I look out the tiny airplane window. I see lightning make contact with the ground every few minutes. The pint sized plane makes a screeching stop as we prepare to charge the inevitable. Lifting into the air, a thunderstorm is looming, hence the rapid departure. The turbulence warrants clutches to the armrest. Finally everything quiets down, or so I think.
The man behind me begins attacking the seat pocket in front of him, also known as the back of my chair. As I receive an unexpected and unwarranted back massage, he appears to be searching for buried treasure left behind from the previous flight. Someone starts smacking gum with the chomping ringing in my ears. The person in front of me reclines their chair all the way back, leaving me one inch of space for an hour flight. Do you really need to be that comfortable for an hour? I open up my computer to get to some writing, when I notice the 16 year old seated next to me is watching my every move. She doesn’t say anything as she so obviously reads over my shoulder. I am tempted to type, “Eyes on your own seat pocket”, but I refrain. Then I hear the unthinkable, nail clippers pinging throughout the cabin. Really? Is this the time for manicures? I shudder in disgust and hope the flying pieces of nail won’t land anywhere near me.
It can be a trying experience on an airplane, trying towards one’s sanity. Two weeks from today, I will embark on a long flight to Italy. One car ride, two flights, two train trips, and a taxi will ultimately leave me at my destination. The annoyances I may encounter on those planes, trains and automobiles cannot result in a temperamental redhead making the local news. We all may find aspects to traveling on a plane annoying, tiresome, and flat out unavoidable. Here are tactics I practice on long flights in order to remain sane before reaching my destination.
Slip On Earplugs Or Head Phones
If the person next to me is yapping a little too much or I hear the clipping of nail clippers, I slip on headphones and turn up the volume. I will watch TV shows on my I-Pod or listen to music to drown out the not so sane world going on outside of my headphones. I have not gone so drastic as to put in earplugs, but I am considering it for my upcoming trip. If you cannot read or write with music or noise, earplugs seem to be a great solution for blocking out unwarranted airplane noises.
Get Up And Walk Around
Sitting in a chair for 15 hours that is far from the definition of comfortable can take its toll when you finally reach your destination. Get up, stretch those legs, and wander around the plane. Obviously don’t do this if the seat belt sign is telling you not to. However, getting away from the person peering over your shoulder or just peeling yourself out of the airplane seat for a few minutes can do wonders toward improving a traveling state of mind that has a touch of cabin fever.
Request To Be A Loner
I have never sat in the first or business class of any airplane. As I make my way to the back of the plane, I am tortured by the first and business classers, already sipping on champagne and kicking up their leg rests. While I unknowingly glare at these people, I am simply jealous. I know my flight sanity might be more at ease if I were sitting up front, stretching out while eating better food. Airlines, don’t hesitate to give me an upgrade. This is my public plea. If you are an average Jane like myself and are never lucky enough to get bumped to business or first class, see if the ticket agent will put you in a seat next to no one. You may not have champagne and that reclining chair, but you may have a whole row of seats to sprawl out. Personal space and comfort are key in keeping that mind happy.
A Window Seat May Be Your Saving Grace
There are different types of people in this world, those that love window seats on airplanes, those that prefer an aisle view and those strange souls that request middle seats. Do they even exist? I am a window person for two reasons. If the boredom on a flight is driving me mad, I can always look out the window for a bit of entertainment. I often find myself getting lost in thought, killing an hour or two here and there. Another reason a window seat keeps me sane, the position allows for better sleeping. The flight attendant won’t run over your foot and wake you up from that necessary slumber. If you bring jackets, sweatshirts, and sweaters on a plane, you can form a nice little cushion between the window and your seat, allowing for prime sleeping and thus a more rested mind. You don’t need a shoulder to lean on. You have a window.
How do you keep sane on those long flights? I need suggestions for my upcoming transatlantic flight just 2 weeks away.