What a trip. Before you can enjoy the utter pleasure and joy of a city like Paris – you have to earn it. Earn it? Yep, that’s right. Do you really think 8 hours on a loud jumbo jet is the ideal place for a comfy sleep? Not this lady. Despite my passion for travel – I absolutely despise flying on airplanes – my biggest fear by far. My friends always joke with me that I rather eat a spider or swim across an ocean full of sharks than board a plane. It’s true. With that said, no fear of mine is going to stop me from living life to the fullest – and doing what I love most – traveling. As a frequent flyer and mid-air panicker (I’ve had my fair share of panic attacks) – I’d like to share a post including in-flight travel tips.
We arrived quite early for our flight and enjoyed some cocktails in the American Admirals Club. A good strong drink never hurt anybody. From there, we boarded our flight and I experienced the typical pre-flight jitters. While taxing and preparing for take-off, our overly friendly and overly American Pilot (sounded Midwestern) came on the loud speaker and informed us – “Hey there folks and frenchies! We are number one for take off but it looks like our generators aren’t working – and that would be no good for a transatlantic flight! HA! Don’t want that to happen over the ocean now, do we? Yep, so we are just gonna turn the plane around and head back to the gate. From there we’ll throw some oil on the engine and have a mechanic fix it up. Thanks for flying American!”
As the pilot’s dramatically cheerful voice relays horrible information, CNN breaking news is being aired on all the mini TVs throughout the plane – sadly there is non-stop news coverage of the missing Malaysian flight. I haven’t stopped praying for these families and all persons involved – it’s such a horrific story. The combination of the news media, Captain Bob and his optimistic way of telling us we are on a broken plane, I suddenly feel my happy hour buzz drowned with anxiety. It’s a recipe for disaster.
This is not how we had hoped to start our romantic rendez-vous to Paris.
After de-boarding the plane. Waiting around for 4 hours. We were finally escorted to a new plane. Phew. It was almost midnight and I was ready to get this misery over with. Bring it on.
Here is how I make the most of a transatlantic flight:
- If not business class, book far in advance for an economy seat in the exit row – you get another foot of extra legroom
- Comfortable clothes – yoga pants, loose tank, hoodie, no bra (take it off before boarding the plane), comfy socks and shoes that slip on/off
- Extra moisturizer – lather up it’s dry on there!
- Chapstick for your dry lips
- Pashmina to cover your head and neck
- Soft listening music – classical is great
- Mints and chewing gum
- Eye mask
- Nice smelling lavender perfume (use lightly)
- Red wine
- A “feel good” movie to get you excited about your trip – for Paris I always download to my computer something like French Kiss or Amelie
What to do with all these little airplane necessities? Some are more obvious than others. My typical routine starts by getting comfortable in my seat, putting on my neck pillow, hand moisturizer, enjoying a few mints and setting up my laptop. Once we get through the take-off portion of the flight (about 45 minutes) and level at a cruising altitude I start to feel a lot better. For me, the hardest part is over with. From there, I set-up my laptop and let my “feel good” movie of choice start playing. During beverage service, about an hour into the flight, I have a glass of wine and take a bennadryl (most obviously not recommended and disapproved by any doctor – Disclaimer – Ladyhattan is not liable for your medical choices). However, this combination has always worked for me to create a drowsy feeling for falling asleep on an overnight flight. I’ve read numerous travel blogs and articles about flight anxiety – and this combination is always a top choice by many frequent travelers. After relaxing and starting my movie, I usually start to doze off about 2 hours into the flight and wake-up for the landing beverage service of coffee/teas. This allows me to get a healthy 5 hours of sleep on the plane over so I am well-rested for a full first day of fun in Europe! Although I only watch about 45 minutes of my movie, it’s only really useful as a positive and familiar distraction for the nervous flyer.
The best feeling on a flight to Europe is watching the sunrise over the horizon – you are waking up in a completely new part of the world, a different country, language, culture and of course, a new adventure awaiting you! Typically when I prepare for landing I change into a new outfit (a nicer one of course!) and apply simple make-up for the day. Under eye cream and foundation for baggy circles is a must! I also like to take an allergy medicine like Claritin to help with any unexpected allergies to the new environment of the final destination.
What I have learned over the years is that it’s imperative you make yourself comfortable and set yourself up for a comfortable flight. Being prepared and feeling cozy allows you to have a much better chance of catching a good sleep on the journey over. This is important for avoiding jet-lag and most obviously, making the best of your trip! And if you get a little nervous or scared as I do, just tell yourself – a few hours of discomfort is worth every second of the destination! Happy traveling!