How to Sleep Well on a Plane, Even in Coach

January 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Need to catch a few winks during your next flight? Sleeping well on an airplane can seem as elusive as sighting a unicorn, but we’ve tapped an expert, Heather Poole, one of our earliest sources for stories and a Travelpro professional user. Heather is an 18-year veteran flight attendant, and author of the book Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, for some pro tips.

You may know that seatguru.com will allow you to investigate which seats recline and which ones don’t on every airplane on your itinerary. But did you know that beyond seat choice, the side of the plane you book matters? We’re creatures of habit: each night we have a preferred side of the bed we choose for slumber. Turns out, the same principle applies in the cabin of a plane.

You can sleep well on a plane with an eye mask or other accessories.Choose your seat on the same side of the plane as your favorite side of the bed. If you like to sleep on your right side, pick the right side of the plane, especially if you’re getting the window seat. This will guarantee that your position in your seat will mimic whatever direction you face as you begin your sleep journey.

Travel comfortably. We’re not suggesting you wear pajamas onboard, although Poole said she has seen savvy travelers board in sweats carrying the suit they’ll don once they deplane, according to an Entrepreneur.com story.

Let’s talk about the cumbersome donut pillow. While you may scoff at those who carry it along like a teddy bear because it didn’t work when you tried it behind your neck, your opinion of the sleep aid may change if you change where you place the fat part of the pillow.

If you tend to tilt your head to the side as you drift off, position the pillow there. If you want to keep from being awakened by that annoying, and slightly embarrassing head jerk, rotate the pillow the hold your chin in place! Sweet dreams may be further enhanced if you spritz a bit of lavender oil, known to help your body relax, on the pillowcase.

Finally, travel with a baseball cap, even if you only wear it on the flight. You don’t have to incorporate it into your outfit, but having it may create just the right environment for snoozing. Joshua Craven said he pulls the bill down over his face and inserts earbuds shortly before the flight takes off (but, of course, after the safety demonstration announcement has been completed). It shields his eyes from light and he has an enhanced sense of privacy because the hat covers his face. Plus, people immediately get the hint that you’re not interested in conversation so you can avoid having your sleep interrupted.

How do you sleep on a plane? Do you have any special tips or tricks that help you catch a quick catnap on your air travel? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Stanley Wood (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Should You Let Business Travelers Book on their Own?

January 16, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

What kind of trouble could business travelers get in if you cut out the corporate travel arranger at your company and booked your own business travel? Is it encouraged, or are you required to use the corporate travel office at all costs? The ubiquitous nature of apps and websites for locating budget hotels, ride-sharing options, and flights make it easy for people to take charge of their own travel logistics.

This is something corporate accountants and managers are having to choose whether to accommodate or penalize, and the problem is only growing.

While having someone else attend to your travel arrangements used to be a luxury, a bigger issue is that those doing the booking may know nothing about the city, the proximity of the airport to the client, and the logistics required to get from the client to the hotel they’ve booked. The person who makes that kind of trip on a regular basis is by far the more knowledgeable authority on the subject, which makes him or her the logical choice to make the arrangements.

Business travelers walking through an airport. You can still fly even if you're trimming your travel budget.But companies are concerned that letting business travelers book their own travel arrangements may give them less leverage when negotiating corporate rates for hotels and car rentals if they can’t show that their personnel is using them.

However, according to research by Egencia, the corporate travel management subsidiary of Expedia, business travelers often book outside their company’s stated travel policy, especially when procuring lodging, because they need to be closer to their client or because they found a better price than their company’s corporate rate and can pocket the per diem difference.

Road warriors need freedom to orchestrate their own itineraries in order to maximize their time out of the office. Giving them this latitude would reduce staff overhead, eliminate confusion, and utilize the business traveler’s knowledge of the cities and the accommodations in each. Why should a travel manager who doesn’t travel tell the employee where to stay and what time to get there? There are times that road warrior may end up cooling their heels for several hours in an unfamiliar airport because the corporate travel agent wanted to save $30 or make sure their traveler used the right airline.

For those who have control over the details of their travel budget, TravelBank has produced an app that helps estimate trip costs and customize their trip to anticipate and respond to upcoming expenses. TravelBank even rewards users when their trips come in under budget. For example, when a user’s bottom line comes in $500 under the budget, they receive $250 in credit to use with its partners in the travel industry with whom they’ve negotiated rates that rival those that corporations procure for their employees.

