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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

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How to Survive a 10-Hour Flight Like a Lady

Have you ever woken up on a plane one hour after taking a sleeping pill, with your headphones wire etched into your cheek, completely covered in sweat while simultaneously freezing and more hungry than you’ve ever been in your life? Were both of your legs asleep? Did you have a trail of masala-scented drool all down your shirt? Did you check the in-flight map and realize there were sill 10 more hours left on your flight? Did you cry a little bit? Did the girl next to you see you cry, nod in solidarity, and offer you her magazine? Because that was me.

As an expat in Asia, 15-hour plane rides are a big part of my life now. I actually look forward to them for months, since they usually result in a cheeseburger. Whether you're flying for business or pleasure (have you ever thought about how weird that phrase is?), there are several factors to consider surrounding how you survive this plane flight, including: Do you get hungry when you're bored, how bedraggled do you want to look, does your skin gets oily or dry under pressure, how much work stuff you have to bring on the flight, how long you can hold your pee, and are you over five foot eight. Here’s what my journeys have taught me:

Have you thought of upgrading to business class? I’ve heard it’s more comfortable there. JUST KIDDING.

First things first: What are you going to eat? I get incredibly hungry on long flights. I’d like to think I would be capable going 15 hours without food during my normal life, but on a flight this is simply not possible. Some plane food is quite palatable in my humble opinion, but the question is whether you want to wait around for the nice attendant to bring whatever you may or may not be interested in putting into your stomach at that time. Are you ready for fried spicy potato balls at 8 a.m. “your time”? Are you ready for sticky sweet rice pudding before you’ve had dinner? And a lot of airlines are charging for food now! What happened to unlimited tiny pretzels!?

Pack snacks. Yes, they are allowed. The best snacks are small but nutritionally dense, don’t smell (I’m looking at you, tunafish), don’t rot, don’t require a fork, and can take a long time to eat, since you’ll want to be passing the time. Hopefully they also won’t cause a severe allergic reaction for another passenger — so far so good with that one. You also don’t want to be dealing with Tupperware or gladware that you will have to throw out or carry around with you for the rest of your trip.

Here’s what I bring*: at least eight whole wheat (or spelt, gluten-free, whatever) cracker sandwiches with chunky peanut butter wrapped up in tin foil. Baggy of almonds. Baggy of Honeynut Cheerios, or equivalent. Dried apricots wrapped up in tinfoil. Baggy of baby carrots, cucumber sticks. At least one apple and not-too-ripe banana (I recommend tin foil inside a baggy for this one). Couple squares of dark chocolate in tin foil. Ha ha, just kidding, bring the whole bar. Put all those foods into one lunch bag the night before and then don’t forget it on your way out. Bring a giant empty water bottle. My new favorite trick is handing it to the flight attendant before I take my seat. They will actually fill it for you and deliver it to your seat before take off – delivery! Press the button with the glass of water on it to get them to refill it at least once during the flight.

*I settled on these as the ideal plane foods during a vegan period of my life. Vegan or no, I’m sticking to them. Feel free to add … meat?

I like to wear “nice clothes” (jeans, long sleeve t-shirt) to the airport. On the off-chance you run into a judgmental former classmate, or are travelling with coworkers, it can be best to look somewhat put together. I also bring black yoga pants, an attractive shawl, and a sweater-type thing. If you're hot you won’t need to wear either, but you will have extra pillows! But seriously, who has ever been hot on a flight? (If you are flying to Asia and will have time to shop, maybe skip the shawl since you will probably want to buy a pretty one here?) Some things to consider: Are you likely to break into a flop sweat? Are you probably going to spill on yourself? Do you really need to wear a bra? I like to wear a cotton “bralette” under a tank, with a loose fitting cotton t-shirt (have you seen this?!), and my “sweat jeans” (jeans that are so comfortable they might as well be sweat pants). Simple stud earrings that won’t come off – or nothing.

Wear cotton underwear and bring a spare pair in some sort of opaque bag, or inside your toiletries bag. Don’t just let them wander around in your carry-on bag! They will fall out when it is least appropriate…

Wear TOMS or other easy-on easy-off flats, but definitely bring a pair of socks in your bag. If you’ve ever gotten a pair of socks on a fancy flight (or hospital…) that have the rubber grippers on the bottom – bring those. They will make you feel slightly less groady when you wear them in the airplane bathroom. Sometimes flights provide them but you cannot depend on that.

Bring your “liquids” in a ziplock bag inside your normal toiletries bag. Pop the baggy out for security and pop it right back in for the rest of your trip. Don’t try to go putting non-liquids in the bag and pretending it is an acceptable dopp kit. If you want to cheat, and bring barely any liquids, bring unscented baby wipes and Wisps. If you are travelling to a developing country I highly recommend you actually pack a ton of both of those items for situations when water isn’t readily available.

Pee right before you get on the flight.

Once the flight has taken off, take a sleeping pill, see if you can get the flight attendant to give you two mini bottles of wine (they usually will) and change into your yoga pants (by the way, did you know Target’s yoga pants are really well made and come in a Tall size? Because that changed my life). Put on your gripper socks. Do you wear glasses? Take them off and put them in their case. Put the case back in your bag and zip it. Do not hook them onto your collar, hang them on the seat back pocket, or put them on top of your head. Do not take them off in the bathroom to pick at your skin because you will accidently knock them into the trash container and be too embarrassed to tell anyone until you land [one time when you were twelve].

Brush or Wisp your teeth, baby wipe or wash your face, and then cover your face in the thickest moisturizer you can find. Try to sleep for as long as possible. When you wake up, try to go back to sleep. Continue for the rest of the flight. If this isn’t working for you, try thinking about how glad you are that you aren’t doing this journey by sea or worse, not at all, you spoiled brat.

One and a half hours before landing, change into your fresh underwear and jeans. Baby powder or dry shampoo your hair if it has become greasy. Wisp ‘n’ wipe again.

Things you can do in advance to make this experience even better:

Buy these headphones. Seriously. They're not that expensive compared to other headphones (right?), they come in amazing colors, the sound quality is unreal, they have this thing so your loved one can plug his or her headphones into your headphones and you can all listen in!, and they look really badass. They're pretty soft too, so you can fall asleep on them. Mine have lasted forever.

Have you ever seen a jersey blazer for sale and thought about what a dumb idea it was? If you want to look professional you should buy a normal blazer, am I right? Who would ever want to look “sort of dressed up”? People on planes, that’s who. Invest in a knitted or jersey blazer. You will feel like a million bucks when all the regular people have hoodies, and you're a classy world traveller with places to be who of course is wearing a blazer. It can also be balled up for make-shift pillow purposes. Chances are, wherever you’re travelling, you may at some point want to wear a blazer – why not a cotton one?

Make a playlist of songs that make you fall asleep, or inspire your body’s immune system – depending on where you’re travelling to.

Your carry-on bag should be lightweight and have a top zip. Zip it.

Bring a crappy ballpoint pen. If you're on a long flight it usually involves some sort of customs forms. There will undoubtedly be a dearth of pens, and then you have to wait for everyone else to finish before you get a chance to screw up and write your date of birth in the British way when they didn’t even ask for it that way … Don’t bring a nice pen because it might explode.

Take your birth control or whatever medications you take on any schedule you will actually remember. There are no right answers because at the end of the day, you’re time travelling.

The things Hilary Fischer-Groban misses most about America/not-India are berries, bacon, and Target.



315 Comments / Post A Comment

Claire Zulkey

Thank you for not mentioning Evian mist, La Mer face cream or cashmere wraps anywhere in this piece.

Clare

@Claire Zulkey I'm with you on the Evian Brumisateur and Creme de la La Mer, but we're gonna fight if you call my hot pink pashmina bougie. It's soft, it's warm, it's my favorite color, I can usually wear it once I get to my destination, and most of all it's CLEAN. I know where my pashmina's been; Can you say that for those airplane blankets that any random schmo has been coughing on/snotting on/changing babies on/receiving hanjos under?

Also, I borrow my dad's Bose noise cancelling headphones. I have had several pairs of cheap imitations over the years, but none have been as durable and worked as effectively as the Bose pair.

melis

@Claire Zulkey Does your masseuse not usually bring those with her when she boards your Gulfstream?

melis

I'm sorry, when zie boards our Gulfstream.

Guy DeBr0'd

@Clare If people are going to be distributing banjos on an airplane, I'd prefer they keep them out of sight, regardless.

CynthiaGilbret

Not all humans can survive in various conditions. All of the adults even though usually run away from this frightening situation. louis vuitton iphone 5 case

JaclynVoll

Those who survive their course is great. They should be able to challenge the nature and objects and animals that are there. 123inkjets coupons

Choire

But... but... this is my standard process for my regular 2 hour and 20 minute flight! (I mean: plus Nicorette, obviously. You'd be shocked how much Nicorette you can chew in 2 hours and 20 minutes! Also you can watch two episodes of an hour-long show (an "hour-long show" is 42 to 48 minutes) if you really work at it.)

Lauren Hayden

@Choire Hahaha, seriously! I psyche myself up this much for my 45-minute hop from Minneapolis to Milwaukee.

formergr

For food, you can also bring one of those Cup o' Soup or slightly healthier cup o' organic something or other on. The flight attendants are more than happy to fill it up with hot water from the coffee/tea pots for you during beverage service, or if you head on over to the galley (just not at the height of meal service, since they are super busy then). They'll even give you a spoon for it usually.

Clare

@formergr THAT. IS. GENIUS. I'm going to tell my dad this tip; he loves Cup o' Noodles.

formergr

@Clare As a kid who flew back and forth to Europe a lot because of close family over there, it was the only thing I could manage to eat for years when on a plane. I tended to get airsick, and the smell of the airplane food being heated up was usually enough to trigger it (once I puked into the aisle of an Air France plane, and the flight attendant felt bad for me and gave me a chocolate rose from first class--even though she had to clean up my puke! My sister was soooo jealous).

Sandwiches made me gag too for some reason, so one day my mom and I saw the Cup O' Soup in the store and had the idea at basically the same time.

Tates McGee

@formergr YES!! I love hot soup on a long flight. It also makes everyone around you super (souper?) jealous.

j-furr

@Tates McGee you can also bring your favorite tea.

Margaret Crandall@twitter

"Make a playlist of songs that make you fall asleep" - Mazzy Star always works for me.

oxla?

@Margaret Crandall@twitter if by "fall asleep" you mean :feel crazy and all emotional about weird adolescent experiences and maybe cry?" then YES.

Summer Anne Burton

@Margaret Crandall@twitter If by "fall asleep" you mean "lose your virginity to," than yes (I really did!)

Mila

@Summer Anne Burton Gave my first BJ to Mazzy Star, And maybe the first time a guy went down on me? I don't know, he was really bad, so it wasn't that memorable.

