air travel


so, there are many lessons learned from this trip, in terms of things to make air travel smoother and nicer when going on such a long flight. i will list them here:

  1. try to get seats near the front, they are last on, and first off,  making your time on the plane less.  bear in mind that babies are usually in the front rows, because that’s where they can hook up bassinettes.  while we may all be on this quest for our own bundles of joy, it’s not always charming to hear someone else’s bundle cry/scream for 11 hours.  a couple of rows back makes it more tolerable and you can just peek in on the cuteness.
  2. pack as small a carry on bag as possible, take only what you will need on the plane.  we noticed that people’s carry-ons are getting much bigger, and we really don’t understand why they allow this, so there isn’t often lots of room in the overhead bins and it’s best if your bag can fit under the seat in front of you, as it’s easy to get at, and easy to keep your eye on
  3. check if your plane has any plug-ins so you can charge your electronics.  some of our Korean Air flights had USB chargers, but they charged fairly slowly; it still kept our stuff usable
  4. check the movies ahead of time, because if there is nothing of interest, you should make sure you bring your ipad or tablet with movies and a good book.  you can do this on most airline websites
  5. make sure all your electronics are charged.  we had done this, but for some reason my Kindle had charged all night before we left, but hadn’t actually charged.  we didn’t bring the charger because had it charged, it would have been fine, so i was without my books the whole time.  must have been user error, because i charged it when i got home and it’s totally fine.  most airports also have charging stations with all sorts of plug-ins, so you can charge stuff during your layovers as well
  6. ear plugs and eye mask, need i say more?
  7. get up and walk on the plane, it helps your muscles and also helps you to not get traveler’s thrombosis
  8. check if you need an airplane adapter for your earphones; the airplane earphones suck.  hubby insists upon sound isolating headphones, but i took my earbuds which are not noise isolating, and i was fine.  this is all a moot point if you forget an adapter and your plane needs one (ours did not)
  9. be careful if you have a food allergy.  Korean Air still serves peanuts (they were delicious and honey coated), and also a lot of their food was seafood.  i have a crustacean allergy, and i couldn’t read the ingredients on much of the packaging.  on the last flight, porridge was an optional breakfast, so i ordered it thinking it would be oat meal, but it was really rice porridge with seafood stuff to mix in.  good thing it had a big picture of a shrimp on the package, or i would potentially be dead now.  on this note, make sure you bring your epi-pen, or multiple epi-pens, but make sure you have one on the plane with you too.
  10. pack all your medication with you in the cabin; can you imagine losing your luggage with all your medications?   plus, if you are travelling as long as we did, you will need some doses along the way.
  11. lotion and chap-stick – the plane is majorly dehydrating, so make sure you can moisturize yourself, but make sure they are all under 100 mls and fit into your little plastic bag
  12. yes, you need to be able to pack all your “liquids” that you wish to carry on, into a little plastic bag.  here is the best description i could find, it’s from the UK, but most others use american standards, and when shopping for little plastic bags, it leaves you shaking your head. i would take a few extra of these bags, in case yours breaks before your return trip.
  13. travel insurance – i cannot stress this enough.  i work in health care, and i cannot tell you how many people don’t get travel insurance and then end up screwed on the other side of the planet.  sure, health care is inexpensive in India, but if you need medical transport back to Canada, that is NOT COVERED by your provincial or government health care, so you will be stuck with a bill for a medical transport, which often includes ambulances, medical staff, medical equipment and sometimes a private plane(s).  this could be up to six figures, and they often won’t fly you until it’s paid or guaranteed.  make sure your travel insurance covers “repatriation” to your home country.  considering for our six day trip, this cost us a whopping $32 for both of us, it’s well worth it.  you can check with your credit cards to see if this is included on one of your credit cards as a benefit, but sometimes it’s only included if you paid for your trip with that particular card, so read the fine print. also, banks also have packages, or your extended coverage through work may have a discount or plan for you.
  14. comfy shoes or sandals – i wore closed toed (open backed) shoes on the way to India, and my feet were too hot, even on the plane, and definitely when we got off the plane.  feet also swell when flying, so it’s nice to have something really flexible and cool.  you can take socks if you want to add warmth at any time.  i wore birkenstock sandles on the way home, and was much happier.  i think, actually, that i will not take anything but my birks next time we go, period.
  15. they have blankets and wee pillows on the plane, so bringing your own may not be necessary or may be.  we have Lug travel pillows, which have blankets enclosed, and we are always happy we have them (the pillows on board the plane leave a lot to be desired, though the blankets are nice)
  16. make sure you have your hotel’s WHOLE ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER with you on the plane.  many of the customs or immigration forms you fill out for security require this information , plus your passport number and passport information.
  17. hand sanitizer – put some in your wee plastic bag, travelling to foreign countries can be gross, especially for the germaphobe.  i have never traveled with so many coughing, sneezing, wheezing, snotty people in my life.  maybe it’s just the season, but holy crap.  make sure you have extra for Mumbai (or whatever city you happen to be in).
  18. kleenex packets are a nice-to-have, they have kleenex in the lavatories, but it’s just nice to have your own
  19. when you sit down on the plane, you will notice they have a HUGE PACK of magazines (mostly selling in flight duty free) in the pocket with your barf bag.  they discourage this i believe, but we put all the magazines in the overhead bin above us, because then you can use that pocket for your own stuff, like water bottle, book, iPad, blanket, whatever.  we didn’t use the overhead bins for luggage, so we figured we were entitled to use a bit of room to clear space for our own comfort.  nobody said anything, but then again, nobody saw us 😛

ok, enough for now, i will add if i think of more, my brain is still not 100%… hope this helps!

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