Let’s face it: any airplane flight that is more than 2 hours can often become excruciatingly painful – like the 15 hour plane ride from Toronto to Hong Kong. Babies crying, restless children, 13 year old princesses who insist that they are cramped, low grade airplane food, and the countdown of knowing that you’re stuck on the plane for another x amount of hours.
We’ve put together a number of items that we’ve found are the top 10 necessary must have items for long airplane flights – so that when you fly, you won’t die of boredom, get sick, or want to kill your fellow passengers.
10) Supportive Pillow. The u-shaped pillows that conform around your neck have been popular for many years and they are sold in practically every terminal’s gift shop. These are great for those who like to get some sleep during their flight and want to minimize any neck stiffness or “floppy head” syndrome.
9) Toiletries. Lip balm, moisturizer, eye drops, toothbrush,face cloth, face wash. The air on planes is dreadfully dry and recycled. To save your lips from bleeding, bring some lip balm, moisturizing for your hands, and eye drops). For overnight or extremely long flights, the best way to freshen up is to brush your teeth and wash your face before you face your new destination or before you return home.
8) Thera-Band. These resistive bands made of rubber are used for exercising, training, and physical therapy. The best part is that they fold up and can fit in your pocket or bag! They’re exceptional as a way to stay active during your flight in your own seat or in the aisle of the plane, and they’ll help you stretch out your muscles and strengthen your joints.
7) Air Purifier or Ionizier. This small device comes in many different models that are the size of a matchbox or mp3 player that you can hang around your neck during your flight. Air purifier makers claim that these can help filter and reduce bacteria, pollen, allergens, dust, mould spores, dander, smoke, and other pollutants around you during your flight.
6) Snacks. Many airlines no longer include meals during the flight, but rather offer meals, snacks, alcohol, and candy to be purchased. I definitely cannot complain about this one – and so an easy way to ease the munchies is to eat before flying and to bring a variety of snacks on the plane. Keep them relatively un-messy and unobtrusive to your fellow passengers.
5) Water Bottle/Liquids. Your body undergoes quite a bit of stress when flying, both mentally and physically. The best way to avoid getting headaches, dry or irritated skin, body aches, and muscle/joint stiffness – is to stay hydrated and drink lots of water. You’ll be amazed at how this can help your flight experience! In many airports, you are not allowed to take water into the terminal, so you’ll have to buy a large bottle to last you through your flight – the drink cart can often leave you thirstier.
4) Reading Material. Sure, you could do some work or polish off your philosophy paper on the plane – but one of the best ways to pass time is to pick up a mystery or suspense novel. They keep your mind engaged and unconcerned with how many more minutes are left in a flight. If you’re traveling for leisure, during your flight is a great time to read through your guide book – it gets you excited and helps you make some last minute corrections or plans for your coming destination. Magazines are also great!
3) Entertainment. A plane’s music and movie selection is not often too stellar. For those who count down the minutes of boredom on a flight, a great way to pass time is to bring on your iPod/mp3 player to listen to some music along the way. More and more people are bringing their laptops along with them when they travel – for business or to get some work done on the flight – but they’re great for watching movies and catching up on the last season of The Office or Heroes. Don’t forget extra batteries. Other entertainment gadgets: cards, pocket games, puzzles. Also, consider Apple’s January 2008 release: the Macbook AIR (3 pounds and completely wireless!) – the perfect laptop for all travellers hoping to stay tied down and wire free!
2) Headphones. Most airplane headphones are poor quality headphones and now come at a cost of $2-5. Save your money by bringing your own headphones. They can help block out your neighbours’ conversations, the clanging cart noises, and the crying baby a few rows back.
1) Game Plan. Before you even see the airport, the best way to have a great flight is to have your game plan ready. Make sure you’ve chosen an airline you know and trust who won’t leave you stranded in Timbuktu for 2 days. Choose your seats strategically – for more leg room, opt for the aisle or exit rows, and for those who want to sleep, opt for the window seats. Don’t eat anything questionable or drink too much coffee or alcohol before getting on the plane – minimizing stomach aches and dehydration will significantly help your flight!