Judith Slutler

This is great but as a fellow expat I have to add some things:

- Hat. A warm wool hat. Especially if you are wearing a not-hooded sweater you need one! Also awesome because you can hide your hair under it.

- A caffeinated drink so that when you wake at the end of the flight you don't have to wait for the coffee wagon of shitty coffee to come along. One of those canned Frappucino things is a pretty good idea for this.

- Socks... I take a pair of warm ski socks for the flight and a fresh pair of regular socks for after.

- Sunglasses or sleep mask, because you never know when the sun will come up in the middle of the flight and wake you.

- I personally like to fall asleep to audio books or podcasts instead of songs. It can be especially soothing to hear your native language if everyone around you is speaking another one.

- Also do not check the in-flight map. Tell yourself you'll check it after you finish a magazine article, get your water bottle refilled, use your chapstick, stand and stretch, whatever. Distract yourself from that thing at least until "breakfast time".

Flying for that long really is exhausting. Even if you're a pro at it, it's one of those situations where you need a routine and familiar comforting objects.

Ophelia

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yes, seconded, to all of these, and I'll add:
- String cheese, instant oatmeal, and/or granola bars;
- Make the scarf/shawl a dark color, so you can put it over your face and sleep if the person next to you has the light on;
- Eye drops! Clear-eyes or something like them, particularly if you have to get off your 10-hour coach flight and go right to a meeting;
- One of those ridiculous inflatable neck pillows (they deflate to a tiny little pocket-sized thing; don't buy the big squishy ones that don't deflate, because then you have to carry it around, and it's huge)
- Have a designated place in your bag/on your person where you always put your passport - it will make you far more sane if you know exactly where it is. You can survive anything with a Visa card, a plane ticket, and a US passport;
- It's totally OK to be that ridiculous person who stretches in the aisle by the bathrooms. Your knees/shoulders/neck/back will thank you.

pkle

@Emmanuelle Cunt
- what I have called a "cuddle pillow" forevers but is apparently called a "micro-plush bolster pillow"? Like this: http://www.athomedayspa.com/micro-plush-fleece-travel-bolster-taupe.html
Mine is just barely long enough that I can use it both as a head-against-wall pillow and something to wrap my arms around at the same time. It is understuffed/worn-out enough that I can squish it into very little space left on my carryon bag... or sometimes I just cram in on the top and zip some, and let the pillow cover the rest of the hole.

I dunno, I sleep with one of these all the time because I weirdly feel like my ribs aren't strong enough to support my unconscious weight all night? But somehow leaning against/over a pillow helps them? I don't know, it's basically a stuffed animal that you don't get teased as much for having. But since I always sleep with one, when I snuggle up with it on a plane, a) it helps me tap into other sleepy experiences/model previous sleepy behavior, and 2) it smells like comfortable, familiar, sleepytime things! I dunno, maybe that just means I should wash them more.

every tomorrow@twitter

@Ophelia It only took me one time of my ankles swelling up huge on the plane and taking like 3 days to return to normal to become that person who stretches by the bathroom. And also that person who annoys the flight attendants by wandering up and down the aisle a couple times for no reason.

llliiizzzz

@Emmanuelle Cunt YES to the sleep mask. I have a ridiculous, super thick memory foam one (from the sharper image?) that has saved my life/sleep so. many. times. i look like an idiot with it on, but who gives a shit, really?

gfrancie

@Emmanuelle Cunt yes a million times yes to not checking the flight map. "I may only check it once this movie is over."

christonacracker

WAIT WAIT WAIT. Target has yoga pants that come in Tall? DETAILS PLEASE, I have not seen these. Love, My Exposed Ankles.

Artressa Vandelay

@christonacracker: Right! I've never flown more than 7 hours, so the Target yoga pants were what jumped right out at me! I always order them from VS (37" inseem and very cozy).

insouciantlover

@Artressa Vandelay 37" inseam!!!! that's actual long, not the 34" bullshit long that they usually try to sell us!

Tuna Surprise

@christonacracker - Old Navy and Gap have "long" loungeware and so does J Crew. Athleta has more yoga-sporty stuff in tall. I bought a pair of pair of tall JCrew lounge pants on sale a few years ago and it change my life. First time I've every had pajama pants that covered my ankles.

Artressa Vandelay

@insouciantlover: I know! The 34-inch inseem is such a farce. As classy ladies we should not be revealing that much ankle/top of heel.

Ophelia

@Tuna Surprise Athleta also makes leggings in Tall, which are great under dresses and such on the plane.

Diana

@Artressa Vandelay Let me tell you, the "short" 30" inseam isn't any better. I have rejoiced the past year or so now that "ankle length" skinnies are in because there are finally 25-27" inseams available for the shorties.

christonacracker

@insouciantlover So true. 34 inches then shrinks up to 32.5 inches and then I have to try and pretend that they are "capris" but everyone knows better cuz there aint no such thing as bootcut capri yoga pants.

redheadedtwit

@Tuna Surprise OMG. If I had money right now I'd be running to the mall, I haven't worn pj pants in years because of THIS.

Kneetoe

@Tuna Surprise

Of course when you were with that guy in the bathroom, all they covered were your ankles.

Tuna Surprise

@Kneetoe -
How nice of you to drop in! And be crude!

Kneetoe

@Tuna Surprise

Yes, the speed at which a bathroom sex joke struck me when I read this post makes me embarrassed to be me. But I put a little effort into it anyway, no?

annierebekah

If you live in a country that doesn't serve alcohol on their national airline (giving you the side-eye, EgyptAir) buy a screw-top mini wine bottle at duty-free and sneak it on.

melis

...sneak it on in your stomach, right? Because that's the only way I can psych myself up enough to board any sort of gravity-mocking autogyric death machine.

annierebekah

@melis oh no no. Let me clarify. Sneak it on AFTER you've had two beers at the airport bar.

melis

What am I, made of money? Two beers at the airport bar is like thirty-six bucks. Where is rapidly drinking a Thermos full of a whiskey and ginger ale before security on this list?

lolita

@annierebekah MIDGE BOTTLES OF ALCOHOL

Most are 2-3 ounces (or even just one), so they get through crazy American airline security. Then, get a sprite, add your gin and you have a decent poor-girl's airline cocktail! Also good for spiking coffee while you're waiting to board and just about anything else.

lolita

@lolita

Not gin for spiking coffee, clearly. Bourbon for that.

I usually travel with a whole assortment...

feartie

I wish I could bring myself to listen to my music on a plane, but I have this horrible (totally irrational! I know this!) fear that if I do so, some important part of the engine will stop working. I don't want to be responsible for us all falling out of the sky.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@feartie: Do you mean via the operation of an electronic device, or by some kind of unseen mechanism where fate destroys the airplane because of the act of listening to music?

Kneetoe

@feartie

What do you listen to?!?!

Bittersweet

@Kneetoe: Songs by Plummeting Flameball of Death, obvs.

cabot_cove_syndrome

@feartie @Too Much Internet

Yes and yes. I too have had moments on planes where I'll think, let me make a list of things to do once I arrive at said destination, and the very next thought that pops into my head is: No, I can't do that - it'll *tempt fate*. ???

I swear I am normally a logical and reasonable person, but flying brings out the absolute worst, bonkers-lady-macbeth-hand-wringing-type anxiety in me.

Lucienne

I usually bring the kind of lengthy book I find interesting but also sleepy-making (biographies are good for this, unless they're trashy). Or A Suitable Boy.

But also, I can't sleep sitting up. Are sleeping pills really that easy to get hold of?

Judith Slutler

@Lucienne I don't know! I wouldn't want to take a sleeping pill on a plane because ummm, what if I need to put on an oxygen mask or a life vest or something?

Lucienne

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yes! Plus, I have heard sleeping pill hangovers are awwwwwwful.

Ophelia

@Emmanuelle Cunt I just take either benadryl or dramamine. It's sleep-inducing enough to tip me over the edge, but I kmow I can wake up and get down that slide if I have to.

elysian fields

@Lucienne yes, I got Ambien from my doctor just by asking. He said to take either a half or a whole pill, but I always take the whole because I find half to be ineffective. Even with the full dose, I don't manage to sleep more than a few hours, but a few hours are way better than zero hours, right?

if you are super sensitive to light and noise, as I am, you may also wish to invest in earplugs and a sleep mask to go with your magic sleepytime pills.

thebestjasmine

@Lucienne I've never had a doctor that said no when you tell them you have a long flight coming up. I mean, I'm sure if you tell them that once a week, they'll start to say no and/or refer you to psych, but you know.

melis

@thebestjasmine This is why you have 52 doctors!

melis

With a few backups, when their wives start realizing who's been going through their underwear drawer and getting into the Scotch. If you didn't want me to know where you lived, Dr. Brinker, you probably shouldn't have left your home address just laying around on your driver's license in your other coat pocket when you left the room to call an attendant because I wouldn't stop screaming...

...darling.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@Emmanuelle Cunt: In the event that Shit is Going Down, you will be awoken. Adrenaline is an excellent stimulant.

ample pie

@Lucienne: Yes, and you can bring A Suitable Boy even if you have read A Suitable Boy. You can read that 1000 times.

Lucienne

@ample pie You should read it 1000 times. It gets better each time! And your affection for it will make you feel better about the whole flight thing.

ample pie

@Lucienne: I have only read it once so far, about two years ago, it is probably time to invest in a copy and begin a re-read.

I have never in my life been so emotional over the ending of a book. I still think Lata made the wrong choice.

Speaking of, we can see how it turns out! He is writing a book called A Suitable Girl to be released in two years.

Lucienne

@ample pie Do you? I tend to think she made exactly the right choice - I don't think either of her other options were really tenable. Like, I love and adore them both but for marriage? To Lata? No-o. But also, I only really bought the Lata and Kabir relationship on rereading it. So who knows, I may change my mind.

Girrrrrl, I have a Vikram Seth Google alert just so I can get A Suitable Girl updates. I'm crazy excited, even if it's a present-day sequel so pretty much everyone will be dead. I think Lata's still around, though!

llliiizzzz

@Lucienne 3 tylenol pm's 30-ish minutes before you want to sleep. works like a charm for me.

lolita

@Lucienne

Benadryl. Bam.

SarahDances

@Lucienne I do two Benadryl and a Melatonin, plus a drink or two with dinner. All OTC, and no better/worse then that one time I had some Xanax.

hairdresser on fire

I really could have used these tips when I flew nonstop to Delhi, since I couldn't even sleep for five minutes out of the whole fifteen hours (anxious flier+middle row+dearth of snacks). You are a hero for this.

(Also, the things I missed most about not-India were cheese, cheese, and tampons.)

alpelican

@hairdresser on fire The things I missed the most were french fries, wearing sweatpants, and being an anonymous member of a large crowd.

