A long domestic or international flight can often sour what should be a pleasant holiday or business venture. These guidelines can help your necessary travel time be as comfortable and painless as possible – for you, and for your fellow travelers.

Preboarding Tips

Reserve a good seat

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Even within the same class and fare, some seats are far superior to others. Consider an aisle or exit row seat for leg room, or a window if you want to sleep. Try to avoid seats near the toilets/lavatories, as other passengers will be accessing these regularly. It is common on long-haul flights for there to be lines, and people walking to or from the toilets may bump or knock your seat. Also keep in mind that the noise and light that escapes when the door is opened may be disturbing, particularly when trying to sleep.

If you plan on trying to sleep, come prepared.

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Bring a travel pillow or head restraint, and try to avoid using the inflatable ones. Your total carry-on haul should be limited, but you may want to consider some of these relatively small survival tools. Your body and brain will thank you for every small comfort you can provide, and the inconvenience of packing and carrying these around is dwarfed by the misery of 15 hours in flight with crying children, pilot announcements, engine noise and a major crick in your neck. Gear up.

Bring something to entertain yourself.

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Usually, movies don’t start for some time, and the built-in music/movie selection can be quite poor, so bring an iPod (the night before you go away try to download some of the latest songs or movies as it will be more entertainment than the old movies you already have), iPhone, iPad, Gameboy, Nintendo D.S, or CD player. You could also bring a new book that you like or portable game.

Bring your own headphones.

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The headphones, usually available on the plane (whether for purchase or for free) are usually of poor quality. Noise-canceling headphones and in-ear headphones are great if you have them, and can help block out engine noise.If possible, go with an airline that offers .A.V.O.D (Audio Video on Demand), which is a TV screen in front of your seat that lets you choose what you want to watch, play or listen to. It is very useful to help let time pass by.

Don’t carry on too much stuff.

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While checked baggage fees are inspiring travelers to carry on more and more stuff, on a long-haul flight this could burn you; anything that is under the seat in front of you just means less legroom and a more cramped living space for 15 or 16 hours. Don’t bring so much on that you compete for your own sleeping space.

Flight Time Tips

Move around.

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This is especially important on longer flights, to prevent your body from aching due to poor circulation. Some airlines provide guidance on in-seat exercises you can do (such as circling ankles and stretching arms). The long mid-flight stretch on overnight flights is an excellent time to take a stroll up and down the aisle a few times. There is usually room to do some back stretches at the back of some of the cabins.

Take steps to protect yourself from the dry air on board the plane.

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The air in a plane is very dry and may dehydrate your system.Drink plenty of water. Although you can request water from your flight attendants, it is a good idea to bring plenty of water on board with you. You may either purchase bottled water once you pass security or bring an empty bottle with you to fill from a water fountain. Remember that you should never drink the water from airplane bathrooms; it may contain bacteria.Use eye drops (eye drops may now be carried through security) whenever your eyes feel dry. If you are really uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to inform cabin crew.

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