Tuesday, 9 October 2012

How to fly in comfort

--> This blog post is not for those people who are rich or clever enough to fly in first or business class—you’re already comfortable in flight. This post is for the rest of us. Is it possible to fly in economy class without losing feeling in your limbs? Read on.

1. Fly cross-country, or better, cross-Pacific, with a small child on your lap. If you do not have your own, try to borrow a friend’s child. I guarantee that all subsequent flights—without trying to entertain/restrain a kicking, wiggling, grabbing, whining creature—will be blissful and relaxing in comparison.

2. Check seatguru.com before you chose a seat. This way you can avoid being in the window seat on the very last 3-seater row in a 747. This row is hemmed in by the curvature of the airplane, thus providing just 73% of the space a normal human needs for comfort, as opposed to the 86% provided by every other economy seat.

3. Ambien. Perhaps with a little red wine to sweeten the deal. That is, if you don’t need to be alert to look after a child. Actually, the rest of this post can just be completely ignored if you have a lap child. Come back in a few years.
Go to your happy place. Envision yourself as a wee babe sleeping on a lovely tropical beach...which could help you drift off to sleep, or just increase your irritation at reality.

4. Bring a thin, but soft, full-sized pillow. Placing this under your butt will significantly reducing numb-ass syndrome brought on by stupidly-firm chairs.

5. Use the airline-supplied pillow (or one you have stolen from a previous flight) to provide some lumbar support. Unless you like being forcibly hunched over.

6. Bring a neck pillow, placed mostly toward the front but partly sideways around your neck. Placing a neck pillow behind your head just reinforces the hunching/spine-braking tendency of the curved seats. Alternatively, check out some of the interesting inventions available through skymall to help you fall asleep upright.

Yes. I totally approve.

7. Raise your feet a bit. For some people, comfort can be attained by using a small cardboard box as a footrest. The box can double as storage for some of your in-flight essentials. You could use your bag, instead, but the unevenness may lead to mid-flight waking as your foot slumps off to one side, your leg flops into the aisle, and is then run over by the drink cart.

8. Other people need more lift to prevent massive airline cankles. There is literally no good way to get your feet to stay propped at seat height, but here are a few ideas:
(a) Knit a sling to hang on the back of the seat in front of you, in which you can rest your feet. Unfortunately this might just stretch to the floor and/or annoy the person whose seat your feet are pulling down.
(b) Use the seat pocket. You can try shoving your feet inside directly, but this will probably lead to circulation arrest as the metal bar presses against your ankles. Instead, try to prop the pocket open to act as a footrest using a rolled-up magazine, and/or your sweater.
(c) Get fancy. Construct a folding shelf that you can shove into the pocket and provide yourself a nice stable platform. Apply skateboard grip-tape to the top to prevent foot slippage.

9. Corral your flopping limbs. Once you get situated with your feet propped up and your neck pillow at just the correct jaunty angle, the ambien helps you slip off to sleep. Just then, your knees flop outwards, waking you up and startling the stranger next to you. How do you avoid this? One option is to use several bungee cords to first tie your knees together, and then act as guy-lines to steady the legs between either arm rest. You probably will not be able to sufficiently tie your arms in without help, so try just jamming them into your lap and hope they behave themselves.

10. You might try the bungee-cord technique to keep your head from sliding over onto your neighbor’s shoulder, as well. I recommend wearing a soft cap if you are going to try this one, to reduce forehead-denting.

Now that you are sufficiently doped up and comfortably wedged into your pillow fortress/seat, nod off and sleep away the remainder of your flight. Just try to avoid having to pee.
If you miss the discomfort of your airline sleep at home, skymall has got you covered.

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