Craftastrophies

@alpelican The things I missed about not-China were chesse, sausages (GO FIGURE cos they're super gross), tomatoes, and being an anonymous member of a large crowd.

Quinciferous

@hairdresser on fire It's crazy how much cheese you can get now in the cities.

I miss good beer and my partner. And hey, Hairpin Delhi meetup??

giantspider

@Craftastrophies The things I miss the most about not-China are cheese, beer (don't tell me that Qingdao and Tiger are beer - carbonated urine, maybe), and being an anonymous member of a large crowd.

Craftastrophies

@giantspider They are NOT BEER.

Oh god, now I'm having flashbacks.

hairdresser on fire

@Quinciferous I was always too cheap to go to Khan Market or Def Col for the Euro markets. And aahhhh, good beer. I got a Kingfisher for nostalgia's sake Stateside once recently, and nearly ralphed. If I were in India, totally on the meetup! (I was there about two years ago-ish at this point for four months or so.) I'm headed back to Lucknow for grad school Urdu purposes this summer, though!

hairdresser on fire

@giantspider Oh god noooooo Tiger! My tastebuds are cringing just thinking about it.

Xanthophyllippa

@giantspider In contrast, the things I miss about being in China are dumplings, people randomly singing in the park, and being chased down the street by a crowd of small gleeful children who want me to hug them.

Craftastrophies

@Xanthophyllippa I miss noodles for breakfast like you wouldn't believe. And I used to have dreams about YuXiangRouSi. And I miss tai chi in the park and my students, especially Jelly and Snoopy and Star. No, I am not making that up.

But I do not miss the spitting or the pointing.

giantspider

@Xanthophyllippa @Craftastrophies The other day I was waiting for the bus and this little boy pointed at me and did the "laowai laowai!" thing and I kind of accosted him and said in Chinese "I'm not a laowai! I'm Chinese! You're the laowai!" and he looked really scared and I felt bad.

Not one of my finer moments.

Also, I had a student last year named Snake King and he was fantastic.

Craftastrophies

@giantspider I said that to someone on the bus last year! I'm back in Australia, and my work bus is also the airport shuttle. There was this clearly tourist couple on the way to the airport. They were talking about me in chinese (and being REALLY RUDE) and calling me a lao wai and I turned around and said 'I'm Australian, you are the lao wai'.

And then I felt racist.

ryerye

@Craftastrophies @giantspider @Xanthophyllippa but you've all left zhong guo? Where areeee the Beijing hairpinners I cannot be the only one.

Xanthophyllippa

@ryerye Sadly, I am back home in Meiguo. But I will be passing through next spring/early summer on vacay and would happily do a meet-up then, if you can hold out that long...

Craftastrophies

@ryerye Yep, am long gone. And I was in GuiYang, anyway. (waits while you look it up on the map). Yeah. Middle of nowhere :)

easyonthetonic

@ryerye @giantspider @Xanthophyllippa @Craftastrophies Ex- Shanghaining hairpinner here! Just moved back home 4 months ago after 8 years in the Hai. Things I missed the most when I was there: not having to worry what was in the milk, noodles, eggs, oil etc etc, insulated houses, and in the beginning; deodorant. The things I miss most about Shanghai now: pretty much everything else. Nightlife, food, affordable taxis= high heels, my friends.

Craftastrophies

@hairdresser on fire Yeah, actually. Thing I miss the most about China: being rich. Being rich was NICE.

But I think that insulated houses might actually be nicer. We weren't a designated cold city, which meant no heating. Ever. Even though the day I left it was snowing in Guiyang at -5C, and I transferred in Shanghai at a lovely 10C. But Shanghai is officially colder, so....

PékinPie

@hairdresser on fire There were/are other China Hairpinners!? Can we have an ex-China Pin-up in the States?

zidaane

Wouldn't it be better if for long flights they just put everyone down with some horse tranquilizer and stacked you like cords of wood?

rararuby

@zidaane

Ryanair - a no-frills European short-haul airline - a couple years ago proposed selling standing-only tickets. So how it worked would be that you line up against a, I'm assuming, cushioned wall and they belt you in to that position for the duration.
My old Dad remarked that it was a joke that used to go around the immigrant boarding houses in England in the '50s - in reference to the Irish clientele - that they would similarly sleep standing up (they were so drunk, right? Irish!) and the landlady would tie a rope across them for the night. In the morning she would cut the rope, and the Irish drunks would tumble awake.
Cheap board and a free alarm call!

Craftastrophies

@rararuby That used to be pretty common practice all over Europe from the Victorian era. It was called the 'twopenny hangover'. If you only had one penny, you only got the bench, no rope.

Also, re: ryanair (ugh). Have you seen this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPyl2tOaKxM

atipofthehat

@zidaane

This was actually true of the Victorian London doss-houses, where if you couldn't afford a bed you paid tuppence for the rope.

rararuby

@Craftastrophies Re Ryanair - yeah that is a great clip!

And have you seen this? http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3219701/Ryanair-air-hostesses-pose-in-bikinis-for-2011-charity-calendar.html

Just, Ugh.

@atipofthehat Great link. I will definitely look at it when it's not 1:30 am and the hairpin has already kept me up past my bed time!

blee

@zidaane http://www.theonion.com/articles/united-airlines-exploring-viability-of-stacking-th,2841/

thebestjasmine

Oh man, I am so with you for all of these things (I have a sleep playlist for airplanes and everything). Though my new airplane uniform is leggings and a cotton dress (a polo dress is perfect for this) with the sweater and shawl. Feels like pajamas, but presentable and super airport security easy. But for the love of god, please do the sports bra thing like I forgot to do this weekend, or you'll have to get groped by TSA going and coming.

Judith Slutler

@thebestjasmine Ooh I was going to mention the dress + leggings thing, too! That and ankle boots are the comfiest thing.

Ophelia

@thebestjasmine GOOD CALL on the sports bra, or anything non-underwire.

thebestjasmine

@Emmanuelle Cunt See, I always go with ballet flats, just for the ease of getting in and out of them at security. And because they're easy to kick off on the flight and put your socks on (but please, if you do this, put them in your bag, you do not want to be hunting for one shoe that slid down half the length of the plane after landing).

Ophelia

@thebestjasmine Also, with most ballet flats, they're flat enough that you can put them in the seat pocket in front of you.

sox
sox

@thebestjasmine Which reminds me, you recommended this outfit for a trip over Labor Day weekend and I didn't think I owned the components but lo and behold I actually did and the flight was made so much better you and the other commenters suggestions! Thank youuuu!

I have a playlist of these whale and dolphin sounds that is the awesomest thing ever on airplanes for sleeping.

melis

@thebestjasmine Coming and going, you say?

thebestjasmine

@melis Yes, because you will have only brought one bra and so will have no choice to get groped both times. ...unless you meant this as a dirty coming related joke, but TSA is so actively unsexy that these things do not dawn on me.

Judith Slutler

@thebestjasmine Yeah I can't get with ballet flats, what if you have to run for your connection flight? But, cozy.

every tomorrow@twitter

@thebestjasmine Here's my thing though, is do you wear socks with that? Because whenever I have to walk barefoot through the scanner I am like, "Oh my god I am at this moment getting a terrifying foot fungus tromped across this patch of floor by one of the twenty thousand other bare feet that has also been here today."

thebestjasmine

@every tomorrow@twitter Hah, I do walk barefoot through the scanner, but I am particularly non germ phobic. And I run better in ballet flats than in any other kind of non sneaker shoe (and I hate wearing sneakers on planes, so heavy and tight on a long flight). I did find some awesome ballet flat/sneaker hybrid kind of shoes once, which were perfect for planes, and I have worn them to death.

linolanayseda

@thebestjasmine Ooh girl, get some of these! http://www.smartwool.com/womens/hide-and-sleek-8.html. They are my favorite thing, since I am also a fan of ballet flats in the aeropuerto.

thebestjasmine

@linolanayseda Ooooh. Those look awesome, BUT -- do they stay on your foot, or do they slip slip down around your heel all the time? Because I have tried those kind of little footie things, and they either are too high for a ballet flat, or they always slip.

linolanayseda

@thebestjasmine They miraculously stay! At least they did on me, but perhaps I have prominent heel bones.

alison

This was helpful! But when I pack snacks I eat them all AND I eat the airplane food because time stops and there is nothing else to look forward to. Pro tip: melt the frozen butter pat on top of the hot entree lid (when I say I eat it all, I mean every last iceberg lettuce leaf and midnight plastic wrapped cheeseburger).

1saidweres1nking

@alison clearly we one L alisons have similar plane eating habits. thai air is the best because you get unlimited cup-o-noodles but you have to eat them in the back of the plane, standing. apparently the smell bothers the other passengers but hey, it provides great opportunity for conversation with fine vagabond aussie men.

a horde of great crab things

This is genius. I almost never fly (two transatlantic flights in a decade, flight- phobic pauper hippies represent!) and after my most recent trip my exceedingly well- travelled best friend said, 'Oh, I don't understand how you could not love flying, I love going through all my little onboard routines...'. She then went on to list this incredibly intricate flight plan which just made me feel like a fucking amateur. Eating pretzels? Watching three movies, two of them before dinner, and then forgetting to sleep? Wearing polycottons and not packing my beauty flash balm in my carry- on? *Useless*.

melis

@a horde of great crab things Ah, so it's your username I'll have to thank tonight as I wake from a half-remembered dream of scuttlings and skitterings, screaming and screaming like I'll never stop.

redheaded&crazy

@a horde of great crab things I myself am able to manage one of these steps - the popping sleeping pills step. All other details such as looking nice, being warm, feeling fresh, and most importantly bringing food - yeah. right. lordie i am impressed

thenotestaken

I bring waaaaay more food than that for my usual 6-hour flight. Ha. Also don't forget gum and offer it to the other people in your row during takeoff. Also no mention of books/magazines/crosswords!?

alison

@thenotestaken this is when I read all my New Yorkers - they're dense but don't weigh much. You can pack 5 or 6 and they'll take you hours to read. If you don't have a kindle, download an ereader app on your phone and use that.

insouciantlover

@thenotestaken I get way excited about airplane reading... I'm taking a 5 hour flight at the end of next week and I'm already looking forward to purchasing a horrible overpriced murder mystery thriller at the bookstore.

He is a small town sheriff who lost the love of his life in a tragic boating accident and she's the comically clumsy coast guard with a dark secret... but will they make waves... together?

