Friday, April 11, 2008

Plane Survival

When airplane travel began, it was expensive and glamorous.

I don’t need to tell you that flying today is mentally and physically exhausting, requiring a survival of the fittest attitude. By the time you squish into your tiny seat on the aircraft, you've traveled to the airport and stood on how many lines? --check in, security, boarding... All necessary for the miracle of air travel, but still. Being prepared is the key to controlling the cramped fatigue and perhaps, turning your flight into an almost pleasant experience.

Food is scarce and getting worse on flights. Being hungry on a plane adds to your general level of misery and/or anxiety. So…

Pack gummies or fruit candy. Gummies are friendly and cheerful, comforting and not messy.

Pack crackers or cookies. I’ve often looked over with envious eyes at people who had thought to bring a little snack on the plane.

When you make your reservation, order the vegetarian meal even if you’re not a vegetarian. For some reason, the airlines pay more attention to the special meals. You get served first, before anyone else and are not waiting for the cart to make its inexorably slow way down the aisle. At that altitude, light food with low salt is what your body can handle, instead of sticky, over salted mush, or sticky, over salted tough stuff. Also, on vegetarian meals they always put fresh fruit or a fruit salad.

Better yet, eat before you get on the plane or bring a wonderful, gourmet sandwich that you bought at your favorite deli or made at home.

Learn about good airport restaurants. Pappadeaux in Houston International has some of the best seafood I’ve eaten anywhere.

Try to sit in the front of the plane. Lower engine noise is somehow less tiring on the mind.

An aisle seat makes it easy for you to get up and move. Very important for long trips. Get up and stretch once each hour so you don’t have heart and leg problems. This is not an “old person’s” problem, it happens to young people too. Swollen ankles are a sign that something is very wrong.
A window seat is good for sleeping on long haul flights. But don’t feel embarrassed about asking your seatmates for a chance to pass through. Continue to get up and walk around.

Planes are always cold. Take your own pashmina. Take cozy airplane socks. Your feet will swell and feel tight if you keep shoes on for long distance flights. An eyeshade really tunes you out of the world. An inflatable pillow is a must. Keeps you from that head dropping with jerk up reaction and the open mouth, which is so attractive.

Drink H2O every time they offer it to you. The pressurized air in the cabins is so dry... it can dry a wet terry cloth towel in half an hour. Dehydration contributes to jet lag and travel malaise.

Planes are rife with germs. Take some Airborne or Vitamin C fizzy tablets and plop one into the water every few hours. Use your hand wipes.

Many happy landings.

No comments: