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Reduce discomfort of air travel
July 17, 2016, 11:36 am

Flying for hours in cramped airline seats can be troublesome, many people have experienced some level of discomfort on an aircraft, from crying children to lumpy seats, if you are stuck in economy for a long flight, the journey is rarely pleasant. However, there are ways to make your journey just a little more bearable.

Manage pre-flight stress: One way to keep stress levels down is to get ready for travel in advance. Scan your passport and keep it in your email system. For your trip to the airport, factor in potential delays such as transport strikes, traffic jams, and weather conditions.

Choose your seat: Experts say that sitting near the plane's wing means less turbulence, as wings are located close to the plane's centre of gravity.

Travel light: It is important to appreciate the sheer amount of physical activity involved in air travel. Struggling with more luggage than you can handle adds to the pressure and overall discomfort. Also, dragging heavy hand luggage raises the risk of muscle strains and musculoskeletal problems that will only be compounded by immobility and cramped seating once on board.

Starve the jet lag: Fast before a long-haul flight because it helps ease your jet lag.

 Eat carefully: Avoid fast food before boarding and steer clear of vegetables that are likely to give you gas. When on board, eat healthy and light food that is easy to digest. Fatty meals will leave you feeling full for longer, which is uncomfortable if you want to sleep.

Drink: When it comes to liquids, do not restrict your fluid intake, even if you are stuck in the middle seat and do not wish to disturb other passengers to go to the toilet. Drink at least half-a-litre of liquid for every three hours in the air.

Mind your health: Low humidity strains your nose and throat, skin, and eyes – especially if you wear contact lenses. People with breathing problems or heavy smokers will be particularly at risk. So if you sometimes need an inhaler, pack it somewhere you can easily reach. Should you suddenly struggle for air on board, put a damp cloth on your face and breathe through your mouth. If matters get worse, ask the crew for extra oxygen.

Hit snooze: Sleeping on board can be a challenge, especially in economy class. If you can upgrade to business class, then do so. If not, then wear loose clothing, and dress with plenty of layers because of erratic temperatures on long flights. Don an eye mask, and do not forget a neck pillow. If your neck is leaning to the side, the oxygen flow gets interrupted and it will wake you up, leading to an uncomfortable journey.

Block noise: Try out for noise-cancelling headphones as they are an immensely pleasant, although expensive way of blocking the white noise from the engines and other distractions around you.

Move it: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the formation of blood clots in deep veins is another problem for travelers. They are caused by being seated for too long, leading to swollen feet and ankles, and leg pain. Clots in the legs are not serious, but at times they may travel to the lungs and cause chest pain and shortness of breath. If you are at risk of DVT, see your doctor before you travel and consider wearing compression stockings which apply gentle pressure to the ankle to help the blood flow. Moving about also helps stop the blood from pooling in your feet. Do not place luggage under the seat in front of you, as it reduces the ability to move your legs.

This may all seem like a lot of advice – but then the effects of flying thousands of miles in a cramped, pressurized tube should not be underestimated.

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