At Travelpro, we have the best of both worlds. I investigate my own schedule — optimal flight times and finding the hotel that’s closest to the client — and then communicating that to our travel manager and asking that they make every effort to book what I’ve requested. So far, it’s worked out great, and I’ve been very happy with the arrangement.

As long as business travelers know and comply with the company’s travel policy, allowing them to secure their own reservations only makes sense. But it also makes sense to let your road warrior experts blaze their own trail, as it were, because they already know what they’re doing.

Business travelers, o you book your own travel or do you have a corporate travel agent doing it for you? What has been the most efficient use for you? Share your ideas with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: MauriceBMueller (Pixabay, Creative Commons)

Seven Questions To Ask Before Your Next Air Travel

December 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or an occasional traveler, the old adage applies: Forewarned is forearmed. With amenities varying widely by carrier, it’s important to ask these seven questions before your next air travel to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal and most amenities.

Is the flight refundable? Most airlines charge you to change your flight, and the only way to avoid this is to book business or first class or book using points or miles. In the event you do need to change your flight, try picking up the phone and calling the airline instead of attempting to navigate its system online. Each carrier also has a Twitter account, which can also help you cut through the red tape and get your situation resolved quickly.

An Air France flight, a nice plane for international air travelWill I earn frequent flyer miles on this flight? Contrary to what you think, not all flights automatically qualify for a carrier’s frequent flyer program. By using Google’s ITA Matrix and wheretocredit.com, you can search for your flight’s booking class, which is what the airline uses to apply credit to its reward programs. Keep in mind that you’ll need to apply to an airline’s rewards program first in order to earn miles.

What’s included? What’s not included? Many used car dealers used the phrase, “no ups, no extras” when quoting a price to a prospective buyer. That meant the list price was the price. Not so in today’s world of budget airlines! If you’re wondering how the ticket price could be so low, investigate what’s not included and you’ll find the rest of your fare. It’s not uncommon to be charged for checking luggage, gaining access to overhead bins, and eating. If you know you’ll need to check a bag, add it on when you purchase your ticket. It will only get more expensive to do so when you check in online, or when you do so at the airport the day of the flight.

How much legroom does a particular seat offer? If this is an important detail for your air travel itinerary, I recommend Legroom for Google Flights Chrome extension, which not only reveals how much room you’ll have between your seat and the next row but also what the flight’s carry-on restrictions and amenities are. Seatguru.com also offers information about seat width and pitch so you can determine how comfortable you will be while en route.

What happens if I’m delayed? A delayed flight is inconvenient, but if you book your flight using a premium credit card, any additional expenses you incur — an overnight at a hotel, meals, and even cash to cover booking a new flight — may be covered by the insurance the card provides to members. If you don’t do air travel regularly and don’t want to carry a credit card with a high annual fee, you can still purchase flight insurance for peace of mind.

Where does my flight originate and where does it land? While this may seem like a strange question, it’s extremely important to know, especially when your air travel takes you through an unfamiliar city. You may think you’re booking your flight through the city’s main airport, but what if you’re wrong? New York and Chicago each boasts two airports, while many foreign cities, such as London, have multiple airports. Not knowing where your flight originates could cost you dearly — you might even miss your flight entirely. Being knowledgeable about the city and your airport is crucial for a smooth experience.

Do I need to print my boarding pass? In this age of technology and mobile apps, you’d think this was a silly question, but some low-cost carriers require a printed boarding pass and may charge you anywhere between $10 – $20 to do so! Having an online version will not get you on the flight, so be sure to print it at home, or know you’re going to be charged for that precious document.

What are some of your air travel questions and preparations? What will make you buy or not buy a particular ticket? Tell us about it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Skeeze (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

Air Vents, Status Challenges, and Other Flying Tips

December 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Whether you are a platinum member of one of the major airlines or someone who only travels occasionally, air travel has become the gauntlet travelers feel they must run before they can enjoy their trip. If you want your time in the air to be as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, here are a few flying tips to increase your likelihood, even if you can’t fly first class.

