Long flights, poor seating, flight delays, turbulence, missed connections, recycled dry air, and the occasional rude or incessantly talking seatmate can all make for a less-than-pleasant experience. Here are few things you can do to help:
- Get comfortable. Get a pillow or two and blanket. Bringing along a C-shaped pillow that fits around your neck is also helpful, as it keeps your head from bobbing around or getting a stiff neck. Take off your shoes or at least loosen the laces to improve circulation.
- Drink water. This will help counter the dehydrating effects of the dry, recycled air. Carbonated beverages may produce excess stomach gas.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. They are diuretics, causing you to go to the bathroom frequently. This, along with the dry cabin air, will increase your chances of dehydration. Remember that one drink in the air can be act like two on the ground.
- Relieve ear pressure. First, never fly with serious sinus/ear congestion, whether from a cold, allergy, or upper respiratory infection. If you do, you may experience severe pain and damage your eardrums. To get on the plane, you must be able to "clear" your ears by gently but forcefully exhaling against a closed mouth and nose. Antihistamines and decongestants may significantly help. While on the plane, chewing gum may help equalize your ear pressure as well. Pressure problems are generally worse on landing. So make sure your ears feel clear before you descend.
- Nap carefully. Consider a short nap on a short flight and a longer one on a longer flight. On longer flights consider waiting until the latter portion of the flight. So when you wake and feel refreshed just as the flight as about to end. Do not snooze too long unless you have a long flight. Napping more than 30-45 minutes may put you into a deep sleep, making you feel more tired when you wake up. Also, close the window shade, if possible, or don your eye covers. Ear plugs will also help a great deal.
At the Hotel
Sleeping facilities are as important as meeting facilities.