Flights have never been cheaper, and visiting the world has never been easier. With budget airlines offering flights to almost anywhere, it is now very easy to fly from home and reach any hub. However, many of these companies offering the cheapest tickets do so by scheduling their flights at impossible hours. Just because your flight is from 4 am to 2 am (with the time difference) you shouldn’t have to skip a deal that would allow you to travel more. In this article, I will give a few of my favourite tips to survive the infamous redeye flights.
The key to surviving a redeye flight is to maximise the time you can sleep on it. This will allow you to jump into your next destination fresh and feel less of the pain of flying in the middle of the night.
Choose your seat carefully
Some airlines won’t give you a choice when it comes to your seat; some will even charge you for it too. However, with most airlines it is still possible to choose a seat. You get better chances of getting the seat you want if you pre-check in afew days before your flight using the airlines website. In my opinion, the best seats, when flying economy, are either the second-to-last row and the emergency exits.
Why? The emergency exits offer more legroom, which will allow you to stretch your legs and create a comfortable position. If you can get the window side, it will be even better as you’ll have a surface to lean on. Sometimes, the stingiest companies will make you pay extra to get an exit row. If it is the case, then fall back on the second choice.
The second-to-last row also has many advantages. Usually, toddlers are put in the first rows with their parents, so the second to last row has much less chance to be disturbed by crying kids whose eardrums are tortured by the pressure. Why second-to-last and not last? Because often the seats of cheaper flights can’t recline at all. Another advantage of the second to last row is that you have a good chances of being served your meal first and also are close enough to the lavatories to see when they are busy or not.
Bring your sleeping tools
When it comes to sleeping on a plane, there are some objects that you shouldn’t be afraid to bring and use. Granted, they’ll make you look silly, but at 10,000 feet above the ground, it shouldn’t bother you so much.
These tools basically have the same function: numb your senses to the micro-aggressions of the plane. First, bring an eye-mask. The eye mask will help you block variations in lighting and also create the darkness your body needs to feel for you to fall asleep. A good eye-mask should be light, made of a material that breathes and only cover your eyes while still being opaque. Some eye-masks, if too big or too thick, will make you face sweat, which is clearly not the best feeling to help you fall asleep.
The second essential would be a neck pillow. A neck pillow will allow you to avoid positions where your neck in uncomfortable while sitting straight but also allow you to find new positions to sleep. I recommend that you find an inflatable neck pillow (remember to always travel light and small) which takes next to no room in your bag. The neck pillow shouldn’t leave much room between your neck and it but still should feel like it’s strangling you. Again, you don’t want the pillow to be too hot and make you sweat.
A lot of people will bring earbuds to block the sounds of the planes rotors and engine.I don’t personally like single-use earbuds and they make me feel uncomfortable. However, you might want to bring your own earphones and just wear them even when you’re not watching a movie. This will considerably reduce background noise and will come in handy when you want to use the entertainment system.Make sure to bring the two-pin adaptor in case your plane uses this kind of outlet.
You can also bring a foldable water bottle (again, so that it fits in your personal item) and ask the flight attendant to fill it instead of having to chase them every time and ask for new plastic cups every time you want to drink.
Last but not least, you might want to invest in melatonin pills. Melatonin is the hormone your body produces to make you sleep. It is not a sleeping pill but will help regulate your circadian cycle and fight jetlag. You should take them 30 minutes before you intend to sleep.
Dress for it
The clothes you wear on a flight impact your comfort greatly. After all, you’ll be stuck in them for hours. You want to work with a layer system. Having multiple layers of clothes will allow you to regulate your temperature by having the option to take clothes off when you’re hot and put clothes back if you are cold. A shirt,a jumper and a jacket would be a good set of layers. Make sure you have a jacket with plenty of pockets (my favourite) which can help you dodge those pesky luggage size and weight limitations on cheap flights. If you can’t carry it, wear it. In those pockets, put your passport, tickets, all the electronics, devices and sleeping tools mentioned earlier so you can readily access them from your seat without having to reach for your bags.
Your clothes should be loose: avoid jeans and other rough fabrics and make sure to wear comfortable shoes made of a material that breathes so that you won’t mind keeping them on. Removing your shoes on a flight is actually a bad idea, first for your neighbouring passengers, but also for yourself, as your feet might get swollen due to the high altitude.
Manage your sleep
In order to sleep well during but also after your flight, you should try to plan when you are going to sleep. If you’re in for a long-haul flight, you might want to set your watch to the time of your destination and then plan your sleep around the time you would normally be sleeping and stay awake when you should be awake. To stay awake, make sure you have plenty of things to keep you entertained. If you’re flying with some of the cheapest airlines, chances are your plane won’t have complimentary entertainment systems. If that is the case, you might want to stock up on movies, TV series and get a few new books on your e-reader to help you spend time awake.
By already sleeping at the time it is appropriate to sleep at your destination, you might be able to reduce the impact of jetlag as you will already be somewhat used to the time zone you are flying to. The day before your flight, try to get as much exposure to the sun as possible as this helps your body create melatonin. Obviously, also avoid coffees and, while it might seem like a good idea to knock yourself out drinking complimentary alcohol on your flight, it has been proved that the dehydration caused by alcohol actually amplifies the effects of jetlag and, let’s face it, who wants to arrive in a foreign airport hungover? Which brings us to our last point.
Research your airports of departure and arrival
There’s nothing worse than arriving in a country you don’t know, find out that there is no free Wi-Fi at the airport and not knowing your next move. If you are flying on a redeye flight, chances are that your flight will either arrive or leave at an inconvenient time. Before your flight, you should go on the internet and research various things.
First, check the transportation options to and from the airports you’ll be visiting.You’ll save a lot of money if you can avoid taking a taxi. Lots of airports in more developed countries have train, subway lines or shuttles linking the airport to downtown. You should try to find out the schedule of these systems and note them down before your flight. Always assume you won’t be able to access the internet on your arrival. If there isn’t any cheaper mean of transportation out of the airport, you’ll want to make a quick search to have an idea of the price of a taxi to your destination in order to avoid scams and overpricing. Establishing your game plan beforehand will allow you to leave the dreaded airport quickly and smoothly.
Your airport of arrival shouldn’t be the only one you research. If your flight is late at night, you’ll want to make sure that you can reach the airport with the public transportation and find out if there are areas in the airport for you to wait comfortably for your flight or even sleep. In airport with multiple terminals, make sure that you know which terminal you are flying from as sometimes,the cheapest flight aggregate engines might not give you that information.
With these tips in hand, you should be able to take advantage of those cheap flights without feeling the inconvenience of being in an airport at 4am and having to wake up at 3am.