Saturday, November 30, 2013

Flying soon? Tips to help you have the best flight possible


Once you're up, up and away, a few pointers can help you arrive not terribly exhausted, and perhaps even rested!

NOW THAT we can work on our tablets and read our e-books during many phases of flight, the airways are increasingly user friendly.
But if you're flying "across the pond" -- over either ocean, East or West -- or over the Rockies, maybe to Australia, you have a long journey ahead. There's no way it won't beat up on you.
A few tips may help you fly the skies in decent shape and reasonable comfort.
All it takes is a bit of planning.
* SLEEP STUFF. First, organize your carry-on before TSA.  Make sure you put together a little carry-on bag of sleep aids:  a u-shaped pillow, an eye mask, ear plugs and a shawl or light sweater.
Once you're pushed back, you can relax and enjoy.
Once you clear TSA, check your
"sleep kit" and  start drinking water.

Situate yourself, your stuff quickly.
*BUY A bottle of water immediately after you clear TSA. Start chugging it down.  Or bring an empty bottle inside your carry-on and fill it immediately after TSA, when you use the bathroom before boarding your flight.  Hydration is critical in the air. Refill the bottle often. Remember, air in the cabin is not humidified. Experts recommend eight ounces
of water every hour or two.  On the plane, if you're in first class or business, or even in coach across the pond, it's nice to have a cocktail or two.  It helps me relax. Beware of over-imbibing. Both caffeine and
alcohol will dehydrate you, but I drink double the amount of water for each glass of wine.  I'm not about to deprive myself entirely.
* CARRY A SMALL vial of hand lotion (under the three-ounce TSA limit) and keep a chapstick in your purse or pocket.  I also carry eye drops to help combat the dryness.
Have a look out the window!
* Business travelers already know that many carriers now offer in-flight wireless internet -- for a fee, of course. Keller does a lot of business while we're flying, believing it's worth the fee for him to stay productive and connected while in the air. The price isn't horrible. Gogo Inflight Internet charges $12 for one flight's worth of internet service. A monthly pass for frequent fliers is about $30. The connection isn't too slow.  And you're communicating at 30,000 feet!
 *MY MOTHER was the world's top hand-washer and she seldom got a cold.  She was ahead of her time! Flying can be dirty business but soap and water are usually easily available.  Take advantage. Wash your hands for 20 seconds every couple hours.  Mum also carried little square packets of hand wipes, and a small bottle of sanitizer.  I do that, now, and think of her.  Just a dab of an alcohol-based sanitizer on a paper towel helps clean tray tables, overhead lights, the sound or video ear and head piece, arm rests, etc.
MY ASIAN  friends use little mouth masks when they're feeling ill.  I appreciate that.  But it's too much to expect everyone to do that in an airplane.  If you have a cougher or sneezer near you, get out your sanitizer and wipes and use them!
A pasta dish may help you sleep.
* HUNGRY?  Save cash and useless calories by bringing snacks
This pre-ordered
meal was tasty!
along. I usually bring a couple carrots and a celery stalk, a half-dozen crackers and some dried fruit and nuts. Little prepared packs of peanut butter and crackers are good, too. You can also make your own. On long flights, you can pre-order kosher or vegetarian meals.  Sometimes they're healthier and tastier than the regular fare. I once shared a first-class cabin with Robert Redford, who declined the shrimp and steak and asked for the chicken dish from coach! Protein dishes give you energy. Great if you want to read or work.  If you want to sleep, choose pasta.
*IF YOU have kids, you know they get bored in the air, even if the flight isn't a long one. Portable DVD players can be found online and at electronics stores for as little as $100.
Get some kid games if you travel with a tot.
Well worth the price for all concerned, and appreciated by those of us who travel childless. Toss in headphones for the little people and you'll all have a more restful flight.
* HELP US ALL! When you board the plane, you should have your phone or other toy put away.  Find your seat, place your carry-on in the overhead bin, get out of the aisle and sit down.  Turn off your cell phone -- remembering that , iPod, portable DVD player, and other electronic devices are now okay to use on most airlines. But don't make someone come and ask you to turn off your phone! The captain or flight crew will tell you when you may use it again.
* CHANGING SEATS? No airplane can take off while people are standing. We've all asked someone to switch seats so we could be with a spouse, friend or relative. Best to arrange it with the person, get approval from the flight attendant then wait to execute your switch until the flight is in the air and the seatbelt sign is off.
These two are taking a nap between flights!
This first-class cabin is luxury!
Cookie and Keller enjoy a walk, a rest and a snack when they arrive.
* DURING a long flight, walk the plane a time or two. Stretch. Look outside! If you have a connecting flight, get some exercise by walking the terminal. Do some simple muscle and leg flexes.   Turn your head  slowly, move your ankles.  Try to sleep, for at least three or four hours.  This will help ease you into the new time zone.
* I LIKE TO take a walk when I arrive at my destination -- even if I'm eager for a nap. A walk perks you up. Have a cup of coffee or strong tea before your stroll, enjoy a snack, and if you must nap, make it no more than an hour.  Have dinner at a reasonable time and don't get more sleep than you normally would.  In a couple days in the new time zone, you'll be acclimated. Keep drinking that water.  But a little wine won't hurt.

The beautiful Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles offers top-drawer shows.
COMING UP:  The Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles is a treasure of the city and a treat for theater aficionados, including two travelers and play lovers from San Diego.
Actors Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch recently finished a run of "The Sunshine Boys" there and Christopher Plummer is on tap.   Remember to explore, learn and live and check us out Wednesdays and Saturdays at

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