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Take Comfort Inflight

Easing the Stresses and Discomforts of Long Flights


A long flight in an economy seat is one of the prospects that air travelers tend to dread. Here are a few tips to try and make it more comfortable.
  • Place one of the provided pillows between your lower back (just below your ribs) and the seat. Helps ease back soreness.
  • Pack your own neck pillow, or scrunch one provided by the airline to support your neck.
  • Do periodic stretches. Place your hands on the armrests and slowly twist your torso to loosen your upper body.
  • When the seatbelt light is off, stretch your legs by walking down the aisle of the aircraft with a bit more bend in your knees.
  • Limber up swollen feet by slowly turning your feet at the ankle in circular patterns. Should help maintain good blood flow. Flexing and extending your feet from the ankle can help as well.
  • Moisturize hands and face with heavy/lasting creams or petroleum jelly (don't do this one if your skin is naturally on the oily side). The air is very dry inflight and thin moisturizers wear or rub off.
  • Keep the air vent above you open. Dampen a facecloth, place it over your face, and aim the air vent at the cloth. Helps with dryness. I also like to dilute an essential oil like lavender with water and pour it into a mini spray bottle, then dampen the cloth with that. A more loosely woven material like cheesecloth is also a good option as you can throw it away at the end of your flight.
  • Bring lots of chewing gum for changes in air pressure. Ears don't always pop just during take-off and landing times, but during the flight. Helps with the nerves as well!
  • Wear loose fitting, slip on shoes. Feet swell, and if you take shoes off at any point in a flight, a shoe that just fits can be painful to put back on.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes. Inflight dining and drinking may leave you feeling bloated.
  • If you are wearing pantyhose or tights make sure that you moisturize your legs well. The dryness inflight can make legs feel very itchy in tights or pantyhose if you don't.
  • Try and drink as many non alcoholic beverages as possible. Perhaps bring an extra bottle of water with you.
  • When traveling with a broken arm, or toe, etc., make sure that your doctor has provided you with adequate pain medication. The compression inflight can make a broken bone feel excruciatingly painful.
  • If you are concerned about blood clots and the much publicized economy class syndrome (deep vein thrombosis) consider taking an aspirin before flying as it has blood thinning properties.
  • Try not to keep your hair in a ponytail, or use hair clips in the back of your head. These will dig into your head after a few hours of the rigid seat backs.
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