Craftastrophies

@insouciantlover I found out that there is actually a book that legitimately exists called 'pregnesia'. It's a romance book about a Navy SEAL who finds an unconscious pregnant woman with amnesia in the back seat of his car. And then has to protect her, natch.

amity

@alison "New Yorkers - they're dense but don't weigh much" just like actual denizens of NYC, amirite?!

thenotestaken

@alison How did you know?! New Yorkers/Believers are my go-to flight reading material, especially since I always seem to be reading heavy hardcover books whenever I'm about to take a trip. I was just surprised that the post didn't even mention packing reading material in the event that sleeping pills aren't your thang.

mbmargarita

@thenotestaken With you on the magazines, but there is no way I'm offering gum to my seatmates. I can not stand being in confined spaces next to someone chewing gum-- especially people who can't seem to figure out that it can be done with the mouth closed.

kayjay

@thenotestaken I find that thick paperback books make excellent airplane pillows after you've taken way too many Valerian pills and there are never any f^$#ing tiny ravioli airplane pillows anywhere ever.

RachelAnn

@thenotestaken

Me too! It's the only time I actually make it through the whole magazine, plus sitting there reading/pretending to read a New Yorker makes you look smart, right?

insouciantlover

If you ARE over a certain height, be persistent about an aisle seat. I am SO PERSISTENT about this. I am annoyingly persistent. It's worth it.

Ophelia

@insouciantlover Also, I find that if I'm in a window, I can often stretch my leg out in the space between the seat in front of me and the wall. But only the one leg, so there's that.

one cow.

@Ophelia On my only transatlantic flight this past spring, I managed to injure my knee & ankle 2 weeks before my trip, putting me on crutches & in a leg immobilizer. That meant no bending it at all! For 8 hours. Each way. And if I tried to stick it into the aisle, the beverage cart would inevitably barrel through and smack right into my injured leg. Paired with the normal limb swelling associated with flying, it was a disaster.

Judith Slutler

@one cow. Oh girl, I'm so sorry that happened. I had a one-hour flight with a broken foot (to be fair I didn't know it was broken at the time) and the swelling was horrendous. I can't even imagine what 8 hours would be like!

one cow.

Well, I should mention that the flight was suuuuper cheap, there was lots of food & wine, & I got to watch like 6 new movies, so you win some, you lose some. I love flying!

Ophelia

@one cow. Ohhh, honey! I suppose the wine makes it OK.

Xanthophyllippa

@insouciantlover And if you are *under* a certain height, put your larger bag under the seat in front of you so you can prop your feet up and keep them from dangling uncomfortably for the duration.

velcrosneakers

I wear hoodies on planes so I can put my hood on before leaning my head on that who knows when they cleaned it if ever head cushion.

Ophelia

@velcrosneakers Plus, the hood will help shade your eyes when you have FINALLY fallen asleep and they turn the lights back on at the end of the flight. F*ckers.

elysian fields

@Ophelia that's what sleep masks are for ... seriously you guys. sleep masks.

Ophelia

@elysian fields Ugh, can't deal with the feeling of it on my nose. But sleep masks for other people!

rararuby

@Ophelia I find eyemask so uncomfortable also - the way they press down on your lashes. Ugh.

spinstah

@Ophelia @rararuby This one! It is oddly shaped but doesn't smush your eyelashes: http://amzn.com/B005BD7AHC Great for flights and I also sleep with it in the summer because of the window fan/drapes in the way situation.

oxla?

A someone who is 6'3" and mostly legs: there is nothing you can do to make long flights any better. just accept that life is suffering and try to blackout (which you will probably do anyhow from all that fun deep vein thrombosis!)

elysian fields

@oxla? oh my God. I'm so sorry. My friend's boyfriend is really tall and he actually did develop thrombosis as a result of sitting in peasant class on a long flight. FUN TIMES.

oxla?

@elysian fields i flew back and forth a bunch from the east coast to japan when i was living in tokyo and dreaded it. i even considered getting business or 1st class but then i actually looked at prices and HAHAAHAHA it costs like 100000 dollars. so yeah. i moved back to nyc.

Tuna Surprise

@oxla?
I'm only 5'10" but my unusually long femurs make up about 5 feet of that height so I feel the tall people pain. On long flights, I have to sit on the aisle. I try to make sure my long haul jets are dual-aisle so I can get a little surreptitious exercise in by circling the aisles and spending time "waiting" in line for the bathroom. On my last 15 hour non-stop, I spent a good third of the flight standing up.

Diana

@oxla? It's just as awful for short people whose feet don't touch the ground. For me, it's just uncomfortable the whole time, but my mother's feet swell and she has to get up constantly to walk around and shake some feeling back into them. Pins and needles the whole trip.

rararuby

@Diana My feel swell really bad too, but those swirly ankle exercises and the "fists with your feet" thing really help if you do them consistently throughout the flight. Unfortunately it means choosing between sleep and being able to put my feet back in my shoes at the end, so I try to get really psyched about the in-flight movies.

Bubbles

I got awful swollen feet and ankles when a 10 hour trip became a 15 hour one (diverted to the Azores when a passenger had a "medical emergency." heart attack? actual death? never found out). So I bought old woman compression thigh highs at a Spanish pharmacy before returning and oh, man, I don't care if wearing them is sex repellant, because my feet and legs felt great on the (diverted to Maine for refueling) flight home.

Other than that, earplugs and Dramamine are all I need. And a giant bag of snacks. You can never, ever bring too many snacks on a long flight.

phipsi

Eye mask, ear plugs. And some sort of no-batteries-required entertainment in case your i-whatever craps out. If you can help it, don't sit in front of the galley because you won't be able to sleep! Get up and walk around at least 2-3x as well - no blood clots!

Flight to Australia - in flight entertainment inexplicably ended like 3 hours before landing and it was NON-STOP FLIGHT MAP FOR THREE HOURS. Do not want.

limberliz

@phipsi Ten years ago on a flight from Rome to Philadelphia the movies crapped out for the whole flight. They had similar but not as extensive problems on a flight from Sao Paulo to JFK six years ago, but by then I was of an age appropriate for drinking and the beers were free.

Aunt Pete

I want those headphones in lavender. I'm sure I am going to sound like a total ass for saying this but I really really hate to talk to people on planes. You get trapped!!! And people won't shut up!! One time my throat got SORE from having a conversation with someone, it was awful. So anyways...headphones.

Diana

@Aunt Pete

The crucial part is to get to your seat first and *immediately* put your headphones in. Even if you don't want to listen to music yet, just put them in. I fucking hate talking to people on planes. It is my own personal circle of hell.

dracula's ghost

@Aunt Pete STRONGLY AGREE!!!!! It is so rarely pleasant to talk to someone on the plane! I don't have that much in common with the majority of humans, especially Americans, and flying just strikes this home to me with devastating finality and makes me feel totally alienated from my homeland/countrymen. No thank you, I would NOT like to hear about what a "pistol" that Sarah Palin is, and no thank you I would NOT like to debate the merits of higher education (because "how can you make any money with that") once you hear I am a professor. Or even if you're not a shit-face, I don't really want to talk about your niece in Tuscaloosa or tell you about what my husband does for a living. I'm so sorry! I just don't think it's interesting!!!! THANK YOU GOODNIGHT

phlox

@Aunt Pete My grandmother, a very chatty Scottish lady, spent the majority of a flight from Detroit to Hong Kong talking to the nice man next to her. Only when they got off the plane did she learn that he did not understand English.

dokuchan

@Diana I actually put headphones on and run the wires into my pocket NOT PLUGGED INTO ANYTHING just so I won't have to talk to anyone. One too many long trips trapped with some idiot "taking an interest in me" has made me proactive. If they seem rad then I talk to them towards the end of the flight but otherwise, no thanks.

Tragically Ludicrous

THOSE HEADPHONES WHAT

annierebekah

Oh man I keep thinking of more tips to chime in on but my #1 is this:

It doesn't matter how cheap they are on Kayak or wherever. Never, never ever, fly a US-owned carrier on a transatlantic flight. The exception to this is Delta because of their partnership with KLM/AirFrance. What you save in $$$ you will lose in anger management courses, or whatever.

Ophelia

@annierebekah You are so right. And if you're flying with the US gov't or whatever, and need to book through a US carrier, book with a Delta or American codeshare, not a United one (because you will be stuck with Lufthansa, which is like the US-owned carrier of Europe). If you don't need a US carrier, try Turkish Airlines, KLM, Singapore Airlines, or Cathay Pacific. Oh, and Emirates, if you can. OMG, Emirates.

Ophelia

@annierebekah Oh, also, while we're at it - if you need to make a connection, try not to fly through Charles de Gaulle airport. Multiple strikes + weird tendency for luggage to miss the c

RocketSurgeon

@Ophelia I've always had good experiences with Lufthansa (just avoid Continental codeshares if possible) and trouble with KLM. I've heard Singapore Air is great though. Perhaps next trip.

Tragically Ludicrous

@Ophelia But wait! Lufthansa is awesome! I've not nothing against KLM, I've enjoyed what little flying I've done with them, but KLM for overseas flights are great.

annierebekah

@Ophelia BUT WHAT ABOUT THE LADURÉE???

And also. Turkish Airlines is maybe my favorite airline?

@RocketSurgeon I've heard a number of annoying stories about KLM not letting people fly to Egypt because they don't have tourist visas (which... you buy on sight at the airport and extend if need be), though I've personally always had a pleasant time.

Ophelia

@Tragically Ludicrous Ugh, I always get the really old Lufthansa planes? With lumpy seats and not-so-great entertainment? Maybe they just know I'm coming...but I'm flying them next week, so we'll see...

Tuna Surprise

@annierebekah
My strategy is to do a complex calculation based on airline and type of aircraft. I would rather fly transatlantic on an American airline using a 767 or A330 rather than a Euro carrier with a 737. The bigger jets tend to have the more senior flight crews and be laid out better for long hauls.

I'm going NYC to Hawaii this weekend and had to fight the search systems for hours because they kept trying to route me on back to back 6 hour flights on dinky planes. No thank you. Finally found a route through Atlanta that uses a huge plane for the leg to Hawaii.

I'm embarassed about how passionate I am about these things but an 18 hour flight in the back of an Air India jet plus a fear of flying have made me into this monster.

Lucienne

@Ophelia And if you're flying to the US with a transfer in Dublin, you'll have to go through immigration and security again. You see those doors that say "no re-entry past this point?" You need to go through them.

RocketSurgeon

@annierebekah Hmm. Well, I'll rethink my position on KLM given the good reviews. The flights themselves have always been fine, but I've gotten hung up on connections a couple times. Such is the traveling life, though.

punkahontas

@Lucienne I flew American Airlines to and from Paris this summer, and I can tell you that it is officially The Greyhound of The Skies.

rararuby

@Lucienne This is only true of certain time-slots and/ or destination airports in the US. Sometimes the border is in Dublin, sometimes in JFK, or LAX, or O'Hare, or whatever.
Kind of like Narnia...

alpelican

@RocketSurgeon I have dreams about Singapore Airlines. Best flight of all time. They give you a MENU. The flight attendants are gorgeous. Best of all: LAX-Tokyo flight was HALF FULL, Y'ALL. Why yes I certainly will avail myself of these four seats and lay my tired ass down to sleep.

