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8 Ways to Be Comfortable on a Plane

With all the talk of low-fare options (and the confusion surrounding them), airlines are at least trying to help passengers. While they focus on the monetary aspect, it doesn’t address the physical comfort – or lack thereof – of being on a plane.

Assuming you’re roughing it like the rest of us in coach, here’s how you can be comfortable and not lose your mind en route to your next Global Discovery Vacations destination.

8 Ways to Be Comfortable on a Plane

Comfy Clothing

Planes are not about fashion. Find your most comfortable and adaptable outfits for the plane ride to make it much more tolerable. Wear clothes you can easily put on or take off to deal with temperature changes and make it easy to relax. For me, this is a T-shirt, a zip-up hoodie and a pair of joggers.

Fewer Personal Items

One of the keys to comfort in the air is space. The more personal items you bring aboard, the less space you have to enjoy. If your bag underneath the seat is packed tight, you won’t have much room for your feet, which makes flying rather cumbersome. And I don’t want to load my lap with those items either. Only bring what you will need for the flight and store everything else overhead or check it.

Prep Your Body

My worst flying experiences are often self-inflicted: I’m hungry, I have to go to the bathroom constantly, I’m sore. A wiser person would have prevented those ailments before stepping on the plane.

  • Eat a quality meal – food that won’t give you discomfort – before you depart. This is especially true if you have a long flight and it will affect your normal eating schedule.
  • Drink enough water before and during the flight. The lack of humidity dehydrates you faster than you realize. You could have to use the restroom in flight, so doing it before you depart is the ideal way to handle the situation.
  • Sitting in some stiff seats for a while isn’t great for your muscles. Do some stretches before and after to combat these aches.


I haven’t ever had alcohol on a plane, but some people like to take the edge off with a drink. If you need a glass of wine to sleep or unwind, go for it. Having more than one drink may be risky, especially with the aforementioned dehydration possibility.

The Right Seat

If you can pick your seat pre-flight, there are a number of ways to maximize comfort:

  • Go aisle so you don’t feel claustrophobic or squished. Also a great choice if you’re tall so you can stretch your legs out from time to time.
  • Pick a “bulkhead” seat (a seat behind a divider) so no one reclines into you.
  • Upgrade to a seat with more legroom or sit in the emergency row (only if you can fulfill the duties of an emergency).

The Gear

I haven’t tried everything on the market, but you might already have your favorite travel gear for long flights. The key is to find something that is useful and takes up little space: Neck pillows, sleeping masks, blankets, ear plugs, etc.

Shut Eye

Sleeping on a plane is not easy, which is why the gear is so important. If you take sleeping aids such as ZzzQuil, test how long it goes into effect beforehand. If you take a pill and your flight gets delayed, you’ll be tired when you don’t want to be.

plane reading book


When you can’t sleep on a plane, make the time go faster and forget about external factors by doing activities. Do crossword puzzles, play solitaire or Candy Crush on your phone or watch TV shows on your tablet. Netflix recently introduced offline viewing, which seems tailor made for travelers.

Planes are one of the quickest ways to travel, but they aren’t the most comfortable forms of transportation. You can make your next trip more tolerable by prepping beforehand and bringing supplies that best fit how you want to spend your plane ride.

Have any more tips on making a flight more comfortable? Let us know in the comments below.

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