Raising Children

Flying High

Air travel is no doubt a preferred mode of travel, but being hurtled across the globe in a large box of metal can have its disadvantages. Here's how to make traveling by air a snap. 

High Pressure

The primary reason you feel drained and suffer from slight altitude sickness after a flight is the weak cabin air. Though the air is pressurised because of the altitude, it is still substantially weaker than it would be at sea level. 

Fresh Air 

Fresher air, though still not strong enough, can provide a much welcome relief from altitude sickness. The cabin air is freshest in first class, but the rest of us who have to rough it through cattle class should ask for a seat as much in front as possible; the air gets staler as you move backwards.

The Aisle Seat 

People who opt for window seats on short flights, unless they plan to sleep for the duration of the flight and need wall support, never cease to amaze me.

If your idea of a good time is staring blankly into space you have serious entertainment issues. It makes a lot more sense to opt for an aisle seat. Not only will you have more room for movement and stretching your legs, but you can get up and go to the toilet without squeezing through your flight partners' knees.


Because of the effort involved in planning for a trip, booking tickets, hotels, packing etc, passengers travel even if they are slightly unwell. And as the same air keeps circulating in the flight, there is a chance of you picking up germs if your immune system is weak or if you are unwell yourself. Protect yourself with a scarf. 

Dry Air 

Cabin air is very, very dry and you will in all probability feel dehydrated. It is a good idea to carry a bottle of water and keep taking sips throughout your journey. You could, of course, ask for water, but the tiny cups you are served water in will hardly suffice. 

Space Limitations 

If you are travelling long distance, the minute the flight takes off look around for a row of seats that are unoccupied and if you spot it, head for it immediately. There's no point waiting for fifteen minutes to see if anyone sits there. This is not a movie hall. If the seats are unoccupied when the flight takes off, they are going to remain so unless someone else has the same idea. 

Motion Sickness

If you are prone to motion sickness, it is a good idea to take some form of motion sickness drug before boarding the flight. It won't be of much help if you have it after you start feeling sick. Then the next best thing to do would be to throw up. However, spare a thought for your fellow passengers and carry the barf bag, located in the seat pocket ahead, to the toilet. 

Motion sickness is caused partly because of the discrepancy of what the eye sees and what the inner ear feels. So if you can close your eyes for the duration of the flight, you will feel noticeably less sick. 

Ask the flight steward to provide you with cotton wool. This eases the pressure on the inner ear, especially during take off and landing. 


Because of the altitude and the air-conditioning, the temperature in aircrafts tends to be pretty low. Blankets are limited so if you tend to feel cold easily, ask the stewardess for a blanket as soon as you board the flight, or pack a jacket in your hand luggage, which you can put on when you start feeling the chill. 

Ear Plugs 

Even if the noise may not seem like a big deal to you, it is still very much present and wears away at you at a subconscious level, so carry a pair of ear plugs or ask the flight steward to provide you with cotton wool.


Listening to music during the flight can take your mind off the journey. Earphones are usually provided free of cost and you can plug it into the music system located on the armrest of your seat. You could also carry a walkman or discman, but some evidence suggests it interferes with the airplane's signals and you would probably have to turn it off during take-off and landing. Personally, that's enough reason for me to skip using a discman at all during the flight. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be bored than dead. 


Unless you're traveling on an Indian sector which has a high vegetarian population, it's very likely that there may not be adequate vegetarian food. So if you are vegetarian, it's best you inform your travel agent or the airline personnel booking your ticket. In any case, make sure you don't get on that flight hungry. Don't skip a meal with the belief that you'll eat on the flight.


As if the cabin air wasn't dry and dehydrating enough, some bright sparks insist on consuming alcohol during the flight, further worsening their condition. Alcohol is dehydrating, so stay away from it! 

Jet Lag 

Jet lag is basically caused by the difference in time zones, and it's effect on your body's cycle. Its effect is stronger if you fly east and less if you fly west. 

Fear of Flying 

Are you one of those who gets sleepless nights the week preceding your flight? Think about this: 

  1. The pilot is highly skilled and qualified and has undergone years of intensive training before he has reached the cockpit.
  2. In the unlikely event he has a cardiac arrest while flying, there is another pilot on standby who takes over the controls. 
  3. Commercial aircrafts have three engines, so in the extremely rare event that two konk off, there's a third to hold the plane up.
  4. Statistically, the chances of you getting involved in a car accident are far, far higher than being in a plane crash.
  5. The main reason most people are scared of flying is because they know the chances of surviving a crash are slim. You may still not be so scared of traveling by train because you feel that even if there is an accident, there would be survivors, and you just might be one of them.
  6. Similarly, you feel more in control of the situation in a taxi. You could yell at the cabbie to slow down or you'll deck him, but if you waltz to the cockpit and demand that the pilot 'slow down and stick to the right', in all probability you'll be chained to your seat.
  7. You wouldn't think twice before sitting in a taxicab, even though the driver may be drunk, tired, sleepy, in a terrible mood and driving at top speed, a mass murderer - you get the picture. 

So now you have it. Breathe easy, follow these tips and your journey will undoubtedly be less traumatic than usual. Bon voyage!

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