Ophelia

@Lucienne hahaha, yes. But at least you don't have to wait in line at immigration once you get back to the US!

cuminafterall

@annierebekah A hearty YES on flying non-US airlines, although these days the codeshares make it harder to tell whose plane it is. I was less than enamored of my experience with Turkish Airlines, though. The "vegetarian" sandwich they gave me was clearly just the meat-having sandwich with the meat picked off. Gross. Lufthansa, on the other hand, won my life-long affection at the age of 5 for being wonderful to my super-airsick mother, who was traveling with 3 kids including a 3-month-old.

ample pie

@annierebekah: if you do Swiss and connect via Zurich, you can buy Luxemburgerli goodies in the terminal, and they are just as delish as Laduree.

Also Swiss wins points because even on the connecting flights from Zurich to other cities in Europe, they serve free sandwiches (Gruyere!) and chocolate.

formergr

@annierebekah Oh god-- United once canceled my flight from London to Chicago at the last minute, and just put us on other flights. I didn't know until they handed me a boarding pass and shoved me along that I was the lucky recipient of an Air India flight. 8 hours of a flight that was about 50 degrees (the flight attendants kept trying to fiddle with the approximately 100 year old heating system, which did nothing to make me feel safer). And a tiny little Indian grandmother behind me who anytime I tried to recline my seat even a little bit would shove her feet onto the top of the back of my seat and physically push it back in place. This was rather alarming to say the least, and when I'd turn around to see what the heck was going on and to maybe nicely complain to her about her actions, her whole family that was sitting around her would glare at me. It was a very long flight.

maiasaura

@Ophelia THIS. Charles de Gaulle kept my bag for nearly two weeks when I spent the summer abroad during college, contributing to perhaps the most powerful homesickness I've ever experienced. Also I had to wear the same two shirts every day for those two weeks, in the midst of an intense, record-breaking heat wave. Lots and lots of sink washing and despair.

limberliz

@annierebekah I'm in total agreement in regards to not flying on US carriers for long haul flights. While I fly long hauls every once in awhile, my dad flies them far more often. The worst horror stories are always on US carriers (with the exception of Varig, which went bankrupt six months after our trip). Delta had consistently been the worst offender until their merger with Northwest. My favorite airline so far is Air New Zealand. While I have never been to New Zealand, I have flown from LAX to Heathrow and ANZ is definitely the way to go.

Also, allocate way more time than you think you'll need if you're flying through JFK. JFK is the Bermuda Triangle of international air travel related fuckery. It's incredibly prone to lots of minor weather-related delays that back the whole place up. The ramifications of missing your flight due to weather are much more compounded when there's only one flight on your airline to your destination per day. Thank goodness for living in SoCal now.

Melusina

@Ophelia Oh gosh no, never connect through De Gaulle. It makes Heathrow look like a well oiled machine.

linolanayseda

@annierebekah Yes! Also, Asiana Airlines. My god, it was so luxurious, and I just paid normal Kayak rates. They have midnight snacks, gals! I had hot chocolate chip cookies on the way to Seoul and hot Belgian waffles on the way home. Plus, slippers, hot towels, nice blankies and a classics channel on the teevee that was showing the Orson Welles Jane Eyre. I would actually not mind living on an Asiana flight.

Bittersweet

@alpelican: Singapore Airlines FTW! Flying them London-Singapore-Perth was a dream (except for the jet lag and the missing home and all that crap). Unfortunately, then I had to fly Sydney-SF-Boston on United, which was a total disappointment.

Watts Up?

@annierebekah Oh god, Lufthansa is the worst for long-hauls. THE WORST. Their coach seats are so tiny.

amusedgirl

Xanax!

annierebekah

@amusedgirl holy crap, yes. I use my script solely for flying.

amusedgirl

@annierebekah I have to take something that REALLY knocks me out. Or at least something that erases memories of petting my flying neighbor..

hairdresser on fire

@amusedgirl Amen, sister in arms!

Peanut

@amusedgirl My people!

alouette

Last summer's 15 hour flight was wonderful. I (strangely?) like sleeping in tiny spaces like airplanes, and also love sleeping in general, so 15 hours of cozy sleep, only to be woken up at regular intervals for someone to give me food? HEAVEN.

Other recommendations: The Body Shop's tiny sized body butters. They'll get through security, and they're also super heavy for your sad sad airplane skin.

RocketSurgeon

@alouette I agree. I had a 21 hour flight (with one stop in the middle) earlier this year and was basically like, "I live on this plane now" when boarding. It helps that I can sleep anywhere and am not afraid of flying, but yeah. If I'm prepared, I don't mind the long-hauls at all.

RocketSurgeon

Wine, movie, repeat.

pinesy

I've never been on a transatlantic flight but I might be going to Chile later this year. I haven't even booked the tickets yet and I already panic a bit thinking about what I'll do/watch/read/wear on the plane.

Also, is it a good idea to stay up the day before and sleep on the plane? I usually do it when I travel and it works well but if it doesn't work on an 11-hour-flight (plus jetlag) I'm seriously going to die.

Judith Slutler

@pinesy Do NOT do this! I've done it before and it just means you are tired and cranky during all of the preflight bullshit.

alpelican

@pinesy Bad idea because if you're anything like me, you'll fall asleep during boarding, wake up for takeoff, and then not be able to fall back asleep for the entire flight. THE WORST. Save that sleep, girl.

apples and oranges

@pinesy CHILE WHERE WHERE TELL ME THINGS ABOUT YOUR TRIP!

I went to Chile this past winter (northern hemisphere winter, not Chilean winter)... it was my first time out of the country and I fell so madly in love with it.

ample pie

@pinesy: Ooh, that's totally my strategy when catching really early transatlantic flights out of Europe. Stay up all night before, rock the last of my wave of energy through boarding, and then collapse as soon as I'm in my seat.

elizabeast

@pinesy I think this just depends on what kind of person you are sans-sleep, and whether or not you can handle entertaining yourself if you happen to be awake on a long flight.

Because, personally, I cannot function when I don't sleep. And since my entire Airport and Flight Action Plan is based on being 1. Nicely put together and B. Friendly and polite, staying up all night and trying to board a flight is absolutely impossible. I'd be surly and awful and I'd never ever get bumped up to business class.

On top of that, I kind of like flying (and trains and busses!) because my options are watch the movie, read, or knit. Somehow having three things to choose from greatly reduces my stress level.

So, in conclusion, I don't suggest you stay up all night and then get on that 5AM flight. Get a few hours at least.

Girl Wonder

@pinesy I have flown to Chile and to Argentina and both flights leave at about 9 pm and arrive at about 7 or 8 am, depending on destination. Really quite a painless trip considering how far you are traveling. I just wear cozy clothes and bring a pillow, snacks and embroidery/sashiko/knitting/crewel whatever you can do for long periods of time in a small space. Or just take an ambien and sleep through the night.

Valerista

@pinesy Yes, I definitely stay up the night before and then sleep hard on the plane. With one of those neck pillows.

Hot mayonnaise

@pinesy If you're going to Chile from North American, then there shouldn't be much of a time change, am I right? Don't F with your sleep patterns. Oh, and have fun!

pinesy

@kayarr Santiago but it's not 100% definite yet. BUT I'M EXCITED ANYWAY.

apples and oranges

@pinesy A few days late but have an amaaazing time. Santiago is a gorgeous city. Go romp around Bellavista for me!

melis

Petition to replace "Are you traveling for business or pleasure?" with "Are you traveling for business or funsies?"

Diana

@melis "Are you with us today for shits or giggles?"

melis

@Diana "Will you be getting your kicks or your jollies?"

Diana

When I flew to France I deliberately scheduled the long transatlantic leg of the trip on the redeye, hoping to sleep through most of it. Whoops, can't sleep on planes! Well, it seemed to be okay because there were those little tv screens on the seat in front of me with tons of in-flight movie options. For some unfathomable reason I decided that 3 AM in the middle of a crowded flight was the best time to watch "P.S. I Love You". Do you want to know a great way to make sure the people next to you don't try to talk to you? Crying! Out of control, snot-dripping crying, desperately muffled underneath the sleeve of a sweatshirt!

martinipie

@Diana Oh my god, I cry all the time on my intl' flight movies. There was a This American Life episode that talked about this and how bizarre it is. I can also cry on planes with no movies, just my general flight anxiety/missing Mom/just finished finals/just got dumped (I have been dumped right before flying somewhere like, three times).

Tuna Surprise

@Diana - I rented a little DVD player after getting stranded in the Newark airport for 18 hours. When I finally got onto a flight I took it on with me and popped in the last movie I had with me - Pan's Labyrinth. I spent the whole movie trying to cover my screen with my sweatshirt. Sorry plane neighbors!

H.E. Ladypants

@martinipie I broke down sobbing on a flight home after my dad died and I was separated from my boyfriend for one of the legs. (Which considering that we had to take three flights about five and a half hours after we bought the tickets, was pretty remarkable.) I was trying to think of a way to get out of explaining to the people next to me that I'd unexpectedly lost my father about ten hours earlier when suddenly I remembered that This American Life episode and it was like this bizarre wave of relief. "Wait a minute. People cry on airplanes! I'm just one more person inexplicably crying on the plane! This is a cry acceptable zone! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!"

likethestore

@Diana Once years ago on a flight (before everyone had individual screens) they played I Am Sam and 100% of the ladies on that flight wept.

Melusina

@H.E. Ladypants I've been an expat for 10 years and I still cry like crazy every single time I say goodbye to my family. Airplanes are totally cry acceptable zones. See also: the queue for airport security, airport lounges. We won't even talk about the time I went home when my father was close to death -- I was one of those people that the flight attendants had to ask to go sip some water in the galley until I calmed down. (The flight attendants were amazingly supportive. Virgin Atlantic.)

lolita

@Diana Not on the flight, but several years ago I was flown home last-minute to say good-bye to my dying grandfather. I was in grad school and hadn't done something fancy like flying for quite awhile; in the interim they had implemented the three-ounce liquids rule. Which of course I did not even think about. So I get to security, they (predictably, in hindsight) have no sympathy for my plight and proceed to throw away my entire bag of toiletries. I burst into tears, of course, and the entire line was halted, everyone froze and looked immediately uncomfortable. (Surprisingly I was not strip searched, in hindsight.)

Finally two people just about the age of my grandparents came up and gave me a huge hug and got my life moving again so I didn't miss my flight. Then my mom bought me all new things while I was at home.