One of our favorite flying tips: Point air vents like these in your general vicinity but not directly on you. It keeps germs away from your face.1. Leave the air vents open and aimed in your general vicinity. While you’ve probably heard horror stories about the germs that are present in the recycled air, it turns out that the circulation of that air could actually help ward off germs. According to Dr. Mark Gendreau, the medical director and vice chair of emergency medicine at Lahey Medical Center-Peabody in Massachusetts, ventilation is key to keeping airborne germs at bay. “For airborne viruses, it is incredibly important to ventilate, since ventilation becomes your main means of control besides isolating the affected person,” Gendreau told Travel + Leisure.

2. Be loyal to an airline. When you commit to flying with a single airline and you enroll in the carrier’s loyalty program, you begin to qualify for upgrades and free baggage as your miles rack up. Airlines reward repeat business, so you should take advantage of the offer. The flights may cost a little more than shopping around, but the rewards can sometimes make the extra costs worth it.

3. If you’re a frequent flyer trying to earn a certain status with an airline, ask about the status challenge the next time you have a busy month of travel. Never heard of the status challenge? It’s not widely advertised, but it does exist. If you fly with American, for example, in order to qualify for platinum status, you have to fly 50,000 and spend $6,000 with them. If you ask customer service to take the status challenge, you have 90 days to fly 12,500 miles and spend $2,000. If you complete the challenge, you’re granted platinum status for the remainder of the year and the following calendar year. Be sure to check the fine print, though, because airlines don’t want to make this easy and may tack on some fees.

4. Pay for as much as possible with an airline’s credit card. It seems every credit card has perks these days, but airline credit card perks pay off in meaningful ways when you travel — free checked bags, earned miles, upgrades, and airport lounge access (which can really come in handy when there’s a weather-related delay). If you pay for your airplane ticket with your airline credit card, you usually get extra miles for that, and you want to make the most of every purchase, don’t you?

5. After you’ve downloaded your airline’s app to your phone, sign up for text notifications about your flight. You’ll automatically be notified about gate changes, delays, and what time your flight boards, making you more nimble that your less-informed fellow travelers in the event of a change in the itinerary.

What are some of your favorite flying tips? What advice would you share with your fellow travelers? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Xianxing (Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License)

Four Tips for Finding Cheaper Flights

December 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re trying to keep your travel budget under, well, budget, there are always ways of finding cheaper flights than the ones you might normally take.

1. Book early. While this may seem like a no-brainer, many people are hesitant to lock in a fare too far ahead of their planned departure. The best prices are typically found when you book 21 days before you want to leave. If you can plan three months out or if you don’t feel like you can commit until 30 days beforehand, choose whichever timeline works for you and stick to it.

If you’re skeptical about this, trust the math. Google Flights and Kayak are two online platforms that have built-in algorithms that use historical data to predict a flight’s price. While not foolproof, it’s more accurate than trusting your brain to remember all the numbers you’re comparing.

JetBlue Airways is one of your options for cheaper flights.2. Be flexible. Since we’re talking about looking ahead and planning your trip, could you leave on a Monday instead of a Sunday? You might be surprised to learn that doing so could save you money. Also, flying in and out of a different airport than the one closest to you may seem like more of an inconvenience than a perk, but again, do the math. If a group of five needs to get somewhere and you could save $30/ticket by flying out of an alternative airport, that savings could be applied to a hotel night or car rental or meals. When you search for your cheaper flights, leave it up to the computer to find the lowest prices and let it dictate your schedule.

3. If you have more time than money, you could also save by booking a connecting flight instead of choosing to fly nonstop. Flying at times that aren’t peak, such as early morning or later in the evening may also result in savings. These especially work to your advantage if you’re flying to an earlier time zone, say Atlanta to Los Angeles. Atlanta is three hours ahead of LA, so if it’s 8 p.m. in Atlanta, it’s only 5 p.m. in California. You’ll arrive around 10 p.m., adjust to the time difference while you sleep, and wake ready to work the next day.

4. While you’re comparing destinations, compare carriers as well. While Spirit’s no-frills travel experience is well documented, other discount airlines such as JetBlue, Southwest, and other regional airlines could offer a better deal than one of the major carriers. While you’re comparing, don’t just take the price from the airline’s website; use at least one third-party platform, such as Priceline, Google Flights, or Travelocity. Beware, though! Read the fine print to make sure there aren’t hidden fees that would cost you all the savings you’ve worked so hard to find.

Traveling can be expensive, but with some savvy planning and saving, it can be less costly and more enjoyable than you think.

