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)

Survive the Hot Summer During Business Travels

July 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

We’re experiencing a hotter summer than normal, at least down here in southern Florida (although friends and colleagues around the country are telling me they’re feeling the heat too. There were even 120+ degree days in Phoenix in late June!)

As many people are traveling all over the country for a variety of reasons, especially from not-so-hot places to very-hot places, it’s harder to survive and maintain a sense of style without getting sweaty and rumpled. So here are some ways we do things in southern Florida to survive the heat, and these might help you on your business travels.
Photo of the setting sun on a city landscape. Business travels are hard when it's hot outside. Read more

Airplane Seats Are Still Getting Smaller

June 4, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

The airline industry has a lot of potential for innovation, as evidenced by a few of the recent articles we’ve posted. For example, one of the topics we’ve discussed lately is upcoming innovations in air travel. We’ve also covered potential innovations in airline seating, but here’s one trend on the rise that we’re not too excited about: smaller airline seats.

One trend we’ve seen and will continue to see is airlines finding more ways to cut costs, whether that means using lighter weight materials to construct airplanes or using biofuels to power jet engines. And now a report from NBC confirms that seats in airplanes have indeed gotten smaller.

English: New interior on Delta Air Lines' Boei...

English: New interior on Delta Air Lines’ Boeing 737-800 fleet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Evidently, many airlines have taken 130-passenger seat cabins and expanded them to 150-passenger seat cabins to gain additional revenue — space that has primarily been found by using smaller seats. Some airlines are even looking into making those tiny airplane bathrooms even more compact in an effort to squeeze another row of passengers into the cabin. Taller individuals beware!

Another reason airline seats are feeling smaller is that planes are more crowded now than they have been in years. In the past, overbooked flights would have no problem finding a passenger or two to take a later flight in exchange for ticket vouchers. But because flights are so full, the next flight out may not be for a while. Thus, finding passengers to voluntarily take another flight is becoming more and more difficult. Passengers may not enjoy being packed elbow-to-elbow with the person next to them, but even more than that, passengers dislike being marooned in an airport for hours while they wait to board another flight.

Regardless of the uproar that ever-smaller seats, a shrinking on-board bathroom, and more crowded flights might cause with airline travelers, these frustrations outweigh the inconvenience of finding alternative transportation. Although, with the potential future changes in the travel industry such the growing popularity of light-rail systems, airlines may find themselves having to provide improved accommodations to customers just to keep them coming back for more.

The NBC report also said that even though customers continue to find reasons to complain (such as discomfort from small or crowded conditions), airlines are making improvements in timeliness and remaining on schedule. Perhaps what travelers will find is that in exchange for getting to their destination without delays, they must sit in cramped quarters for the duration of the flight. And as an alternative idea, we suggest that you consider taking up an airline’s offer of vouchers for a free flight if your plane is overbooked. Just make sure that those vouchers are in first class.

How To Beat Jet Lag

December 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

After all the anticipation and effort, you’ve finally reached your destination. And, guess who’s there to greet you?

Mr. Jet Lag.

When you travel across multiple time zones, your body’s internal clock is not in sync with the destination time zone. Thus, your daily sleep and wakefulness rhythms are out of whack, resulting in sluggishness and diminished performance.

So, what’s a long distance or international traveler to do? Whether you’re on business or a dream vacation, you want to be at your best, regardless of the time zone. Here are a few tips:

1. Get plenty of exercise and rest prior to your flight, while maintaining a nutritious diet. Plus, make sure you’re well hydrated. The healthier you are, the less jet lag will affect you.

2. Most experts agree that it takes one day for your body to adjust for each time zone traveled. Take steps to minimize jet lag, factoring in the direction you’re traveling:

  • West – Just prior to your departure, get up one hour later and go to bed one hour later for as many days as time zones you’ll be crossing. Granted, this may not be possible for long trips such as international travel.
  • East  – Use the opposite technique – Getting up one hour earlier and going to bed one hour earlier.

3. Since sunlight significantly affects your body clock, control your light exposure before you travel:

  • West – Avoid sunlight in the morning, and get it in the late afternoon and evening.
  • East – Get sunlight in the morning, and avoid light in the evening as much as possible.
  • If it’s overcast, simulate the sun’s effects with a light therapy box.
  • Wear sunglasses if you have to be in sunlight when you should avoid it.

4. During travel, regardless of the direction, be sure to:

  • Drink plenty of water, while avoiding large meals, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Move around the cabin regularly to promote circulation in both the body and brain.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Sleep, if possible. If you have difficulty sleeping on flights, consider taking a sleep aid (though we recommend consulting your physician first).

5. Upon arrival:

  • Avoid critical decision-making in the first day (if at all possible).
  • Adapt to the local schedule immediately, eating meals and going to bed at the appropriate times .
  • Get as much sunlight as you can.

None of us has time for jet lag. But, if you take to time to properly prepare, jet lag’s time is up.

How To Get Sleep On Long Flights

December 6, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Are you one of the many of long distance fliers who has trouble sleeping on planes?

Your seatmate is out like a light before the plane even takes off, while you sit wide awake hour after hour. So, what do you do?

First, recognize that when you travel across multiple time zones, your body’s internal clock gets out of sync. This can effect your daily sleep and wakefulness rhythms, resulting in sluggishness and diminished performance. There are definite advantages to sleeping on long flights. Here are a few tips:

1. Get plenty of exercise and rest prior to your flight and maintain a nutritious diet. The healthier you feel, the better you’ll be able to sleep.

2. If you have difficulty sleeping on flights, consider taking a sleep aid (though we recommend consulting your physician first).

3. When flying be sure to:

  • Drink plenty of water, while avoiding large meals, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Move around the cabin periodically to promote circulation in both the body and brain.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.

4. If you can’t sleep, sit quietly with your eyes closed. While you won’t get the all the benefits of a good night’s sleep, you will be somewhat rested.

May we also suggest Austin House’s line of Travel Comfort Essentials? Austin House, a leading brand of travel accessories, features a variety of items ideal for long distance travelers in need of rest:

  • Super Soft Blanket – Simply remove the “2 in 1” blanket and pillow set from the pouch, inflate the pillow and use the pouch as your pillow case
  • Inflatable Lower Back Support Pillow – Supports the lumbar region, reducing discomfort.
  • Inflatable Neck Pillow – Supports the neck, easing fatigue.
  • Ear Plugs With Carry Case – Reduce surrounding noise for a more restful sleep.
  • Eye Shade And Ear Plugs – For a light and sound-free rest.
  • Inflatable Velour Neck Pillow & Eye Shades – Super-soft pillow supports head while eye shades reduce light.
  • Pressure-Less Earplanes – These specially designed ear plugs relieve air pressure during take-offs and landing, which can lead to sleeplessness.

Whether you’re traveling on business or for pleasure, you don’t want to be groggy when you reach your destination. With a little planning and common sense, you can arrive well rested.