Charlotte

@Diana Yeah, I watched "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly". It was not crying, it was some gross bawling/weeping embarrassment combo deal.

titsgrande

@Diana I did long distance between Calgary and Prague for a while with the now husband and crying through security and crying on a plane is not fun (at least 5 times because that's how many trips there were) One lady gave me a Kleenex, everyone else just ignored me. So glad I don't have to go through all of that again!

martinipie

Yesssssss. I fly transatlantic regularly--sometimes 7-hour NY-London flights, sometimes 11-hour SF-London ones--and this is spot. on. I am also a proponent of maxi skirts for planes! And I put leggings on soon after takeoff and then remove them before landing, because I always find airports strangely hot (except the Phoenix one which is COLD AS ANTARCTICA) but planes are without exception cold. Also I wear contacts most of them time but do a switcheroo to my glasses/vice versa (I am really, really astigmatic without them) at the same time as the leggings.

But essentially your tips are exactly what I do and I have nothing else new to add. I am so glad I am not the only one who does this kind of crap! I always see really put-together women in the gate with like, one pretty handbag, and I am sweaty and carrying a backpack for my laptop and a shitty tote bag for everything else and get paranoid that I'm overdoing it.

formergr

@martinipie I fly transatlantic lots too, and am fascinated by these women who get on in coach on super high heels, wearing super tight pants (with wedgie potential), and have a tiny purse that is too small for even a book and nothing else. How do they sit in that outfit for so long?? What do they do the whole flight (this includes flights without seatback video options). The mind boggles.

ample pie

@formergr: Look behind them for the husband with the duffel bag?

Watts Up?

@martinipie YES. Why is Sky Harbor so damn cold? It's in the middle of the desert!

Sensory Homoncula

@formergr YES on the Trophy Girls that strut through the airport in 6-1/2 inch stiletto heels, and they wear enough makeup to choke a goat, and hair styled like the cover of Cosmo. Do they experience discomfort or boredom, or is that their permanent state of being anyway?

lisma

Planes make me grateful to be a smaller person. When I see my cabin mates all jammed into their seats, their legs splaying into the aisle in constant danger of being run over by a beverage cart, I feel very smug. Of course, my punishment for being such a smug brat is that I am an airplane vomiter.

limberliz

@ginalouise I am very grateful for my short legs. They serve me very well during flights. My stinky feet don't go over nearly as well. I'm considering bringing a tea tree oil foot spray in a tiny bottle for my trip to Thailand in three weeks.

Maria

Apparently also be prepared for a red-eye to London to serve you dinner at 1am, and then ask you not to put your seat back until the meal time is finished. They completely screwed with my well prepared sleep plan.

karion

Long flights always leave me feeling dirty, so here are my remedies:

Skin? Comodynes with Oats for Sensitive Skin.See also Hydra Stick!

For limp, flat hair? Evo Hair Powder. This shit is magical.

Eat: Any of the Trader Ming boxes from Trader Joe's. The flight attendants will zap them for you for a few minutes and you are good to go.

Chris@twitter

Snacks are great (but make sure you eat the fruit before landing anywhere that is antsy about biosecurity), but IDK about all this changing. I just wear my comfortable clothes to the airport and whoever picks me up/sits next to me on a bus can deal with the fact that I smell a bit until I get to a shower. I guess that's the 'lady' part that I'm missing.

themegnapkin

After reading The Survivor's Club (hint - do not read the chapter on how to survive an airplane crash while you are actually on an airplane), I now wear lace-up shoes (you don't want slip ons or flip flops as you flee a burning wreckage) and natural fibers (because acrylic melts).

angelinha

@themegnapkin I was about to go on a trip once in college and a classmate told me to make sure to wear sneakers on the plane. When I asked why he said, very seriously, "So you can make it safely through the rubble." That's stuck with me ever since and I always find myself sharing the advice with people moments before they get on a plane...sorryyy

themegnapkin

@klibberfish One thing the book advises is that you make sure your co-passengers are paying attention to the security briefing and reading the pamphlet. Following this advice is how you make sure your co-passengers think you're stupid and crazy. When they think you're stupid and crazy, they don't try to talk to you during the flight, so maybe it it's actually a brilliant strategy?

pinesy

@themegnapkin I remember reading about the natural fibers thing somewhere. It made be a bit paranoid that one time I flew in a dress and tights.

punkahontas

Why am I not seeing anything about anti-bacterial wipes? Did I miss it? The first thing I do when I get to my seat is to wipe down everything I can with an anti-bacterial wipe. I'm THAT person!

melis

@punkahontas Girl, I'm sitting right behind you, taking off my shoes, and putting my feet up on the back of your armrest. What's that touching your elbow? It's my sock, girl. It's the toe of my sock.

rararuby

@punkahontas THANK YOU for reminding me of the little gem of advice I knew I knew but could not remember!
Put around the insides of your nostrils! Seriously, it will trap the airborne diseases until you wipe the little bastards right out. And it stops me getting that dried out head feeling.
Also, drink more water than you think you need (and make sure you get an aisle seat).

Brunhilde

@rararuby wait, are you lining your nostrils with anti-bacterial wipes? Do you shove bits of it up your nose and use one as a face mask so you can deeply breath in antibiotic chemicals along with your dirty, dirty airplane air?

punkahontas

@melis As long as you're not the crying baby!

@rararuby I use this Ayr nose gel (when I remember to pack it & Q-tips) It's great.

rararuby

@Brunhilde
Oh man - I just read over what I wrote. In my excitement to pass on this nugget I left out the word for the thing I put up my nostril.

It is VASELINE! Or anything else with a similar consistency. Last time I flew transatlantic I forgot my tub of vaseline so I used my 8-hour cream (also a good thing to have in the flight kit - pick it up in the airport for cheaps).

Anyway, to clarify, smear vaseline on the inside of your nostrils! Do not shove bits of antibac wipes up there. Or do, but don't say I told you to!

punkahontas

@rararuby Wait, I've been thinking about buying the 8-hour cream (for my face, not my nose.) Is it really fantastic? What if you're prone to clogged pores?

rararuby

@punkahontas
I use it on my lips, my cuticles (and hands all over when I'm flying), my scaly elbows, etc. I have acne prone skin so I would never put it on my face, but I know you can get it in different varieties now. Like the original "cream" is more like a squishy orange balm, but you can get actual creamy creams and moisturisers too, but I have not tried those.
I mostly use almond, jojoba and rosehip oil (equal parts) on my face which is really moisturising but not cloggy.

punkahontas

@rararuby Thanks! I am so nervous about doing the oil thing on my face even though I know it's supposed to be great. Perhaps I'll give it a shot this winter...

rararuby

@punkahontas I am such an evangelist for the oil thing! I do oil cleansing and my mix as above, which I normally use at night and then a retin-A based moisturiser in the morning under make-up. I am break-out free (apart from the odd period zit) for 6 months!
Try it! Winter is a good time to start.

Ophelia

@rararuby Also, saline nose spray. I can't believe I forgot this! The dry air in the airplane dries out your nasal passages, making you more susceptible to germs. Saline nasal spray both a)rehydrates your nose and b) rinses that shit out. I used to get sick every time I flew, and now it's down to probably once ever 5 times.

gfrancie

@Ophelia I will second the saline nose spray. Also dried out nasal passages can be so painful on a plane.

Graydon Gordian

Where does the scotch come in? I mean, we all know it's critical to have 3 fingers at the airport bar, but are you settling for just one mini-bottle or are you giving the flight attendant a knowing nod-and-wink in the hopes that she slips you an extra one?

melis

@Graydon Gordian The mouth, usually.

HERE ALL WEEK

Graydon Gordian

@melis HEYO. Watch it now, at 10,000 feet it's not safe to be on fire.

amity

Or for us lowly, untraveled proletariat: How To Survive an 8-Hour Megabus Ride

Brunhilde

@amity I've gotten pretty good at surviving west coast Amtrak train rides. 9 hour drive? Wouldn't it be more fun to take the train for 17 hours?

alpelican

@amity at least you HAVE Megabus. Take bus to Atlanta/Houston/any city nearby? LOL NO U DRIVIN

Ferris Wheel

Ok, but PLEASE, for the love of God, do not eat bananas in public! The smell! The sound! The leftover peel that continues to smell! I can't be the only person who thinks bananas are like masturbating: wonderful and delicious but only appropriate in private (or maybe with a partner? Close enough).

rararuby

@Ferris Wheel Wow really? Bananas were totally on my list of foods appropriate for public consumption.

major disaster

@rararuby I'm with Ferris Wheel. I enjoy eating a banana now and then, but the smell of them, especially from a leftover peel that could be sitting around for possibly hours, is nauseating.

bangs
bangs

@Ferris Wheel Seriously! A friend of mine used to dump her banana peels in other people's garbages because she hated the smell so much.

MrsLlama

@Ferris Wheel I love you. I bring bananas to work for snack but I am so self-conscious about eating them. I have to wait until my office-mate leaves the room- The second she goes to the bathroom or whatever I inhale that banana and throw away the peel in the kitchen trashcan. It's like it never happened!

I also get upset when people eat apples near me in public. Especially on public transportation. It is so foul.

Megasus

OMG THE GLASSES THING YES. On my way back from Japan last year I accidently fell asleep with them in my hand, and I dropped them, and then I was blind and couldn't find my glasses and weepy from sleep meds and they wound up ON THE SEAT BEHIND ME. Miraculously they did not get stepped on, and I did have a spare pair, so I guess it could have been worse.

Four Horsemeals of the Eggporkalypse

On my last long flight I was so jealous of the dude next to me who clearly took your advice, because he drank two mini bottles of wine and one of scotch and then passed the fuck out for the entire six hours. I might even have admired him if his passing-out hadn't made me have to climb over two people on my other side to pee.

Anna Weber@facebook

Just don't forget to get rid of excess fruit and such before going through customs on your overseas flight! Otherwise, you might end up the most cozy and refreshed looking occupant of your local lock-up.

Ophelia

@Anna Weber@facebook I was once on a plane to Haiti, where, 30 minutes before landing, some lady took out a giant bag of fruit (like seriously, 4 oranges and a bunch of apples) and started passing it around, because she just then learned that she couldn't take it through customs. It was pretty awesome for the rest of us.

Jane C. Nolan@facebook

These suggestions (as well as ones in comments) are awesome. I've been flying to the general Australia region once a year for the last four years, and the things that have kept me mostly sane are Valium (I drop that fucker the second dinner's been cleared) and ponying up for Economy Plus on United. The extra legroom makes such a difference in my general mood and the Valium...well, come on. It's Valium.

ample pie

@Jane C. Nolan@facebook: I don't know if you are booking your flights, or where you are flying from, but I hear rumors that the other airlines going to Australia from California are much nicer and worth ponying up for.

