping adventures will take you?
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