Can’t go to bed. Joints are sore. The food was bad, too. This stinks, too! And it was hot… Now it’s cold. The back of the chair supports your knees. The baby then starts to cry…
Do you know what’s going on here? Most of us have been uncomfortable on an airplane at some point, and if you’re unlucky enough to be in economy class on an American Airlines Boeing 777 flight from Europe to New York, or even somewhere farther away, it’s not likely to be a pleasure.
This isn’t a mistake, of course. Contrary to what most people think, the pressure in the cabin of a modern airplane is not the same as the pressure at sea level. It is more like the pressure at the top of a small mountain, which is usually between 1828 and 2438 meters, where the air has less oxygen and the gases in the body cavities expand.
This condition is made worse by other things that cause stress, like flights that are late, having to go through airport security, noise and vibration on the plane, tasteless food, sudden changes in temperature, low humidity, crowded seats, different time zones, and many other things.
But there are ways to make travel a lot easier to handle.
Reduce stress before a flight
One way to do this is to get ready for the flight early, which will lower the level of stress.
Scan your passport and keep a copy of it in your email.
When figuring out how long it will take to get to the airport, you should take into account things like strikes by transportation workers, traffic jams, and bad weather.
Pick your seat.
Pick a good place to live. Websites like Seatmaps. You can find a seating plan for any plane, including the Avro RJ100 Avroliner, on this site.
For each plane model and airline, there is a seating chart with a color code that shows which seats to avoid because they are close to the bathroom, very tight, don’t recline, and so on.
Experts say that turbulence is felt less close to the wings because they are close to the center of gravity of the plane.
If you forgot to choose your seat ahead of time, talk to the flight attendant. If the plane is empty, you might be able to move to an empty row.
You should be aware that flying in an airplane is hard on your body. Having heavy suitcases adds to the stress and discomfort of traveling.
If you have heavy hand luggage, you are more likely to get muscle strains and other problems with your musculoskeletal system, which will be made worse by the fact that you won’t be able to move around much on the plane and will feel tight.
Avoid eating before a long flight
Scientists from Harvard University (USA) say that a 16-hour fast before getting on a plane can help activate a special clock in the brain that will make it easier to adjust to the time difference.
This clock is not like the circadian body clock, which responds to the amount of light and tells the body when to wake up, sleep, and eat.
Don’t eat at all
So, you got to the airport early, were ready for the time change, and even went through security quickly.
But this doesn’t mean you can now eat whatever you want. Don’t eat too many fatty, fried, or other fast foods.
Also, stay away from onions, broccoli, cauliflower, white cabbage, and beans, all of which can cause gas.
Watch what you eat on a plane
We are what we eat. This is especially true on long flights, when our biological clocks are thrown off.
Choose foods that are light, healthy, and easy to digest, like fruit or salad.
Carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, whole grain bread, and oatmeal will also work because they help the body make insulin, which helps it deal with jet lag.
Take in more water!
Even if you are sitting in the middle and don’t want to wake up other people when you go to the bathroom, don’t just drink water.
Drink as much as you can, at least 0.5 liters of fluid for every three hours of flight.