Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Better at the Basics: Flying High-Maintenance
There are lots of tips out there for flying with babies and kids, but I need a little help too. Flying is a pretty lousy experience for everyone, right? I legitimately fear for those around me when the day arrives that children are involved. There have been times on cross-country flights when I was pretty sure I was losing my mind. It usually happens somewhere over Montana. My flight from NYC to LA a couple weeks ago inspired some tips. If you get a little whiny while traveling, these might help ease your pain.
1) Just relax. I'm the kind of person who gets all worked up over delays, cancellations, annoying people and all the rest. But the last time I flew, Louis C.K.'s rant about flying/"everything is amazing and nobody is happy" kept replaying in my head. Flying through the sky is amazing and when I'm flying it usually means I'm on vacation, so I'm trying to stop complaining (and tweeting) about my airport woes. This mindset helped me cope with a 4-hour delay the last time I flew.
2) Investigate. I want to know why I'm delayed and for how long, and I always think, "What aren't they telling us?" There are some apps and websites that allow you to track your aircraft's status like FlightView.com. This way you don't feel so powerless when it comes to information, and it gives you something to do.
3) Beauty and comfort. I try to wear less makeup than usual, bring moisturizer, lip balm and wear my glasses instead of contacts on long flights since plane air is the enemy of all things good. Another tip I heard recently, the side pony. It gets your hair out of the way without leaving it all smashed. I always bring a pair of socks and a cardigan with me for layering, and on my last flight, I wore a long jersey dress, possibly the most comfortable flying outfit ever, and I didn't look like a slob.
4) Listen up. I'm a secret fan of eavesdropping in general, but airport and airplane eavesdropping can be pretty great. I recently overhead a conversation about the club scene in Jerusalem and a girl force her older brother to pick his favorite One Direction member. I also love listening to accents and trying to figure out whether people are going, coming or just visiting.
5) Entertain me. I love when planes have TVs. If I'm flying JetBlue, it's pretty much a guarantee that I will end up watching some version of The Real Housewives. If you have a personal DVD player or an iPad, it's a great time to catch up on Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey or whatever else. A few episodes of television, especially those 1-hour dramas, kills a lot of time. I usually mix in a good book and This American Life podcasts to get some variety.
6) Treats! I like to bring real food on flights so I can avoid airplane food and airport food. Fruit, unsalted nuts and a favorite chocolate bar will seem like such a treat when you're starting to get bored, hungry and stir-crazy ... somewhere over Montana.
Any tips that make flying more bearable for you?