How do you find your cheaper flights? Do you have any special strategies or tricks? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Eric Salard (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

Do You Live in a State that Will Require Alternate ID to Fly in 2020?

December 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you live in one of 24 states, your state-issued driver’s license may not get you on a flight, even for domestic travel, starting on October 10, 2020, and you may need an alternate ID like a passport.

In 2005, Congress passed The REAL ID Act, which was the standardization of the nation’s issuing of state identification to limit terrorism. Although it has been 12 years since its enactment, and the latest extension deadline expired October 10, 2017, nearly half of the United States are still grappling with how to comply with the mandated standards for issuing state IDs.

The only way around this law is if you have a valid passport or other valid alternate ID; then you’re able to fly, regardless of your state’s compliance with REAL ID.

A REAL ID sign at a U.S. airport. If you don't have a REAL ID, you'll need an alternate ID instead, like a passport.This could impact millions of Americans’ access to air travel is because the legislation makes it illegal for those who operate federal facilities to accept non-compliant, state-issued identification to access federal agencies, enter nuclear power plants, or board federally regulated aircraft. This means that the TSA cannot allow those with non-compliant IDs to board federally regulated airplanes because their states have not met the Act’s “minimum standards.”

Those minimum standards require states to incorporate technology into its cards that makes them nearly impossible to counterfeit. States must also prove that they conduct background checks on all personnel who issue driver’s licenses on its behalf. These standards have raised issues in many states about personal privacy. But with the final stage of implementation affecting residents’ ability to travel by air, most states have scrambled to submit applications for extensions.

The final stage of implementation begins January 22, 2018. States that are already in compliance will not be impacted by this date, and those states with an active or “under review” extension won’t be penalized.

If you want to know if you live in one of the 24 states that are not compliant, check out this article in the Washington Post. If you don’t want to hold a federally approved ID, there are 15 other forms of alternate ID that TSA will accept when you travel.

Are you in a state that is already compliant, or are you in one of the 24 affected states? How will you cope if your state doesn’t comply before the deadline? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

This is a compliance map of all states as of November 7, 2017. Some states still require an alternate ID.

This is a compliance map of all states as of November 7, 2017. Light green states have asked for an extension, dark green are in compliance.

Photo credit (REAL ID airport sign): Cory Doctorow (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)
Photo credit (REAL ID compliance map): Kurykh (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

Our Favorite Travel Gear for Business Travel

November 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

When you’re traveling, being distracted from the sights and sounds of your destination by your luggage or day bags should not be part of your itinerary. With some planning, you can streamline your experience, travel in comfort, and focus on the people and places you’re visiting.

Platiinum Magna 2 Backpack and Briefcase - two important pieces of travel gear

Platiinum Magna 2 Backpack and Briefcase

The first two items you need to consider when planning your travel is your personal item and your carry-on suitcase. Our Platinum® Magna™ 2 Collection has multiple options to choose from but two suggestions are the Platinum® Magna™ 2 20” Expandable Business Plus Spinner and the Platinum® Magna™ 2 Check Point Friendly Backpack, to outfit you for the road. The suitcase comes well equipped with patented MagnaTrac® Spinner wheels that always roll straight and don’t pull to the left or right when pushing as well as padded storage for your electronics.

The Check Point Friendly Backpack includes laptop and tablet sleeves, and other organizers for anything you want to pack, as well as a TSA-friendly feature that allows you to pass through security without removing your laptop.

After you’ve determined what kind of luggage you’ll need, organizing its contents can go a long way toward maximizing your trip. While they may seem extraneous, packing cubes help you maintain a place for everything and everything in its place. Only accessing what you need, instead of pawing through everything you own, will reduce your stress and increase your ability to engage your destination. A well-appointed toiletry kit will also keep you from hunting through your suitcase or backpack to locate that rogue toothbrush and toothpaste. We suggest a multi-function, waterproof one with see-through, zippered pockets that includes a hanger or Velcro loop for easy access.

Because it’s every bit as important to enjoy the journey as you do the destination, you may want to consider some in-flight travel gear comforts. If you want to catch a nap, think about including a travel pillow in your backpack. Noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones will also help you create a “cone of silence,” whether you’re in a plane or in your hotel room.

