As I spend hours pouring through travel sites and airline sites hunting for the best route and most convenient flights possible to visit my boyfriend when he goes back to the States [thus kickstarting our long-distance relationship, which also kickstarts my fury/ depression at the world], I start dreading the long-haul journey.
I hate flying. Hate it. It's not that I have a paranoia of plunging to my death in an airplane - I have that paranoia, but it's not a big deal; I get myself into more ridiculous death-defying situations more often than I can count that being in a plane doesn't scare me.
It's the waiting. It's the counting down. It's the person who's constantly coughing four rows back, and the person who's sneezing from across the aisle. It's more waiting. It's the rubber they serve as food. It's getting into a plane and realising it's an old plane, which means you don't have in-flight entertainment at your seat, but you have a massive screen that shows mating habits of hippos. Or walruses. It's the parents that don't drug their crying child.
There are occasions when I fly business for work, or get bumped up, and while it gets the teeniest better, the waiting time still wrecks me.
Luckily, I love travelling [and I love J] more than I hate flying. So I'll continue sucking it up.
Here are some ways to survive cattle class:
Prepare Thy Meds
I am a hypochondriac, and a long-haul flight is the worse place to be, second to a hospital. The stale air, the germs that are in the stale air, and threaten to plague the stale air that you'll be in for the next half of the day is not a walk in the park. Bring all the medication you might need - you won't know if the person next to you has pet dander on them that might trigger allergies. Make sure you carry prescription medication in their original packaging in case security officials ask about them.
Charge Your Gadgets
On a long-haul journey, I would typically carry a lot of gadgets in my bag. I've acquired and tossed out some gadgets [my iPod Nano, for example, has recently died on me] so my next trip will see me carrying: my MacBook Air, my Kindle, my camera, my iPhone, and my Clarisonic Mia. While top passenger carriers offer entertainment options and even charging options at your seat, it's better to be safe than to want to pull your hair out four hours into an 11-hour flight.
Whether it is that you're allergic to half the things they serve on a plane, or you're just trying to make sure you keep up your calorie count, packing your own snacks can make all the difference. I always carry an apple and a travel-sized bottle of Tabasco sauce. Heh heh.
Have you ever noticed you'd suddenly get overly cold, and then later overly warm on a flight? At least I do. The ability to shed or don layers can be helpful and knits can double up as super comfy blankets!
Hold on to Your Personal Space
Sometimes when you're stuffed like a can of sardines in a metallic flying thinggie in the air, not having enough space to yourself can get to your head. Arm yourself with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and plug it into the in-flight entertainment system. Even if they're not plugged to anything, a good pair will make sure you won't have to put up with the inane blabbering from the people next to you.
Sync Your Sleep
Chances are, if you're flying long-haul, you'd be in a completely different time zone, so instead of popping a Tylenol PM the moment you step into the plane, sync up your sleep with the time of the place you're heading to. This will make sure you're not going to be hit with killer jetlag when you get to your destination.
Wear Appropriate Shoes
Leave your heels in your check-in suitcase. Feet tend to swell at high elevations, making shoes uncomfortable. There are several ways to relieve the pressure: Wear relaxed-fit or slip-on shoes, hydrate before and during the flight, walk down the aisles, and don't cross your legs. Also, if you decide to remove your shoes whilst seated, make sure you put them on before you go to the bathroom. God only knows what linger on the floor of the airplane bathroom! I usually wear Converse Chucks onboard a plane, and change into comfy wooly socks while I'm seated.
Flying gets me extremely dehydrated - more than what is normal because I'm a mouth breather [my nose is permanently stuck]. Once I get to the airport, into the departure area, I get to the nearest 7-11 and get a bigass bottle of water and have them put the bottle in a tape-seal bag which I bring on board the plane. This way, I won't annoy the flight attendant by asking for water every half-an-hour, and I don't have to annoy myself by getting up to get a glass of water. I also make sure I have my lip balm handy.
What do you do to make sure you get through long-haul flights without killing yourself?