Airplane Comfort

Written by Robert Mac
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Airplane comfort is a top concern of everyone flying these days--except the airlines. Actually, that's an unfair generalization; the airlines have been hurt by terrorist attacks, fluctuating economy, and the competitive nature of their industry, and their main solution is booking more passengers. More airplane passengers means better business for them, but less airplane comfort for us.

Making Your Airplane Comfortable

Money-conscious Americans tend to value cheap airline tickets over comfort in surveys about air travel, but when push comes to shove--which flying these days sometimes feels like--being comfortable is still very important. However, unless you can afford to fly business class, it's hard for the average traveler to be relaxed on a flight, to say nothing of larger travelers. There are ways to maximize your airplane comfort, though.

For large travelers who want an empty seat next to them, ask for one while booking your flight, or take flights that are traditionally less crowded: red-eyes and mid-week flights. Arrive early and grab an aisle seat (they are a bit wider) and put your bag on the middle seat; this will psychologically mark that area as yours, as will popping up the armrest. You can also use a belt extender if the ones on the plane are too uncomfortable to use.

For those who just want some peace and/or quiet: sleep masks make it easier to fall asleep, as do various travel pillows. There are a number of noise reducing headsets that will block the din of the airplane and other passengers. You can actually turn off the outside noise and listen to nothing, or play your favorite music with the rest of the world set to mute.

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