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Short trips aside, traveling in coach class can be disagreeable at best and deplorable at worst. The longer the flight, the more intense the unpleasantness. You properly pack your suitcase or travel bag ? There is other things to thing about !
There’s something unnerving about being trapped in a cramped seat for hours on end in a tiny bubble of personal space. It’s even worse when there is no possibility of escape.
If flying coach makes you feel like just another sardine in the tin, you must take matters into your own hands. Turn your seat, including the area around it, into a warm, nurturing pod where you are safe and protected. In this serene space, you can relax and enjoy your journey.
Never accept the first seat you’re offered. Instead, get a seat that gives you most of what you want. Getting the right seat can transform your flight experience altogether. Here are five tips to help you make it happen !
1. Choose Your Seat Carefully
There are aisle seat people, and there are window seat people. Only those folks who have already transcended this reality are okay with getting stuck in the middle. Where you fall on the continuum is irrelevant. What matters is that you get a comfortable seat.
Every blessing has a challenge, and every challenge has a blessing. The extra legroom that an aisle seat confers might come with a seat that won’t recline. Unless you can comfortably sleep sitting straight up, make sure that the aisle seat you choose is of the reclining variety.
If you need more space, book a seat in the row behind the exit so no one will recline in front of you. On the downside, those seats don’t have under-seat storage or a front seat pocket. Seats in the front of most airlines tend to be roomier overall.
Window seats are a good option if you want to hunker down and have some personal time. Your space won’t be violated by fellow passengers making bathroom trips or flight attendants passing food and drink over your sleeping body.
Privacy on a coach flight is a precious commodity. If you don’t want to converse with the middle seat person, you can merely gaze out the window to express your disinterest.
Window seats also put you in charge of whether the window shade is up or down. For people who are light-sensitive or easily burned by UV-A rays, a window seat means not being subjected to someone else’s preference for full sun.
Last but not least, don’t forget to check when choosing your seat on board that you have space to place your carry-on bag in the luggage compartment.
2. Book Your Trip Early
Purchase your ticket as soon as possible for access to the choicest seats. At www.seatguru.com, you can locate the most sought-after seats for every type of airline.
Prime seating is easier to secure when you fly on Tuesday or Wednesday because those flights are not so crowded. They’re cheaper as well.
If you can’t book early, you might get stuck with a seat you don’t want. Don’t give up. Keep checking back to see if your preferred seat has become available. If that doesn’t work, arrive early at the airport to see if the airline has released new seats.
Tell the gate agent which seat you want and hope for the best. If that fails, ask again before boarding. If that doesn’t work, there’s one more thing you can do.
Wait until all passengers have boarded and are seated. There may be some empty seats in the back with extra stretch-out space. Ask the cabin crew if you can switch seats. In most cases, they’ll be happy to help. They might even bump you up to first class.
3. Maintain Hydration
Airline travel causes dehydration, and dehydration can make you feel sick. On a 10-hour flight, you could lose up to eight percent of your body water.
Spending long periods of time in an environment with reduced oxygen and relative humidity levels as low as 10 percent is a recipe for dehydration. This is true even if you drink water during a flight and don’t feel thirsty.
Dehydration symptoms can include fatigue, dizziness, irritability, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting and headaches. It’s nearly impossible to reduce this kind of water loss. However, plenty of water will keep your body water balanced and reduce jet lag in the bargain.
You can get water from the flight attendants in transit, but do you really want to? You have to get their attention, and they’re usually busy with something else. Pack an empty plastic bottle, and fill it after moving through airport security. Stash it in your seat pocket, and sip your water in peace.
4. Eat Light and Avoid Alcohol
Air travel is stressful by nature. Alcohol might confer a brief wave of relief, but when it starts to wear off, you’ll still feel stressed. Alcohol causes dehydration, and that can make dehydration symptoms worse.
Likewise, rich airline meals can overtax your digestive system. Don’t go hungry. Instead, bring some tangerines, apples and bananas to sustain you during the flight and to keep your metabolism balanced.
A recent survey revealed that one-third of airline travelers considered air travel more stressful than visiting the DMV or filing tax returns. Additionally, half of airline travelers would prefer to visit in-laws, do spring cleaning or see the dentist over taking a 12-hour flight.
5. Bring Your Own Blankie
Airplane cabins are cold. No one knows why. The crew tells us that cabins are maintained at about 75°F, but it feels much colder. If you get cold, you’ll be miserable, so be sure to pack accordingly.
Your favorite blankie can act as a pillow or a coverup. Wear layers, and choose outfits made of stretchy fabric that won’t look slept in.
Coach travel doesn’t have to be ugly. As long as you’re warm, fed, hydrated and comfortable, why not enjoy it? Nothing will be expected of you, and if you need anything, someone will bring it.
Meanwhile, you can indulge in a 12-hour film festival with unlimited naps. Flying coach has its own rewards, and it always costs less than first class.