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Tips for In-Flight Comfort

Sit in bulkhead or exit row aisles. Bulkheads offer extra legroom and no one can recline his seat back into your face. Remember that you have to store your carry-on luggage in the overheads. Exit rows have the luxury of extra foot room, but you must be able to open the emergency door, if needed.

Dress for duress. Wear flat-soled, lace-up shoes so you can loosen them if your feet swell. Rubber soles my catch on the exit slide during an emergency, and dress shoes don't adjust for swelling.

Protect your bags. Checked bags can get lost. If you have to check, use curbside skycaps to avoid lugging heavy bags through the terminal. Always use luggage locks; some baggage handlers get over-curious about what's in your bag.

Entertain yourself. Bring plenty of magazines; they're lighter than books and disposable. Don't forget your Walkman, either; it's the perfect way to catch up on those motivational tapes you've been meaning to listen to or to avoid unwelcome chatter from the person sitting next to you.

Do "air-aerobics". A number of airlines offer in-seat exercise routines to help reduce swelling and pain from cramped muscles and reduced circulation. A number of airlines offer in-flight tips.

Fix your posture. Airline seats don't adjust for relaxed spinal posture. Support your lumbar spine with a rolled-up blanket and your head and neck with a pillow. Another pillow or blanket to prop up your feet will relieve pressure on the backs of your thighs.

Sit up front. A recently released Harvard study found air quality in aircraft cabins didn't meet minimum standards for office buildings. You'll find less carbon dioxide in forward seats. During layovers, get off and take a walk; breathe deeply.

Drink eight ounces of water every hour. Airplane air has only 1% to 10% humidity, even less than most deserts. You'll need more than the two small cart drinks offered on most flights. Bring your own bottled water, and avoid coffee, alcohol and carbonated drinks, which are dehydrating diuretics.

Eat light. Even if you order vegetarian meals, everything but fruit plates contains too much salt and fat. Bring your own healthy snacks, like dehydrated soups or nutrition bars. Don't overeat, since your internal organs naturally swell due to cabin pressure changes.

Use daylight to adjust to a new time zone. The Association of Flight Attendants said the secret is to follow the same wake-up, bedtime, work and meal hours in your new location as in your old time zone. Don't try to catch up on sleep by going to bed right after you land or trying to stay up just because you gained a few hours. You'll adjust more quickly if your follow the clock.


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