Feel good on arrival: tips for comfortable air travel
Airlines now offer many great in-flight facilities to accommodate the needs and comforts of travellers as best as they can. Entertainment systems, Wi-Fi access, and flat beds are some of the comforts available on some flights. Despite this, the effects of a long flight can be draining and can leave you feeling worse for wear. Here are some tips for maximising your comfort in the air, so that you can get on with your travel plans on arrival.
Tips for comfortable air travel
There is nothing more uncomfortable than wearing a tight and inflexible outfit on a long flight. Put on loose-fitting clothes that you can relax in and remember to bring something warm onboard like a light jacket or jumper for when it gets chilly. Wear comfortable shoes - ones that you can easily slip in and out of. If you need to look sharp on arrival, pack your post-flight outfit into your carry-on luggage.
To avoid feeling parched by the time the plane lands, remember to drink lots of water and stay away from caffeinated or alcoholic beverages during the flight, as these will dehydrate you. Pack lip balm, moisturiser and eye drops into your hand luggage, although make sure you comply with Australia's travel regulations for liquids, aerosols and gels. If you wear contacts, put on glasses to be more comfortable during the flight and leave the contacts packed away until you arrive at your destination.
A combination of low cabin pressure and sitting in one position for an extended period can cause your legs to feel stiff. On long-haul flights, moving around the plane when permitted every hour or so for a few minutes can boost circulation and help to avoid stiffness. Good ways to release the tension in your legs include walking up and down the aisles of the cabin, rotating your ankles and stretching your legs. Moving around can also help reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) as explained below.
Get some sleep
Getting some rest on the plane can be difficult, especially on flights that are scheduled during the day. However, a few hours of sleep can do wonders for your energy levels, even if it is sleeping for half an hour here and there. Whether it's listening to music or reading a book, find a way to relax and unwind. Travel pillows, eye masks and noise-cancelling headphones are good investments for the frequent flyer.
Refresh yourself before landing
If you're prone to feeling (and looking) a little dishevelled after a flight, try brushing your teeth or cleaning your face for a little pick me up. Also don't forget to take advantage of any hot towels and toiletry kits that are offered on the flight - a quick cleanse can go a long way.
Take advantage of airport facilities
If you're due for a stopover before arriving at your final destination, make use of the airport's facilities before your next flight. Some international airports are equipped with hair-salon, massage and physiotherapy services for transit passengers, while others offer showers, childcare facilities, cinemas and mini-golfi. Skytrax's World Airport Awards 2013 lists the top 10 in total traveller experience, including but not exclusive to airport style, comfort and easei:
- 1. Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore
- 2. Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea
- 3. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, The Netherlands
- 4. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
- 5. Beijing Capital International Airport, China
- 6. Munich Airport, Germany
- 7. Zürich Airport, Switzerland
- 8. Vancouver International Airport, Canada
- 9. Tokyo (Haneda) International Airport, Japan
- 10. London Heathrow Airport, U.K.
Long-haul plane flights can be uncomfortable, but for some they can also pose serious health risks. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a deep leg vein and can develop after long periods of immobility, such as on long flightsii. The reduced cabin pressure and reduced oxygen levels in a plane may also be contributing factorsii. While the increased risk of DVT from travel is small, it's still important to take necessary precautions to reduce the riskii. Stretching and moving around regularly as well as staying hydrated are measures you can take to reduce the risk of DVTii. If you are concerned you may develop DVT, it's best to talk to your GP for professional medical advice before you travel.