If hands-free travel is your goal, consider this unique travel gear option: SCOTTeVEST. Designed to conceal almost everything you could possibly need while en route, the system’s extensive interior pockets will allow you to carry all your tech and travel items on your person with fellow passengers being none the wiser. To get through security, simply remove your vest or jacket, lay it on the conveyor belt, and retrieve it after the scan. Your items remain secure and invisible, and you’re not fumbling with or searching through an extra bag to find your phone, tablet, passport, or e-reader.

What are your favorite travel gear items? Do you have any tried-and-true products or new items you want to try? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Travel Etiquette: 5 Controversial Rules You Might Be Violating

November 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Societal rules are changing all the time, so we thought you might appreciate this brief “update” so you’re not unknowingly violating travel etiquette. If you decide to be a rogue traveler and commit these faux pas after you read this article, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

  1. Did you know that there are designated armrests for each passenger’s seat? According to travel etiquette expert (who knew there were such people?) Christin Fraga, Director of Operations, Elaine Swann Enterprises: “When it comes to armrests, it is one armrest per passenger. Typically the armrest that has your media and electrical outlets will be the one you use.” Fraga suggests politely engaging your seat mate to reach a compromise if there are any issues. We’ve also heard that the person in the middle seat is entitled to both armrests since they’re the ones sandwiched in the middle, and the aisle and window seats already have one.
  2. Air travel has a lot of travel etiquette rules.

  3. To recline or not recline? The seats were made to do so, so why is it so controversial? Many infrequent travelers do not understand what reclining the seat does to the person behind them, particularly during food and beverage service. While some wait until after that portion of the trip to push their seat’s button, others are utilizing its function before takeoff. Etiquette expert Courtney Fadler says: “Unless you are on a very long cross-country or international flight, the best etiquette rule of thumb is not to recline your seat . . . If you are on a very long flight and will be reclining your seat for sleep or otherwise, make sure the person behind you is not in the middle of eating their dinner on the tray table before you recline. You can even take that extra step of consideration, and ask them if it’s okay if you recline your seat for a while.”
  4. We learned it in elementary school to never, ever cut the line. That still holds true, even if you have to do it to make your flight. We’ve all had times when circumstances happened that were beyond our control, and in those situations you stand a better chance of avoiding the ire of fellow travelers if you explain your situation and ask politely if you could go ahead of them. Most will take pity on you and allow you to pass. If you want to “cut to the chase,” you should talk to a TSA agent and — again, politely — explain your situation to see if they can assist you. And remember to express your thanks to those who help you.
  5. Have you ever been approached by someone who wants you to consider switching seats with them so that they can sit by their traveling companion? This is not something anyone should assume a fellow passenger will be willing to accommodate. If the seat is one they paid extra for — Economy Plus, for example — you need to be aware that the odds are very good that they chose (and paid for) that seat deliberately, and they aren’t interested in switching with you to make you more comfortable about the fact that their child or elderly parent is sitting without them. You can ask politely, but don’t expect them to change, especially if the seat you’re offering them isn’t the same as the one they chose, for example, an aisle seat for an aisle seat. Think about how you would feel before making an issue of this with the flight attendant.
  6. Some people love talking with strangers. Others have enough trouble dealing with the infringement of their personal space due to an airplane’s close quarters. Before you strike up a conversation with a seat mate, take a few moments to assess their nonverbal communication. If they have a book or other reading material already on their lap, or an eye mask or headphones in the seat pocket, ready to go, take the cue: they don’t want to be engaged. If you’re sitting next to someone who has not read the cues, take a tip from the Emily Post Institute: Smile and say, “Well, it’s been nice speaking with you. I’m going to read for a bit now.”

What are some of your travel etiquette rules you always try to follow? Were any of these new to you, or are they tried and true rules of the road? Share your stories in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Matthew Hurst (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

Consider Joining an Independent Airport Lounge, Even for a Day

November 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

You may be one of those travelers who lingers by the door to an airline’s lounge, hoping to catch a glimpse of the quiet, serene atmosphere you’ve heard others boast about. If you’re not a frequent-enough traveler to gain entry based on your status, did you know there are independently operated airport lounges that you can join through an annual membership program, or even just for the day?

While airline lounges have been around for 70 years, the independent environments have only recently begun to populate larger US airports. They fulfill the idea that some airlines are too small to operate lounges of their own, and there are always travelers willing to pay for some privacy, food, and beverages.

