Still, for most of us, air travel remains a part of our vacation plans, and we resign ourselves to making the best of it. In no particular order, we’ve listed below a few products that work to make those long-haul flights a bit more pleasant.
1. Noise cancelling headphones. We’re not in the habit of plugging specific brands, but at around $300, Bose sets the standard for this luxury. No more listening to the whines of the engine or over-tired children – just you and your music/movie/silence.
2. Decidedly cheaper, earplugs also do a great job at silencing cabin noise. Not only that, they reduce the effect on your ears of changes in cabin pressure.
3. Another cheapie: an eye mask. Pulling one of these over your eyes is as much a psychological sleep aid as a physical one; you’re signalling to your brain that this is a time for sleep.
4. Pashmina shawl. Definitely an item you’ll find in more women’s carry-ons than men’s, this is one of the few items that is both useful and glamourous. Avoid the scratchy (germy?) airline blankets and snuggle up on the plane with your own lightweight, compact throw, then use the shawl as a chic and colourful splash of colour to dress up any outfit once you reach your destination.
5. Collapsible, reusable water bottle. No one should ever be dependent on a flight attendant to bring them water throughout a flight; avoid dehydration by having your own supply on-hand. Bring the bottle empty through security then fill it up from a water fountain once you’re in the Departures area. Many travel stores carry a collapsible version, which takes up less space in your carry-on when it’s empty, and means you can bring more water on board.
6. A great carry-on bag. Personally, I love my LUG bag (and a tip: you can get them for free if you’re looking to use up Aeroplan points!) The strategically placed pockets and streamlined design of a good bag make it easier to dig things out when it’s wedged in a tight cabin space. Apparently this overnight bag is one of Oprah’s favourite things too.
There you go – six simple ways to make flying a bit more pleasant, so that you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed, rather than stressed. If you’re interested in reading about how to stay healthy while en route, read our tips on avoiding the dreaded "airplane cold”.