Flying is essential to modern travel, allowing people to quickly and efficiently travel worldwide. However, long flights can be uncomfortable and challenging, especially for those who struggle with claustrophobia, anxiety, or physical ailments.

To ensure a pleasant and stress-free travel experience, it’s essential to prioritize comfort during flights. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, being comfortable during a flight can make all the difference in your energy level, productivity, and overall well-being.

From choosing the right seat to bringing the proper accessories, there are many ways to enhance your comfort during flights and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

45 air travel hacks to elevate your experience

While waiting at the boarding gate

  • Check the boarding time: Check the boarding time and make sure you’re at the gate with plenty of time to spare.
  • Charge your devices: Take advantage of charging stations or bring a portable charger to ensure your devices are fully charged before boarding.
  • Use the bathroom: Take a quick bathroom break before boarding to avoid or minimize having to get up during the flight.
  • Grab snacks and water: If you didn’t bring your snacks, grab some at a nearby store or cafe to avoid the high prices on the plane.
  • Stretch your legs: Take a quick walk or do some stretches to get your blood flowing and help prevent stiffness during the flight.
  • Check for updates: Keep an eye on the departure board for any updates or changes to your flight.
  • Organize your belongings: Use this time to organize your belongings, ensuring you have your travel documents, passport, and boarding pass easily accessible.
  • Board when called: When your group is called to board, line up and have your boarding pass and ID ready to help keep the boarding process smooth and efficient.

For short 2-3 hour flights

  • Bring noise-canceling headphones to block out noise and distractions.
  • Pack a neck pillow and blanket to make yourself comfortable and get some rest.
  • Choose a seat near the wing for a smoother ride.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
  • Bring snacks and small meals to avoid being hungry during the flight and skip paying for expensive airport food.
  • Wear comfortable and layered clothing to adjust to temperature changes and avoid discomfort.
  • Use compression socks to promote blood circulation and prevent swelling.
  • Use a travel pillow to support your back and prevent back pain.
  • Bring a small bag or organizer to keep your essentials and personal items organized and easily accessible.
  • Plan and prepare entertainment such as books, games, or downloaded movies to entertain yourself during the flight.
  • Pack a small personal care kit with essentials like a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wipes, and hand sanitizer.
  • Bring a blanket to make yourself more comfortable during a winter flight.
  • Pack a portable charger to keep your devices charged throughout the flight.
  • Use compression socks to prevent swelling in your legs during the flight.
  • Choose a seat near the window to enjoy the view and avoid being bumped by other passengers.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the flight.
  • Use a luggage scale to avoid overweight baggage fees.
  • Use a packing cube or compression bag to maximize space in your carry-on.
  • Choose an aisle seat for easy access to the bathroom and stretch your legs.
  • Wear slip-on shoes to make taking them off and on easier during security and in-flight.

For long-haul 7+ hour flights

  • Choose the right seat: When booking your flight, choose a seat that suits your needs. Consider factors such as legroom, proximity to the bathroom, and noise level. Many airlines offer seat maps that can help you select the best option.
  • Dress comfortably: Wear loose, breathable clothing and comfortable shoes to help you relax during the flight. Avoid tight clothing or shoes that restrict movement.
  • Bring entertainment: Long-haul flights can be boring, so be sure to bring plenty of entertainment options such as books, magazines, music, and movies. Before the flight, consider downloading your favorite shows or movies on your phone or tablet.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during the flight. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks, which can dehydrate you.
  • Stretch and move: Get up and walk around the cabin every few hours to help improve circulation and prevent stiffness. You can also do simple stretches in your seat to keep your muscles limber.
  • Pack snacks: Bring healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, or granola bars to help keep you full and energized throughout the flight.
  • Sleep aids: If you have trouble sleeping on planes, consider bringing a sleep aid such as a neck pillow, eye mask, or noise-canceling headphones to help you relax.
  • Adjust to the time zone: If you’re traveling across time zones, adjust your sleep schedule a few days before the flight to help minimize jet lag.
  • Stay clean: Bring hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and tissues to help keep yourself and your immediate surroundings clean.
  • Stay calm: Finally, stay calm and relaxed throughout the flight. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, or listening to calming music can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

When you arrive at the destination

  • Disembarking: Once the plane has landed, remain seated until the seat belt sign is turned off and the aircraft has come to a complete stop.
  • Finding the shortest queues: Look for the shortest queues at immigration and customs by checking all the lines, not just the first one you see. If you have Global Entry or another trusted traveler program, use it to skip the regular lines.
  • Customs declarations: If you’re unsure about what to declare to customs, err on the side of caution and declare everything you have, including food, souvenirs, and gifts. This will help avoid any issues later on.
  • Luggage claim: To easily identify your luggage at the baggage claim, attach a unique identifier, such as a colorful ribbon or tag, to your bags. This will help you spot your luggage quickly and avoid accidentally picking up someone else’s bag.
  • Transport arrangement: Consider booking transportation in advance, such as a taxi or ride-share, to avoid waiting in long lines for transport at the airport. Alternatively, research public transport options beforehand to save time and money.
  • Use airport lounges: If you can access them through your airline or a credit card, take advantage of them to relax and unwind before or after your flight.
  • Stay organized: Keep all your travel documents, passport, and boarding pass in a separate, easily accessible pouch or wallet to save time and hassle at immigration and customs.