Last October, Singapore Airlines launched the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight, a nearly 19-hour, 16,700-km marathon between Singapore and Newark. While there’s nothing quite like that from YEG, the fact is, for Edmonton and St. Albert travellers, geography isn’t exactly on our side. Many flights route through other airports, meaning longer travel times (and let’s not forget that 45-minute drive just to get to YEG from St. Albert).
All this extra distance makes carry-on luggage even more important. Having a few essentials on hand and easily accessible can make coach seats and long layovers—not to mention flying in general—much more enjoyable. Here are a few tips.
The right carry-on makes all the difference. A good one stores everything you need and fits into an overhead compartment or under your seat. Look for a bag that’s compact, lightweight, and durable, and check for features such as compression systems that maximize interior space. “Wheelability” is also handy for long hikes through huge airports—a bag with four spinner wheels that lets you push, pull, and turn on a dime in any direction is best.
Air travel is nerve-wracking enough without worrying about where you stuck your passport or boarding pass. Enter the trustworthy travel wallet. Like your carry-on bag, a good wallet should be compact and practical, with space to organize not only your travel documents but also cash, credit cards, and a few useful extras like a SIM card and pen. Not only is it handy, a travel wallet also protects your documents from wear-and-tear—a crucial consideration for frequent flyers.
It can be a long wait between meals on some flights, and prices for food on planes are literally in the stratosphere. Bring a few light snacks for when you’re feeling peckish. As well, staying hydrated is one of the best ways to prevent jet lag: To get around airport security restrictions, and avoid single-use plastic bottles, pack a collapsible water bottle and fill it before boarding.
Few things freshen you up like minty breath and sparkling teeth, especially after the spotty sleep that all too often accompanies a long night in coach. A toothbrush and toothpaste are two items that travellers commonly forget to pack (or stow away in their checked luggage, where they can’t reach it). Pick up travel-size versions for your carry-on bag, or keep dental floss picks or pre-pasted mini brushes nearby.
Sure, many airlines will hand out reusable headphones. But these tend to be uncomfortable, and you often need to dial up the volume to ear-splitting levels just to hear your movie or music over the noise of flying. Give your ears a break by investing in noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds. Bonus: These also cut down on background noise for a better sleep.
Speaking of sleep aids, many travellers swear by sleep masks. While overnight flights tend to be fairly dark, it doesn’t match the darkness of a good mask—and if you’re hoping for a nap on a daytime flight, it’s essential. These come in a surprising range of features, from the soothing coolness of silk to weighted masks that mimic the sensation of deep-pressure touch therapy.
An overlooked clothing item that makes air travel more comfortable is a wrap, shawl, or scarf. This comes in handy for the fluctuating temperatures of a pressurized cabin, and if large enough, it can double as a blanket or be rolled up into a neck pillow.
Movies, books, games, and music are a great way to pass the time. However, depending on the airline and flight time, the pre-set options on your in-flight entertainment system may not be appealing (or working). A tablet or eReader, or even a smart phone, loaded with your favourite diversions can make time feel like it’s zipping by. Tip: Don’t forget the charger. t8n