Comfort does not always cost extra. The difference between an agonizing plane ride and a memorable part of the trip often requires little more than a few little sensible tricks.
Use booking engines to narrow down choices based on the commonly provided information such as, price, arrival time, departure time, and connections. Print the choices and number them in the order that best suits your needs. After a few phone calls to the individual airlines the order often changes drastically.
Ask the agent what equipment is being flown for each flight number on the list. The equipment (aircraft type) may differ from flight number to flight number. Comfort and service vary greatly between aircraft styles.
The Airbus A330/340 has more legroom, further reclining seats, and a state of the art entertainment system compared to the older Boeing 767. Airline fleets are available on most company websites. Know the variations of the aircraft ahead of time.
Seat location is as important as the aircraft type. Compare the seating chart to available seats. A seat next to the lavatory has no benefits in light of the odiferous emanations that are sure to linger. The gaseous traveler waiting in line, forearm reclined against your headrest, is never a pleasant conversationalist.
Large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 can hold up to 850 passengers. A seat close to the debarkation door minimizes time spent at the customs and immigration line.
Many airlines do not disclose seating charts online. http://www.seatguru.com/ shows seating charts for all major airlines.
Make an impression. Say hello, be friendly. Understand that flight attendants are busy and hear 1000’s of travel stories a week, there is little doubt yours is unique. Another “how I almost missed my flight.” story will not win the heart of even the most congenial of flight attendants. During a flight attendants down time, strike up a conversation that involves them. Asking what they like best about the layover can gain inside information as well show friendliness. A rapport with the crew often results in perks such as free drinks, extra meals and the best magazines. Getting bumped up to first class is not unusual when there are open seats.
Airline food is light years ahead of what it once was. Still, a meal sitting in a warmer for hours only ranks as palatable at best. Order a special meal ahead of time. A fruit plate or seafood only meal is kept very cold and fresh. Seafood only meals are usually a shrimp cocktail or crab claws. Bringing your own is always an option. Buying food before boarding provides you with more choices than chicken or beef. Chances are you will actually know what you ate as well.
Take care of yourself
Many seat pocket safety instruction cards have tips on how to exercise in your seat to prevent embolisms. Sitting stationary for extended periods of time can cause cramping, stiffness, and blood clots. When permitted, walk the aisle periodically to keep blood circulation up and muscles limber.
The aircraft cabin can be as dehydrating as a walk in the desert. Drink copious amounts of water to stay refreshed and headache free.
Board the plane as soon as possible. The limited overhead space fills quickly. Late boarders often have their luggage placed well behind their seat assignments. The excitement of sitting in row 12 by the exit fades quickly when carry-on luggage is placed above row 98. Hundreds of anxious passengers will pass you by on their way to customs while you wait for the opportunity to trek to the back of the plane to retrieve your bag.
Following a few simple flying tips can get you to your destination rested and refreshed.