I flew United Economy Minus from L.A. to Sydney and back, and ohmygod, my legs. I'm 5'7" and I had such a good understanding of how a 6'5" dude must feel every time. Plus United flies super-old planes on that route, and in regular coach, there are no in-screen TVs.

cuminafterall

Glad I've avoided going too far over the Pacific so far. 15 hours on a plane-- I would hate it. I love to travel, but I need layovers! Lots of them.

Marzipan

@cuminafterall Noooooo that's the worst! I was gunna say, whatever, I don't need to prepare for the flight. You got your own personal tv, perodic food/snacks/gifts from stewardesses, reading material, and plenty of time for sleepytimes. The LAYOVER, man, that's what I need advice on.

It's so stressful! It's all "Run run run but wait wait wait in this line, why is this line moving so slow? go on this bus are you sure, definitely me? I should definitely go on this bus? I have to get on a plane in 43 minutes. if this "shuttle" thing is a mistake I will be SCREWED. should I ask? okay, bus, come on. where is it? why is this bus taking forever? where are we going? ACK, security again are you kidding me? which line do I go in? is this the right line? how could there be so many signs and I still don't know where to go? "Hello I wanted -" "no! go over there! you could not be more wrong!" ARGH ALRIGHT. I have my ticket already but where am I going to check this baggage? ugh why is this line so long? okay, I'm in. googogogogogo! oh, buy a converter for my laptop, dammit how did I forget this! I can't wait until the next airport, the converter will go the wrong way there. hurry hurry take my $20 bucks man. Okay, I'm here! Jeez, I have like two hours, what am I supposed to do with an two hours in an airport terminal? can't even go to sleep gunna miss my flight and I don't want to use up all my reading material and I'm not going to spend 3 dollars on an orange, are you kidding me?

every tomorrow@twitter

@cuminafterall Layovers are the DEVIL. My boyfriend is from Ireland and we live on the west coast of the US and there is apparently no longer any such thing as a direct flight from our city to Dublin, so going there involves 3 planes, generally. Which has led to a lot of adventures in "I have not slept more than 2 hours in a row in the last 30 hours and now I am stuck in this shithole airport waiting for them to decide whether they're delaying our flight and changing our gate for the eighth time or if we are finally getting on the plane."

If I never see the inside of Calgary's stupid airport again I will be able to die a happy woman, is what I am really saying here.

cuminafterall

@Marzipan Yikes, that sounds stressful! I love layovers for the chance to people-watch, pee in a human-sized bathroom, and one time I had a layover in Vienna where I was able to go into the city and get coffee and a pastry at a Viennese cafe, which was great. Also, I love to watch planes take off and land.

I haven't had to do a complicated claim-your-luggage-and-then-check-in-for-your-connecting-flight kind of layover in a few years, but it helps to study the airport layout ahead of time so you have an idea of where to go and where the obstacles/choke points are. Do online check-in for the connecting flight if you can, and make your carry-on a backpack, which keeps your hands free.

desi

When I was in third grade and my parents let me and my sisters fly to PR all by ourselves for the first time, my mom insisted I wear dresses on planes, because it's easier to go to the bathroom. I still hold steadfastly to this rule. I bring tights to put on in case it gets chilly.

dracula's ghost

Damn y'all, on an international flight I go FULL SWEATPANTS, no changing, no spare panties. I am like "FUCK ALL Y'ALL" with my eye-mask and my 2 bottles of wine and my Office reruns at 3 a.m. A part of me kind of enjoys just being crammed into an uncomfortable zone with nothing to do but drink wine and watch bad movies. Plus people bringing me food seemingly constantly.

Full sweatpants, comfy socks, a hat, an eye-mask, wine, and making sure to check the "vegetarian" box = about as comfortable as I'm gonna get.

Can we talk about the TERROR of realizing you're going to finish the book you brought like 20 minutes into a 15-hour flight? I think a thing to add to this list would be "check your reading material." If you're only 100 pages from the end of Game of Thrones, sister, that's not gonna cut it

major disaster

@dracula's ghost Oh god yes, the running out of reading material. I've never been on a super-long flight, but it's happened to me on shorter ones, and it's awful. I used to subscribe to Vanity Fair but would never read them, and then I'd bring a whole bunch whenever I traveled, and they'd always last (I also sleep a lot on planes so I don't usually even need that much to read). But then I let the subscription run out, and on my last trip I had none left and the single issue I bought at the airport didn't last. I had nothing else to do and was so bored. I also once flew from NYC to Boston and didn't bring much because that is like a 45-minute flight. And then we got stuck on the tarmac for three hours because of thunderstorms. That was the absolute worst because not only was I bored out of my skull, but we had no idea when it was ever going to end.

chelsaurus

Such good advice here! Gawd, I hate flying. I'm a short person and STILL feel totally claustrophobic, crampy, and grumpy about the sardine-ness of economy. It's the worst.

I also vouch for the UrbanEars! I used my (over-ear) pair on two 15-hour flights this summer and was so, so grateful to have them. Also: anti-bacterial wipes, your own water bottle (forgot this once, asked for one, and was told they were "out"), Dramamine, and two gossip magazines.

Fly Qantas whenever possible for the kind of decent service and illusion of luxury. Finally, buy this blanket because it's warm, has feet pockets, and can also be a non-germy pillow. Even though it's kinda big, it can be strapped to whatever bag you're already hauling: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002H9XCN4

RachelAnn

@chelsaurus

My first time flying Quantas, I felt like I was flying first class. Free eye mask, socks, and toothbrush? Hell yes. Of course I have never flown first class and probably never will, so who knows what it's really like up there with the rich folk.

Laura Anderson@twitter

Once I made the mistake of wearing gym shorts on an 8 hour flight. Also, ordering the vegetarian meal is not an enjoyable alternative. It to you way before anyone else and you can either awkwardly eat it in front of everyone or awkwardly leave it sitting in front of you while you wait for everyone else to be served 45 minutes later. I think the airlines like to punish by shaming the people who order the special meals.

Hot mayonnaise

@Laura Anderson@twitter: The veggie meals are usually better though. Or they used to be, when they still served meals on domestic flights.

ample pie

Earplugs. Eye mask. I like to bring a little bottle of argan oil because I can use it on my cuticles, my face, and the ends of my hair.

I bring my own blanket (or at minimum a pashmina) and a U-shaped neck pillow. It's not that I'm above using the ones the airline provides if push comes to shove, but they're not that substantial.

I also consider it a great tip to wear your boots, they keep your feet warm and free up more space in your suitcase. This tip is null and void if you have to change plans in Barajas airport in Madrid, however, because let me tell you, you have miles to go and your heels may slow you down.

Also, a Kindle is the most worthwhile treat for yourself ever. And so nice for flying. You can pack so many extra books. And the battery life is 40 hours!

elizabeast

@ample pie Kindle! My Kindle has saved my sanity a hundred times! Kindle forever!

Momster

@ample pie Re: wearing your boots: I just got some good walking-around boots for a trip to Europe later this fall and my plan was to wear them on the plane, mainly so I won't have to fit them in my luggage. My husband, a frequent air-traveller, tells me I'll piss off everyone behind me in the security line if I wear boots. But can't I just unzip them in advance or something?

missneni

@ample pie I do the transatlantic thing roughly twice a year, and every Christmas time I do it in boots. Just sort of be aware and take them off early enough. Generally I take them (and my sweater) off when the person in front of me is getting to the little trays. Then I just step to the tray, pop them in, and throw the liquids zippie on top. And post security, too, just pick them up and walk to the "readjusting" area. Boots don't irritate people, juice boxes wearing boots irritate people.

ru_ri

I have flown from Tokyo to the US many times. Once I sat next to a Japanese guy who picked his nose incessantly for the _entire_ flight. Ever since then, I bring an eyemask.

I wore a skirt the last time I flew in the US, and got pulled into the "extra-special grope" security line. I wondered why, and they said it was because of the skirt. Because they couldn't see between my legs (it was a long skirt). So, no more skirts on a plane for me.

I usually bring the inflatable pillow, contact lens case filled with saline, ipod, big silk scarf, chewing gum, and hand cream, but sometimes I forget. As long as I have a toothbrush and good toothpaste, it is OK. That long a flight is really awful when you can't brush your teeth, though.

elizabeast

Is this a safe space to admit that I can't deal with those girls strolling through the airport with their Spongebob pajama pants and their pillows from home? I can't deal at all.

My in-flight outfit is dark, comfortable jeans (or leggings) a longish, loose-fitting, woven top, and nice flats. I do my make up and my hair into a bun, and I smile smile smile. Smile forever. Never stop smiling. An easy way to get bumped up to business class? Smiling and all of the pleases and thank yous in the entire world.

In terms of in-flight entertainment, I really do love bringing my knitting. I usually have 2-3 projects: a simple sock in just one stitch, a more complicated sock and/or a lace something in a lace yarn. These things are small or can be made to be small. They keep me relaxed and entertained for hours. Dear Knitting, Thank you.

piggie

@elizabeast Yes! Smile, be polite, help others where you can, and look presentable. These are my main rules for flying with my wee ones. It is surprising how much the gate agents will do to make things easier on a relaxed, polite mother traveling alone with kids. Necessary to create the "relaxed, polite mother," of course, is a comfortable buffer of time and maybe a glass of wine before you're dropped off.

every tomorrow@twitter

@elizabeast On my last flight I blew the attendants' minds by pulling out my cross-stitch project.

Did you know you can get embroidery needles and a 3-inch pair of scissors through security screenings and onto an international flight? Because you totally can and then the flight attendants will all coo at the fact that you are cross-stitching a goose.

blee

@every tomorrow@twitter I tried to bring my cross stitch on a short-ish flight from Atlanta to Denver a few years ago and promptly lost the only needle I brought with me. lesson: bring lots and lots of needles.

elizabeast

@gangey I'm appalled at the way parents (single or with a partner) are treated in airports and on flights. What is the deal with jerks who won't help someone with their stroller? Or who won't help them collect their things after they drop their bag? Who raised those jerks?!

Ok sure, a crying kid is annoying, but it's a kid! Does no one remember what it's like to fly as a child? It's kind of scary and totally sucks and you're four so you don't really have coping mechanisms for that kind of thing.

This could easily turn into a rant. Basically, I just hate when people won't help a mom out. I yelled at someone on the subway this morning for not moving so that a woman with two kids--one in a stroller--could have two seats together. I hate everyone.

every tomorrow@twitter

@elizabeast The biggest jerk on a plane I ever saw was this guy sitting in the row in front of me who refused to swap seats with a lady so she could sit with her two children, who were both under age five. Because the woman had a middle seat.

