Mar

03

Long distance flights are often at night. Although these flights are a great opportunity to get a little bit of sleep, I know many people telling me that they cannot sleep on the plane. This is a collection of a few items that help falling asleep in a plane.

1) Fall asleep during take-off

Did you ever notice that many people fall asleep during take-off and landing of the plane? The air inside the plane gets recycled without adding fresh air at these times, so that the oxygen level is dropping. This sudden drop makes us feel asleep. This means that you should plan to start sleeping during take-off. Although you are not allowed to decline your seat you should get into a comfortable position and close your eyes once the plane starts moving away from its parking position.

2) Use earplugs

You might not always realize it since the sound is very stable but it is very loud inside a plane. You have the sound of the motor, of the air-conditioning and the air outside in addition to all kind of noises made by other passengers and the staff. The easiest way to reduce the noise level is to use earplugs. Headphones with noise reduction function are a great option if you don’t find them too large.

3) Use the eye-shield

Use an eye-shield to protect from the bright light and the constant movements taking place in a plane at all times.

4) Tell the purser you want to sleep

Once you are sleeping you don’t want to wake up just because they are serving some meal or drinks. Let the purser know early that you don’t want to be disturbed and that you are ready to skip a meal in case you are sleeping. Some airlines even offer stickers to indicate this wish for night flights.

5) Don’t check the inflight entertainment program

More and more planes have personal inflight entertainment systems in each seat including the economy class. Having a choice of a few dozen movies and games you will certainly find something interesting. If you want to sleep on the plane you therefore better don’t even look at the program. Once you start watching a movie it probably will take you more time to fall asleep.

6) Reserve a comfortable seat

In first or business class it does not matter so much which seat you are in. If you fly economy class you should try to get a seat in front of a wall or the emergency exit since it provides more space. When I want to sleep on the plane I usually get a window seat. You can put the pillow into the window and win a few additional centimeters of space.

7) Wear clothes to relax

Wear loose clothes if you want to sleep on the plane. Use trousers without a belt. Since it is cold in high altitude you should also take something warm with you. It is hard to sleep when you are freezing.

8) Don’t drink alcohol

Alcohol helps you to fall asleep but the quality of your sleep is low. Considering all the noise and possible interruptions in the plane I recommend not drinking alcohol. It might take longer until you sleep but you will sleep much better. Please also consider that with high altitude your reacts more sensitively to alcohol than usual.

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Dec

21

It now is holiday season and many of us travel to even far destinations. If you are on low budget it often pays off not to take the direct route but to have a stop-over at another airport. In some cases you might have to stay a night or spend a lot of hours at the airport before you can board your connection flight.

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Not every airport provides the same comfort and opportunities for people who want to take a nap and may be also want to use some facilities like showers in between two flights. The Guide to Sleeping in Airports is a great website, which collects experiences with airports from travelers around the world. You will find the following information:

  • Best and worst airports for sleeping
  • Tips & tricks for sleeping at the airport
  • A blog from the community

It is a funny place for a very specific purpose. But I am sure you will love it the day you missed the last flight back home…

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Dec

20

Nowadays escalators are found everywhere in airports, stations, shopping malls and even office buildings. They invite us to take a rest while being transported up or down. Take the opportunity to walk on the escalator. It increases your walking speed considerably and also gives you a little bit of exercise.

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When you spend a lot of time in airplanes there are many ways to make your journey more pleasant:

1) When to go to toilet:
Try to go to the toilet before the service. Most people will go after the meals and you then have to queue.

2) How to open containers with fluid inside:
During the meal you receive coffee milk or dressing in closed small containers. Since the air pressure inside the container is higher than the pressure in the airplane, the liquid might spill out when opening the container. You therefore better open the side away from your body, so that it does not spoil your clothes.

3) Goods to bring on the plane:

The meaning of a pleasant journey is a little bit different for every person. There are a few things that might make your flight much easier, such as:

  • Earplugs
  • Earphones with noise reduction
  • Eye protection so that you can sleep
  • Eye drops for those having problems with dry eyes
  • A bottle of mineral water
  • An air pillow for your neck
  • A pen, so that you can take notes or fill in the immigration documents on the plane

I wonder what others are doing to make their flights more pleasant or more productive. Please share your ideas with me in the comment section.

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Airlines offer their frequent travelers lounges, where they can relax, work and prepare for their trip. When used effectively these airline lounges can be very useful and make a big difference on your journey.

  • Set your mobile phone’s alarm clock early so that in any case you will be at the gate on time. You can relax and even sleep without fear to miss the plane
  • Charge all electronic devices you want to use in the plane
  • Before long flights, take a shower and you will feel very fresh
  • Don’t eat from all that free staff and drink alcohol free drinks
  • Go to the toilet just before leaving the lounge for the gate
  • If you use a public internet terminal make sure you logged out your sites
  • If possible take a bottle of water with you when you leave the lounge
  • Change clothes from business to comfortable
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Aug

27

As a global trend airports get larger and larger. New terminals are being added in all large cities and the buildings become larger and larger often extending over multiple floors for arrival, departure, restaurants, services, parking, train stations, etc. Getting from one place to another in these impressive building can consume a significant amount of time. You can optimize your travel time significantly by following a few very simple rules:

  • Inform yourself in advance which terminal your flight is leaving from. Going to the wrong terminal makes you loose a lot of time and can generate huge stress in case you are a bit short on time.
  • When you need to change up to one or two floors you better use the escalators. If it more than two floors it often is faster to take an elevator - especially when you carry a lot of luggage with you.
  • Always use the flat escalators since they help you to cover large distances in short time and please NEVER stop walking on these escalators or if you walk slowly stay at one side so that people who are faster than you can pass.
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Sometimes you might slightly exceed the quantity of goods allowed to bring into a a country. Declaring this at customs often is very time consuming although the amount to be paid might be very small. A very elegant way to then get through customs with almost no risk is to go to the officer who works at the counter for declarations. You ask him “How much of xxx am I allowed to bring in without declaration?”. When he then answers your question, you say “Ah, then I am fine. Thank you.” and go out. It is very unlikely that he will check your luggage in this situation.

However, you should apply this only for small things and I do not want to enhance smuggling here.

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Many airlines offer moist towels to their passengers during long flights. Considering the dry air inside airplanes and the pain it can cause hour after hour, you can use the towel for more than just cleaning your hands.

If you put it onto your face and breath through it. It will give you a nice warm sensation and the warm moist air coming into your lung and mouth will hydrate your respiratory system.

Once the towel cooled down a little bit you can use it for cleaning your hands and face.

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Once your plane has landed you want to get out as fast as possible. The place you stored your handluggage can influence the speed of getting out.

The best place is to have your hand luggage under your front seat. After landing, you just pick it up and go.

If it is too large to be stored under the front seat or you sit at an emergency exit or wall, there is no other choice that putting it into the storage place on top. Never use a case behind you since you will have to return against the flow of people later. It is better to store it a bit in front if possible.

Sometimes there is no storage available anymore. In this case you should ask the staff to store it somewhere in the front and not in the back, so that you can collect it on your way out.

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Jul

26

For those with a lot of international travel it is a good idea to have a paperclip permanently fixed in your passport. It allows you to fix immigration and customs document in your passport.

Some countries especially do not staple the document required for exit into your passport but just give you a lose paper when you enter the country. If you fix them with the paper clip the risk of losing them is much lower, which would require a lot of time to fix otherwise.

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