7. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Instead, prop your feet on some carry-on luggage to make yourself more comfortable.
8. Get to the airport two hours early so you can request a seat change to the exit row. You will have oodles more room to stretch your legs, reducing your risk of blood clots and improving your mood throughout the entire flight. Unfortunately, you can only book the exit row seat at the airport. Use those extra two hours to get in some power walking through the airport. In case you don’t get there early enough, book an aisle seat. At least you’ll be able to get up and walk around without climbing over your neighbor.
9. If you can afford it or arrange it, travel business class. The fabric seats in economy class are perfect havens for dust mites and other allergens and germs. Often, seats in business class are leather, which are more hygienic.
10. Bring a fully charged cell phone preprogrammed with airline reservation telephone numbers. If your flight is delayed or canceled, you can immediately call reservations to rebook. Much quicker (and thus less stressful) than standing in the customer service line.
11. Bring a bottle of water and a bag of healthy snacks in your carry-on bag even for what should be a short flight. Not only do fewer airlines serve food these days, but unexpected delays (like sitting on the tarmac for 90 minutes while the wings are de-iced) can send your blood sugar plummeting.
12. Carry a large, empty plastic coffee mug (the kind with a top you can sip through). Ask any restaurant in the airport to fill it with ice and water. Bingo! Free water to maintain hydration. On the plane, have the attendant refill it. Much better than the tiny cups of water they usually provide.
13. When booking flights, book the first flight of the day. It’s most likely to be on time, so you’re less likely to get stressed. It’s also most likely to be freshly cleaned.
14. Keep your nasal passages and ears clear by taking a decongestant as directed for 24 hours before your flight. This will shrink the membranes in your sinuses and ears.
15. Chew gum, swallow vigorously, or yawn widely when the plane is taking off or landing.
This will equalize the pressure in your middle ear.
16. Skip the alcohol during the flight. The air in the plane is dry enough; alcohol just dehydrates you even more. Same with caffeinated drinks.
17. Resist the temptation to remove your shoes during the flight. You’ll end up with swollen feet due to the low air pressure in the cabin, and your shoes will be uncomfortable when you put them back on.
18. Dress in layers. Planes are often too hot or too cold. Stay in control of your own temperature by having layers to add or subtract.