I had an aisle seat, and also am NOT AN IDIOT and had visions of one or more unattended children for the next several hours flashing before my eyes, so I just got up and told the juicebox to take my seat, and swapped with the poor lady. (Unexpected benefit: The flight attendants thought I was a hero and showered me with all the drinks and snacks I could consume.)

On the other side of the coin was the time a family tried to bring their two very large and very ill twin toddlers, who they had lied and booked as babes in arms who didn't need their own seats, on a 5+ hour flight. The flight attendants told them the kids were too sick to fly, they called the consulting nurse who told them the kids' eardrums would quite probably rupture if they flew, everyone else on the plane was starting to act like extras in Contagion, and the family still refused to get off the damn plane until the pilot had airport security escort them off. And airport security had to threaten to have them arrested to get them to budge. I mean I understand the desire to get home, but I also understand ruptured eardrums.

i kant even

two recipes for a great flight:
1) take 1.5 ambien on an empty stomach upon boarding. enjoy watching the seat in front of you appear to melt, dali-style, and pass out shortly thereafter. sleep all the way to your destination!

2) get to airport early, hit airport bar (once again, on an empty stomach). get an awesome bartender who makes you a crazy strong blood mary, bond with girl sitting next to you over how much flying sucks and how awesome said bartender is. take 1 ambien while boarding, pass out and sleep all the way to your destination!

seriously though, flying is the one time i appreciate being really petite. i can curl up and sleep in a plane seat like nobody's business.

thebestjasmine

@shivster Is this the place where I can safely tell the story of the time I fell off a stool in an airport bar?

Peanut

@thebestjasmine Please!

thenotestaken

@thebestjasmine Is this the place where I can safely tell the story of the time I got too drunk during a layover and wasn't allowed on my connecting flight?

(I wish I was kidding)

thebestjasmine

@thenotestaken I will if you will! Granted, my story is not all that interesting -- I was in an airport bar, drinking while waiting for my delayed flight (obviously), and I don't know exactly how I did it, but suddenly my bar stool tipped back and I fell onto the floor off the stool (the stool fell with me). The worst part is that everyone looked at me kind of pityingly, like "ooh, that girl" and didn't say a word or help me get up.

FoxyRoxy

I really just love every single post about air travel on this site.

can't get there from here

for a lady who hates to wear sweatpants in public ever, tall sweatpants from target you save my life. I've been traveling since i was about 3 and was raised on the idea that flight was an event. Best dress, best tights, best shoes, 20 hr flight. my first flight alone I lifted the window when everyone was asleep, to see the sunrise over the atlantic (guys this is obviously the best thing to do) and got yelled at. drinking tons of water has been the only consistent travel buddy i have had. but also i would like Chicago to know that after 23hrs of flight, the city is something real special at 2am

likethestore

Earplugs should be number two on this list after food. Maybe even number one. Earplugs! Earplugs!

I'm so attached to mine, I have to sleep with them every night even though my house is dead silent.

bygolly

Earplugs are a definite must. Use them for take-off and landing as well to prevent head-exploding ear pressure (the first time this happened I was looking around at the other passengers wondering why no one else was screaming in pain!) and to avoid spending your holiday with an ear infection.
For all of you who can't sleep sitting, has anyone come up with a mildy comfortable contortionist position that I haven't thought of yet? I've had moderate success with the "head on tray table."

Valerista

@bygolly I've seriously considered that blowup blue pillow that rests on your lap and is like a giant triangle. I just don't want to blow it up on the plane. I should get over this embarrassment thing.

Petra Farmer@facebook

@Valerista I use a beach ball and rest it on the tray table. Deflates and fits nicely in my bag.

Melusina

Thank you for mentioning the cheap ball point pen. NB: It must be black or blue! Immigration staff do not take kindly to customs forms filled out in whimsical colours such as purple or red, it turns out. If you're wondering why I would even try this, it's because my black pen is alway the one that explodes.

Unilaterally avoid Uniballs. Put away the Parker and the Pentel. Bring the Bic. Pack the Papermate.

mbmargarita

@thenotestaken With you on the magazines, but there is no way I'm offering gum to my seatmates. I can not stand being in confined spaces next to someone chewing gum-- especially people who can't seem to figure out that it can be done with the mouth closed.

kayjay

I honestly have no clue how I flew back and forth from my hometown in Alaska (12 hours from NY to Anchorage) before the advent of being able to put movies on my iPod. Or before I could legally drink. Or before I could get a prescription for Xanax. Or when I still smoked. How did we DO IT, people??? How did we get through back in those days?

RachelAnn

Also, think about what you eat BEFORE you board the plane. The last time I went to Australia, I decided to hit up Chilis for my final meal in the US (how patriotic of me). Smelling like onion rings/mini burgers for 15 hours was lovely. And probably also really enjoyable for my seatmates.

wee_ramekin

@RachelAnn Oh GOD, this is so true.

The last time I flew, my sister had just introduced me to the amazingness that is Trader Joe's Roasted Seaweed. We seriously each went through about 6 packs before I boarded my flight home.

That was the most terrible idea in the history of the world. I was dumb and didn't take a Gas-X before consuming all that seaweed, and as soon as I sat down, my stomach started to expand with the MOST PAINFUL GAS of all time. It was like the fury of a million gaseous suns. I seriously started crying silent tears. I felt like I was being ripped apart from the inside.

I survived take-off, but I had never realized that actual eons of time pass before you can walk around the cabin. I told the flight attendant that I had to puke, and rushed to the bathroom, where I spent the next half hour with my butt higher than my head, almost killing myself as I replaced all of the oxygen in that teeny tiny bathroom with methane. I felt SO BAD for the person who used the bathroom after me, but I was actually afraid that I might start a fire if I lit a match before vacating the room (plus, all those signs about it being a felony to smoke/tamper with the smoke detector really scared me).

Holy hell, that was the worst flight of all time.

TheSkyGirl

Oh darlings. As a flight attendant, may I please offer some suggestions? Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT MIX AMBIEN AND ALCOHOL. Trust me, no one will be amused when you SLEEP STRIP OFF ALL YOUR CLOTHES and/or pass out in the bathroom. Choose one or the other (Ambien or alcohol, not sleep-stripping or passing out in the bathroom). And keep in mind that while wine & beer are complimentary on Euro flights (at least at my airline) we will cut you off if you start acting a fool. So please, don't act a fool.

Also, please feel free to come to the galley to get a glass of water. But once you have been handed your water, kindly vacate. I don't want to sound like a bitch, but that galley in the ONLY place we flight attendants can hang out. And peeps who come in and start doing yoga in our precious space will get the stink eye. And will be told that passengers are not allowed on non-carpeted areas, regardless of whether that is true or not. We know you need to stretch your legs. As long as the seat-belt sign is off, feel free to walk laps around the plane. Just don't start doing your deep knee bends while I'm trying to eat my dinner. It's awkward.

And one last thing, when making special requests of the flight attendants, if you just say please, I can almost guarantee that if we can help you, we will. If you come on and start demanding shit, oh honey. We will go out of our way to NOT help you. But a simple please and a smile and I'll be happy to fill your personal container with water and put some hot water if your cup o' noodles and find you some silverware and maybe even slip you a few extra packets of pretzels!

Watts Up?

I have that blazer and it is so flattering (even on big-chested Ladies, like me) and comfy. Classy sweatshirt-blazer thingies FTW.

Charlotte

On a flight to France I took three Dramamine, had a tiny bottle of Sutter Home and tripped balls to Sting's "Be Still My Beating Heart" for like 4 hours.

Sophia Fuka

Yurbuds, (www.yurbuds.com) are THE BEST earbuds!

Julie

Singapore Airlines are awesome. Food is good, service is usually excellent and you get pillows and blankets that get properly laundered and sealed in plastic after every use in Singapore. The Inflight entertainment is also excellent and I think I might love their inflight shopping.

Malaysia Airlines are also awesome, for similar reasons, and also the only time I had to do a mercy dash and our plane was cancelled due to issues, they rebooked us on the next flight along with the first class/business class and frequent flyer people. Everyone else had to wait until midnight the following night.

Lise Mctaggart@facebook

I fly Virgin Atlantic exclusively for the "Premium Economy" which is tots delightful and they have the best free news rack on departing flights from Heathrow. Everything goes in one tote and netbook is first to come out for ease at security. I wear flats for same reason stated above. I dress nice, always say please and thank you and help out struggling Mums with babes. I will go to the galley for more wine; saves the air hostess a trip. I always take the first flight out of Newark on Mondays at eight AM so no need to sleep or worry about trying to. I just sit back, enjoy the first rate movies and documentaries, have some great food and service. I love to fly, BTW.

Kiki Summers@facebook

For a long flight, a well-stocked Bento Box will make you the envy of your seatmates... http://askthechicgeek.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-to-eat-first-class-in-coach.html

vanessacp

Will remember these the NEXT time I find myself flying to London through Finnair on a 20 hour flight. Can.Not.Wait.

vanessacp

Actually, even if I fly direct, the tips are still great...

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Blushingflwr

Heh, I just ordered a new pair of urbanears headphones b/c mine are currently not transmitting sound to both ears (unless the cord is in *exactly* the right position), but I love them. My boyfriend and I went on a train trip over the summer and we both have them, and having him hook into mine so we could listen to the same music was pretty great.
I also have a Paul Simon playlist on my iPod so that if I foolishly put my Xanax in the overhead bin and then can't get to it because I am trapped between two large dudes whose shoulders are encroaching into my seat I have something that will help.

pjckmen

Oh yeah! I agree with the idea that there is a coincidence.

friv

Harris, Emmeline

Hey everyone, is it Done on the internet to comment on an old post? Because if it is, I'd love to know how you deal with the (usually male) oblivious people who sprawl on you/spread out their legs into your leg space/take up the armrest/generally don't realise they're pressing against you unless they shrink back like we are conditioned to do... Any tips? I'm the biggest most assertive feminista and I am disappointed at my lack of assertiveness on the plane - this happens to me all. the. time. Melbourne to London is a long time to stew...

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Petra Farmer@facebook

My ankles swelled once. My cousin, a nurse, told me to take two baby aspirin before a long flight, never had ankle swelling again. Also, I carry an inflatable beach ball. I put the tray table down, inflate the beach ball and rest it on the tray table, it becomes my pillow. Much more comfortable that leaning back or sideways.

Jeff's Tongue

Thanks for a nice article, but I have some important pointers.

Suggesting sleeping pills AND wine to people is actually a terrible, TERRIBLE idea. In case you're not aware, you should never mix medications and alcohol unless your doctor has OK'd it.

And maybe your doctor really did OK it in your case. But still you shouldn't recommend medication to people unless you yourself are a healthcare professional and even then, they would have to be your patients, not some random people online.

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AmosWojcik

I never get 10 hours flight during my vacation. But if I get it I think I will sleep because that's a long journey in a plane. mobile spy

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