5 Ways to Endure a Long Flight

According to a new British Airways video (see it below), relieving the stress of a long flight is simple: Wrap yourself in the Happiness Blanket – and sleep.

Sleep Makes Passengers Happy

This British Airways experiment involved a wired-up blanket (Happiness Blanket) embedded with changing colored-lights activated by sensors connected to head bands.

When people felt good, the blankets turned blue. When people felt not so good (perhaps after catching a glimpse of themselves wearing the bizarre head bands), the blankets turned red. Sleep was nice and blue.

5 Ways to Get Through a Long Flight

Not everyone likes to or can sleep on a plane, so here are some alternatives to get through a long boring trip and emerge refreshed (or at least not too haggard).

1. Entertainment

Bring an electronic device so you can see a movie, read a book, watch a game. Don’t forget to pre-load all your favorites. Activate some brain cells by participating in games, too, like Jeopardy – make Alex Trebek proud.

  • Tip: All planes on JetBlue and Virgin America come with seatback screens with lots of stuff to watch.

2. Food

If you’re on an international flight, you’ll almost certainly get a meal (Swiss Air even gives you chocolate) but if you’re flying domestically, some airlines don’t even provide snacks. Bring your own food.

  • Tip: Avoid high prices at the airport by bringing a lunch/snacks from home. Pack fruit, nuts, granola and candy bars, and make your own sandwiches. Avoid grimaces from seatmates by skipping the tuna and onions.

3. Love

You might find love on an airplane (maybe) or you could text your significant other and here is a round-up of airlines with Wi-Fi.

  • Tip: Maybe you can find love. KLM allows you to pick a seatmate on certain flights via Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. FareCompare’s post on this featured a highly unscientific poll about what people want in a seatmate, and while “extreme good looks” got a few votes, the runaway winner for Best Seatmate was – an empty seat.

4. Serenity (including sleep)

We do not recommend reaching a state of blissful unconscious by helping it along with alcohol or pharmaceuticals (unless the latter is specifically prescribed by a physician). Instead, try drinking a lot of water, avoiding big meals and getting some exercise in the airport before boarding, even if it’s just a long walk through the terminal. Noise-canceling headphones can be very helpful.

  • Tip: If you have a chatty seatmate, just say, “I’m sorry, but I’m hoping to fall asleep.” You might try to pick a window seat so others don’t have to climb over you to get to the restroom.

5. Write

Use your electronic device or good old pen and paper to jot down memories of the trip you just took so you can write it up and send out to all your friends; it’ll keep you from having to answer the same questions over and over. If you’re on your way, jot down notes on attractions, restaurants and such, to get you in the mood. Ask a seatmate for recommendations.

  • Tip: Short on memories and know what you’re going to see? Get a chore done like the grocery list. It may even put you to sleep!

VIDEO: See the British Airways Happiness Blanket experiment.


Published: July 7, 2014