When flying to your destination, comfort is key whether you’re going to Buenos Aires or Boston. Ideally, we would all be tucked in Business Class, enjoying a level of service not provided at home, but economic realities often make such luxury out of reach. So, what to do?
Start with the plane itself. Not every seat behind the VIP curtain is created equal. There’s premium economy, a status that gets you a few extra inches of legroom and recline for slightly more money. On long-haul flights, it may be worth the expense. Even within the regular economy cabin, though, there can be differences in seat pitch, space, and “pleasantries” (close proximity to the bathroom is never a good thing). Before selecting your seats, which you should always do at time of booking, you might want to consult Seat Guru, a nifty website highlighting the benefits and pitfalls of nearly every plane’s seats. A few minutes of research could save you from misery in the air. Or, I can use my resources like the Brownell Air Desk to book your flights.
Once in flight, there are a few carry-on items essential for basic comfort and sleep. A wrap and socks lessen the chill when the cabin becomes a meat locker, and an eye mask and headphones help to diminish your surroundings. Don’t forget to pack a portable phone charger if you’re best lulled to sleep by your favorite playlist. And remember, for the best sleep on a long-haul flight, skip the alcohol and sodium-packed plane food and eat a light, healthy meal before take-off – see Caroline’s tips for healthy travel here!
If you simply can’t nod off, especially on transatlantic flights to Europe, there is a last resort: Book your hotel the night before you arrive so you can gain access well before the customary 3:00 pm check-in time. Yes, it costs more, but being able to freshen up in the privacy of your own room after a long flight is priceless. You can gamble on early check-in, but it is rarely guaranteed. However, through my affiliation with Virtuoso and many preferred partner programs, my clients are top of the list for early check-ins. Some preferred partner programs, like The Peninsula PenClub, do guarantee truly flexible 24-hour check-in and check-out times to my clients. (We don’t recommend a deep sleep on arrival, though, as it hinders adjusting to the new time zone. Best to press on and turn in early.)
And if all else fails, there’s always Melatonin and Ambien, but we travel advisors can’t help you there.
Caroline Travels the World (asleep)…and So Can You.