Be it for a business trip or on your way to your next holiday destination, flying is no unfamiliar experience to most of us. But what are some ways we can make our journey more enjoyable, or at the very least, make time pass quickly while we’re on the plane? As someone who is a regular passenger on the longest scheduled direct flight in the world, let me share with you some personal tips and tricks that I’ve learnt over the years.
BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT
There are many, many reasons why checking in online the night before your flight is so important. In the sadly increasingly likely event that your flight is overbooked, online check-in makes sure that you will already have a selected seat. Besides, it’s always nice to be able to choose your own seats based on your personal preference. This might also put you in an earlier boarding group as a result. Also, it saves you lots of time at the airport the next day if you print out your own boarding pass because you don’t have to queue if you’re not checking in any luggage.
If you’re travelling somewhere cold in winter, the temperature and humidity difference between your destination and Singapore can be astounding. But you don’t want to be freezing the minute you step off the plane or burning up the second you step out of Changi. The solution? Dress in layers. Going somewhere cold? Pack a sweatshirt or a sweater in your carry-on. In fact, this can be useful during your flight as well, as the air-conditioning on the plane isn’t always set at a comfortable temperature. On the other hand, if you’re returning from somewhere cold, wear a shirt on the inside so you can remove your coat or sweater once you get on the plane or after landing. Another useful clothing item to have are warm socks.
I can speak from first-hand experience when I say that having to discard items at a foreign airport because your luggage is overweight and you don’t want to pay a hefty fee is one of the worst feelings ever. So don’t make the same mistake I did and check the baggage policies and fees of your flight beforehand. No more panicking and scrambling to repack your luggage at the airport!
Unless your luggage is a bright neon colour, it’s not easy to identify it on the baggage claim belt. Getting a luggage tag or even simply tying a recognisable ribbon to your luggage will make your life much easier after you get off the plane. This also makes sure no one else accidentally takes your luggage.
If you plan to spend a lot of your time on the plane sleeping (which you should), a travel pillow will surely come in very handy. Sleeping on the plane can’t be compared to sleeping in your own bed at home, but with a neck pillow, you don’t have to worry about waking up with neck pains. It’s worth investing in a good quality neck pillow that you feel comfortable with as it will last you for a long time and is one less thing for you to stress about before every flight.
It may seem insignificant, but a pen is more useful than you think when travelling to foreign countries that require you to fill up an arrival card. Instead of having to wait till you arrive at customs to fill out your form, you can do it on the plane and save yourself a ton of time.
Noise-cancelling Headphones & Sleeping Mask
The headphones or earbuds provided by most airlines are generally not noise-cancelling enough for light sleepers. Similarly, it may be hard to combat jetlag when all you want to do is sleep, but it’s blindingly bright outside in the clouds or the cabin lights are turned on. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a sleeping mask should do the trick and help to ensure you are able to get your much-needed rest on the plane.
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DURING YOUR FLIGHT
Read a Book
Surviving without wifi can be rough for most of us in this age when we are so dependent on social media. But you don’t need wifi to read a book. And if you find an interesting one, it can definitely keep you entertained for hours. Just think about it – there was a time when we didn’t have our phones, and we survived perfectly fine just reading in our free time.
Listen to a Podcast
In case you still want to make use of your phone, you can always download a few podcasts to listen to. Choose from topics that interest you and you’ll find time passing very quickly while you’re on the plane. Podcasts are also extremely convenient and easy to use.
Stretching & Moving
If you are taking a long flight, it’s important that you get up from your seat from time to time and walk around. You’ll want to keep your blood circulation flowing through your legs to avoid the risk of getting deep vein thrombosis, also known as blood clotting. This sounds scary but is easy to avoid as long as you remember to move around every two hours or so. While in your seat, you can also practice simple stretches such as neck and shoulder rolls or calf raises.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but drinking lots of water is always beneficial to your health and body no matter where you are. You don’t have to wait till the cabin crew starts serving drinks! Bring an empty water bottle with you that you can fill up after going through security checks or purchase a bottle at the airport. If you need a reminder to get up and walk around (refer to the previous tip), drinking plenty of water can help with that too. A trip to the bathroom is also considered walking after all!
Jet lag is no fun. In fact, you might feel pretty exhausted after a plane ride, no matter what time it is. The key to making sure you still have enough energy to last through the day wherever you are is to try to maximise the amount of sleep you get on the plane. If you are able to, choosing a window seat can help a lot with this. It gives you a place to lean your head on and saves you the trouble of others stepping all over you whenever they go to the bathroom. But of course, a travel pillow, noise-cancelling headphones and a sleeping mask would be extremely useful too. If you’re still struggling to sleep, try not to use your phone or any other device too much.
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HURRY! Promotions end on 4 JULY 2019!