As wonderful as travelling the world may be, there is no doubt it can be… challenging at times. From a mix-up at the hotel to a guidebook vastly underestimating how long it would take you to walk to a local site, all travellers become accustomed to dealing with at least some level of frustration. Most of these issues can be chalked up as part and parcel of travelling and dismissed as minor inconveniences.
However, issues with your flight and the flying experience itself are a lot more difficult to dismiss. The flight, after all, is arguably the single most important part of your travel plan. If the flight goes badly, then your vacation begins on a sour note; if the flight is delayed or cancelled, then you might not even have a vacation to begin with. Flying is full of a huge number of complexities, problems, and points liable to failure.
If you want to ensure you enjoy your vacation from the moment you leave your home, getting the flight and the associated experience right is essential. Below are a few of the most common complaints travellers have about flying– as well as a few tips on how to handle them the next time you’re heading off to explore the world.
BOOKING PROBLEM: You can’t find the flights for the times you need
One of the most irritating issues you may experience when trying to book flights is that you can’t find anything that fits in with your specific requirements. If you are travelling to a strict schedule, the idea of having to wait around at an airport is never an attractive one, and it’s also expensive if you’re going to have to eat and drink while there.
Solution: There are a few options that can rectify this issue. The further ahead you book, the more options there will be in terms of flight times, so you may be able to find a schedule that is workable for you. This is especially beneficial if you’re going to need to catch connections; the more options you have to make the timetable work, the better. The second option is to opt for an air charter service, which is more affordable than you might think, and doesn’t have the restrictions of dedicated timetables.
TAKE-OFF PROBLEM: Your ears pop painfully
Many people associate the pain of ear popping during takeoff with children, and don’t realise that the issue can occur in adults too. If you have a history of ear infections, have a head cold, or are just particularly susceptible to changes in pressure, then ear popping can be incredibly uncomfortable.
The most common suggestion for dealing with ear popping is to chew gum, which can help to alleviate the discomfort. However, if you have tried this and found it doesn’t work, then sucking on a boiled sweet is a good alternative.
If this still hasn’t solved the issue, then you’re going to want to employ a technique known as the Valsalva manoeuvre. This manoeuvre is most commonly associated with deep sea diving, but it will do the trick if you’re struggling flying above the ocean too!
Here’s how to do it:
- Pinch your nose
- Close your mouth firmly
- And — slowly and gently — breathe as if trying to unblock your nose
The key component here is “slowly and gently”. Many people use this technique — without knowing it actually has a name — and find that while it does work, the experience is painful. If, however, you perform it very slowly and carefully, then it should be pain-free, and the discomfort you have been experiencing will be alleviated.
IN-FLIGHT PROBLEM: You experience numbness in your hands and feet
When you have been sitting in a particular position for an extended period of time, you will often find that you begin to experience numbness in your hands and feet.
It’s important to see this as a sign that you need to do something. If possible, get up and move around the cabin; sitting still for too long on an aircraft can lead to issues with deep vein thrombosis. If you can’t get up, or don’t feel comfortable with doing so, then you can do simple leg and hand exercises to help increase the flow of blood.
Here’s a great instructional video for leg exercises:
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Additionally, a few of these yoga moves should help your hands feel more comfortable:
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Do both of the videos above at regular intervals and you should feel more comfortable as a result.
LANDING PROBLEM: You need to leave quickly but the aisle is blocked by other people
There are two types of travellers in the world.
One type of traveller will sit, patiently, at the end of the flight as they wait to disembark. They will wait for others to leave and make their way out only when the way is clear.
Then there is the other type of traveller. This type of traveller is on their feet the second the wheels have hit the ground. They are determined to bolt for the exits and be first in the queue– and they’re a probability if you’re short on time for a connection.
The best way to deal with this is to inform the cabin crew prior to takeoff. Explain that you have a very short connection, and can they please request that only those with connections to catch rush to disembark.
If you haven’t had the chance to do this, and just find yourself staring at a blocked aisle, then you’re best to be as patient as possible. Getting up and hurrying people is just going to cause more stress, and it won’t actually get you where you need to be any faster. Sit, wait until the space is clear, and then proceed off the plane as quickly as possible.
Flying is an integral part of the vacationing process. By implementing the ideas discussed above, you have the opportunity to enjoy the best flight experience possible, and thus ensure that your vacation starts and finishes on the right note.