If you’ve been on a plane lately, the odds are your flying experience wasn’t as great as the travel companies make it out to be in their brochures.
Screaming children, hostile passengers, huge carryon bags, frequent delays, lost luggage and even air rage are all things fliers have to deal with.
I don’t travel too often (about 2-3 times per year) but when I do, there are a few tricks I use to make flying just a little bit more comfortable.
When airlines first started charging to choose your seat in advance, naturally I avoided the extra cost.
Airlines are great at taking away basic things (like the ability to choose your own seat) and then charging customers for those things. As a shareholder I would love this idea, but as a customer it just makes travel more expensive.
After one trip from last year where we weren’t able to sit together, I decided to bite the bullet and pay the extra $20 (per passenger) for the ability to choose our seats in advance for the last holiday.
It was one of the best choices I made; we now don’t have to make awkward conversation with strangers and I was able to get a preferred aisle seat near the front of the plane which helped because I am tall and find the middle seats fairly cramped.
It led to a more enjoyable experience because I didn’t have the anxiety that comes with ‘rolling the dice’ and just taking whatever seats are available when I check in for the flight.
When it comes to food, airlines don’t have the best reputation. Luckily most airlines offer some decent selection of onboard snacks and beverages.
Of course these are things that used to come for free, but now customers must pay for them.
Now when I fly I make sure to buy a couple of the snacks they have available using a prepaid voucher, that way I don’t have to worry about having cash/credit on hand.
At first I didn’t think it would make much of a difference, but it’s funny how something as a bag of chips, candies or a cookie can go a long ways in making things a little bit better.
Sleeping on the Airplane
I’ve never been one to fully fall asleep on an airplane but a little rest would always help. One way I’ve been able to rest easier on the plane is by using a neck pillow – the ones that curve around your neck and are made of soft padding. Given that space is so cramped on an airplane it’s important to make the best use of the space you do have, and a neck pillow goes a long ways. I bought one at a travel store for about $20 and I’ve seen them for sale at almost all major airports.
I also pack some earplugs which also help reduce the noise. They are especially helpful for longer flights when travelling through different time zones and sleep becomes more important.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
My biggest splurge of the Christmas season was a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones. They weren’t cheap (about $300) but they’re worth every penny.
Trying them out in the store is deceiving – you need to try them out in real life situations to see how good they are. In an airplane they are excellent at reducing all the background noise. When I’m watching a movie on the plane with my headphones on I literally can’t hear anything else; it means whatever movie I’m watching becomes that much more enjoyable.
I don’t have a Nexus card, but I may get one in the future. In case you aren’t aware, a Nexus card is a card that gives low-risk travellers pre-clearance for airport security. Rather than waiting in the regular line Nexus card holders use automated self-serve kiosks that are designed to save time.
Big lineups at the airport can make travel frustrating, especially during peak travel times, and a Nexus card would help to alleviate that.
The cards cost $50 and are valid for 5 years. Click here to find out more about them.
Conclusion: travel during peak times can be frustrating but I have found that snacks, advanced seat selection, high quality headphones and a neck pillow are some of the things I use to make travel less horrible.
What do you use to make travel more comfortable?