The cost can be as low as $25 for a day pass or as much as $50, so how do you determine whether the experience is worth the price? Here’s a list of things to consider:

The Gardermoen Airport Lounge in Oslo, Norway

The Gardermoen Airport Lounge in Oslo, Norway

  1. How long am I going to stay in this airport? If the answer is more than an hour and you’d like to eat, drink (free alcohol is served), work, or even nap, the lounge might be a better deal than finding a restaurant for food and making room for your laptop on the table.
  2. Do I need a quiet place to make an important call? If a deal is on the line and you have crucial business to discuss, do you really want to do that in the waiting room while the gate attendant is making announcements? Besides free wifi, these independent lounges offer laptops, sometimes printers, and dedicated workspaces. If you are on your way to visit a client, the use of a private restroom that may have a shower might be just what you need to make the best impression when you arrive.
  3. I mentioned food above, and let me provide you with some casual cost analysis here. The cost of an average cocktail at an airport bar is easily $10, and these lounges offer more than just peanuts and pretzels. The complementary (sometimes hot) food could constitute a light meal, tiding you over until you get home or to your final destination. If there’s a weather delay, you won’t be standing in line with everybody else, juggling your carry-on and other items while trying to get a bite to eat. You’ll be able to actually eat at a table or at a bar, instead of balancing your meal on your knees in that crowded waiting area.

The leading US provider of these independent lounges is The Club, with locations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, and Seattle-Tacoma airports. Day passes are $40, and, as with all airport lounges, you must show a boarding pass for same-day departure to enter.

Most travelers gain access to both carrier-operated and independent lounges through Priority Pass. Its arrangements with over 1,000 establishments make it the leader in the lounge membership business. Priority Pass offers three levels of membership: standard: $99/year with unlimited visits at $27 each; standard plus: $249/year with 10 free visits plus additional visits at $27 each; and prestige: $399/year for unlimited visits. Priority Pass has locations available at 21 US airports.

They say membership has its privileges, and that’s certainly true if you hold specific credit cards. With an American Express Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ritz-Carlton, and MasterCard Black, your Priority Pass membership is included.

To lounge or not to lounge? That may still be your question. But with this information,  hopefully you may have your answer.

Are you a lounge member? Do you partake, or are you thinking about it? Share your stories in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: TravelingOtter (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

5 Ways to Make Your Coach Travel More Comfortable

November 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Air travel is becoming more about price and efficiency, and less about comfort, especially if you’re not flying business or first class. Coach travel means seats are a little narrower and a little closer together, so it may be a tighter fit than you’d like.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find some comfort if you’re flying coach. You don’t have to sacrifice complete comfort for the sake of a cheaper ticket. Here are a few ways you can find a little comfort on your next coach flight.

This is what coach travel looks like - seats closer together, not a lot of leg room.

  1. Pay for comfort seating. While the cost is usually minimal, the benefits are so worth it. There’s additional legroom between you and the seat in front of you. You’ll also be at the front of the plane, so you’ll deplane earlier, and there’s often dedicated overhead bin space too. It’s still coach travel, but it’s better than sitting in normal coach. If you can’t spring for this, look for exit row seating to snag some extra legroom without the extra cost.
  2. Adjust the overhead vents so that they’re blowing in front of you but not on you. Doing so will increase airflow, and some experts believe you’ll decrease the risk of inhaling germs from that seatmate who’s not covering their coughs or sneezes very well.
  3. You may not have thought of this one, but wearing loose-fitting clothing can help create a little comfort when the seat can’t. You may not be able to do anything about the width or the pitch, and or the lack of recline, but if your clothes aren’t binding or pinching you as you’re confined for a few hours, you’ll deplane feeling better.
  4. Consider packing a jacket or pashmina if you tend to be cold when you fly. Even if you just use it as a drape until you warm up and then stow it behind your back for additional lower lumbar support, controlling your climate will help you control your mood.
  5. Pack earplugs or noise canceling headphones. You can’t change how close you are to fellow passengers, but you can create a noise buffer so that you’re not forced to overhear their movie, music, or conversation.

Coach travel may not have the same perks and comfort as one of the fully-reclining seats in first class, but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer either. Follow these tips and you can easily manage any coach flight you take.

How do you ensure that you’re comfortable during coach travel? Do you do anything special or take any special steps? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Vincent Desjardins (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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