How to Have a More Comfortable Flight

Written by Allison Bordewick on

Whether you’re a novice or a frequent flyer, there’s one thing we all seek out when thinking about our next airplane ride: comfort. The vast array of snacks and beverages, the Ostrich Pillow, and not to mention the rise of tablets for in-flight entertainment just shows that travelers and airlines alike are seeking out the most effective way to ensure customers have a comfortable flight. During the recent holiday travel period, United Airlines even “employed” 230 trained comfort dogs to greet travelers at a handful of airports across the country.1 Here are a few tips to keep your comfort level high on your next journey.

Choose the best seat

Aside from choosing your flights based on the airline that offers the most legroom or trying to get a free upgrade to first class, there are a few things you can do to ensure you maximize comfort during your flight. Typically, seats in the bulkhead (the first row of economy class) or emergency exit rows tend to have more legroom, although many of these seats do not recline.2 You can also check out sites like to review the plane’s layout and seats you might want to avoid.

What to pack/wear

Layers lend themselves to be the most convenient with temperature changes, especially when going from a sunny terminal to a freezing cabin. The layers you’re not wearing can also double as a pillow for some in-flight shut-eye. Clothing with many pockets can be useful to stash snacks, antibacterial wipes, or a spare set of headphones. Wear comfortable shoes that are easy to get on and off; you’ll need them to get through security, and you can get a little more relaxed during your flight simply by slipping them off (as long as your feet aren’t smelly).

Keeping yourself nourished

As tempting as the salty snacks and mini bottles of alcohol on the flight attendant’s cart may be, try to stick with the following instead:

  • Water to help you look fresh upon landing
  • Lean protein, such as edamame, turkey or beef jerky, and nuts
  • Fruit and veggies to keep yourself hydrated; plus they’re usually pretty low-odor so you don't offend your neighbors

Catching some zzz’s

This may be the most elusive of all the tips: sleeping while in the air. Not only do the cramped conditions and loud noises make it difficult to get comfortable, the fact that there are strangers all around you can definitely make catching some shut-eye a challenge. Depending on what side you sleep on at home, choose the side of the plane, along with a window seat, to try and recreate your ideal sleeping position. Another great tip is to avoid medication and alcohol to make you sleepy by starting a varied sleep schedule a few days before your flight.3 Bring the items you use at home (such as the Transcend® miniCPAP™) to try and recreate the sleep you usually get. By the time you take off, you’ll be ready to start dozing.

No matter where you’re going, having a comfortable flight is always a bonus. By just making a few simple adjustments, you can expect a more comfortable flight and arrive at your destination looking refreshed and ready to explore.

1Vasel, Kathryn. "Travel Fur-cast Just Got Less Stressful: United Airlines Adds Comfort Dogs." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 21 Dec. 2015. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.
2Hill, Catey. "7 Secrets for Getting the Most Comfortable Airline Seat." MarketWatch. MarketWatch, 27 Nov. 2015. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.
3Edelstein, Julia. "How to Sleep on a Plane." Real Simple. Time Inc. Lifestyle Group, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.

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