17 Ways to Improve Your Flight Experience

I’ve flown on 50+ flights this year and after a while of making mistakes and terrible decisions, I began collecting tips and tricks to make my flight experience a little bit better. Here are 17 tips and tricks if you’re new to flying, or if you’re just in for a good read!

1. Bring a sweater/jacket and sweats.

I have no clue why but airlines LOVE to make you freeze.  Before take-off, you’ll notice that it’s often uncomfortably warm, and once the plane is in the air: BAM. The cold air smacks you in the face. I usually get terribly cold on most flights, and the worst part is the cold air on your knees and arms. Solution? Bring a jacket or sweater, and sweats. If you’re flying to a sunny destination, dress in layers. The great thing about this is you can also take off some weight off your checked bag(s)!

2. Bring Floss for long-haul flights.

If you’re on a flight with a meal, bringing floss may be a good idea. I’ve had food uncomfortably stuck between my teeth on long flights, making the flight quite miserable.

3. Learn how to hand over your passport and boarding pass the right way.

Not only is this tip useful for you, it’s also quite useful for the people around you. I usually slip my boarding pass onto the same page as my photo page or the Visa on my passport, so security doesn’t have to spend time flipping through my passport and asking for my boarding pass. 

4. Carry a Pen.

You’ll never know when you’ll need a pen, and more than often you’ll be needing to fill out immigration/declaration forms when entering or exiting another country. Lending your pen to others is also a great conversation starter!

5. Board Last, Get out ASAP.

Unless you have a lot of carry-on baggage there is usually no rush getting on board. I’ve seen people stand in line for no reason. I usually start lining up when the line shortens. Plus, most of the time they’ll just be a line-up on the plane, and some flights will require a bus to take you to the plane. Getting on board faster doesn’t equal departing faster. However, if you have lots of carry-on baggage, you’ll want to get in there first to reserve space on the overhead compartments. I’ve been threatened to check my carry-on because of lack of space (which is not great because of my equipment).

Getting out is a different story. I usually try to get out as soon as possible, so I can be first to immigration/passport control. I’ve once spent one hour at immigration!

6. Hungry? Ask for more food!

I learnt this one from a friend who’s a flight attendant. If you’re on a flight that serves meals and you’re still hungry after eating, feel free to ask for more food! Usually, they’ll be happy to offer you more. I can account for this tip!

7. Flying budget? Be careful.

Budget airlines such as Easyjet, WOWair or Ryanair are amazing, but they also have a reason for being budget airlines. Some airlines will not provide meals, snacks, or even water on flights (including long flights), and the food on board is EXPENSIVE. I spent $7 USD for a cup noodle once. More importantly, flying budget usually means no checked baggage, and sometimes not even a carry-on (personal item only). This is where they usually make money, making them equally expensive as regular airlines. So be careful when booking budget airlines, as sometimes it is cheaper to go with a regular airline.

8. Purchase extra baggage online if you can.

I learnt this one the hard way. Purchasing checked-baggage online is often cheaper than doing it at the airport. I flew with AirAsia once, and because I had an extra bag I wanted to check in, they wanted to charge me 60$ USD (which was the same price as my flight). They told me that if I had done it online, it would have only been 25$. So plan ahead!

9. Drink plenty of water.

Planes are virus havens. You’re in a metal box filled with sick people, so stay hydrated as much as possible. There is an unspoken rule where you’re supposed to drink a cup of water for every hour of your flight over four hours. Being that high up in the air also makes you quite dehydrated, and you’ll be noticeably thirsty when you’re flying long distances. Also, save the environment and use a water bottle if you can!

10. Don’t get to the airport too early!

Most airlines don’t open their gates until 3 hours prior to departure. Don’t show up too early or you’ll be very bored.

11. Fight the Jet-lag.

Jet lag SUCKS. Read my blog about how to combat Jetlag.

12. Walk Around!

If you’re on a long flight, feel free to walk around on board. Chat with flight attendants when they’re not busy, and just stretch your legs. It’ll make your flight a lot more comfortable, and your legs will thank you for it. You can also use compression socks, but personally, I don’t use them.

13. Vitamin C and hand sanitizer can save your trip.

If you’re prone to getting sick easily, bringing some vitamin C on board and some hand sanitizer is a great idea. Like I said earlier, airplanes are virus havens, so make sure you aren’t sick before your trip begins by being protected.

14. Noise Cancelling Headphones are Life.

Crying babies. Snoring. airplanes noises. All that can go away with a simple solution: noise cancelling headphones! Earplugs work too, but you can’t listen to music at the same time. My personal favorite (although a bit on the pricey side $250USD) is the Bose QuietComfort® 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. They are amazing for quality and have awesome customer support. I accidentally ripped the cable and they were able to send me a replacement free of charge in less than a week! Hands down the best in my opinion.

15. Mobile Check-In/Passport Control

If the country you’re visiting as mobile check-in, DO IT. Download the app, it will speed up your immigration process by a lot. This is very useful for Canada-US travel.

16. Don’t fly if you have a sinus infection. DON’T.

Unless you want to experience pain, don’t fly if you have an infection. Essentially, “the air pressure in the sinuses and middle ear must equilibrate with the cabin pressure inside the aeroplane, which changes during ascent and descent. Certain infections and other conditions can cause blockage in the Eustachian tube and this restriction to the flow of air can prevent the equalization, or equilibration, of pressure and result in pain” (read more here).

17. Make yourself comfortable, but be respectful.

That’s kind of it! Essentially, make yourself as comfortable as possible, and stay healthy. Keep in mind there are other people around you, so if your feet smell maybe wear some socks. If you’re sick, try to postpone your flight. Make conversation, and be excited about your trip!

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17 Tips to Improve your Flight Experience by LifewithElliott

Cover photo by Samael Lopez via. Unsplash.com.

Elliott Chau