Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Flying Sucks

OK, maybe that is a bit cranks of me, but I did just sit on the tarmac at JFK for an extra 1.5 hours after they delayed us an hour - all this before a 5.5 hour flight across the country.

Then, inevitably you get on and have a seat mate that is making a slow but insistent hostile takeover of your legroom, and staked his claim on the armrest before you even sat down.

Now for some people, the sound of a jet engine is soporific - they fire it up, you pass out. Some people (the guy sitting next to me last night) have either a fascinating inner monologue or an amazing capacity to stave off boredom (he watched TBS for a solid 7 hours on the seat back TV - with no sound.

Me? I have to come up with other ways to cope with the experience flying has become and I thought I would share a couple tips.

Make sure you have the right seat: Although you can't predict the BMI of the person sitting next to you, you can at least give yourself a fair shot at comfort. The site Seat Guru has it all - down to what kind of foot room, what kind of entertainment, etc. I check it every time I pick a seat. Also - check the airlines website about 72 hours and 24 hours before your flight. Some airlines release "premium" seats including exit rows, bulkheads and the front of the plane.

Noise canceling headphones. They can be spendy - between $100 and $350 - but they are worth it. You will feel less tired, less deaf and more relaxed when you block out a lot of the noise and create your own space to either listen to your iPod or watch a movie without having to crank it up to hear anything. They are also larger and more imposing than the traditional iBuds so you will have a better chance of looking like you can not talk to your neighbor. Honestly, I don't care what you sell, and yes, I am aware of the big dumb loudmouth behind us, but would rather block her out with my headphones than discussing her with you.

Fly direct and don't fly red eye. This may seem like a no brainer, but my dumbass just flew a red eye this week. You may save $50 or $100, but you will also feel like hell, be less comfortable during the traveling part and feel worse once you get there. What's the point of getting there 6 hours earlier on the red eye if all you want to do is sleep for a solid 6 hours once you get there?

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