Your ticket is booked, your seat is selected, and you’re packing your bags for upcoming travels. But will you be flying in comfort? That doesn’t mean a premium class. Here are a few things we do and pack to help make flying and arriving more comfortable.

What to do when booking your flight

A seat is not a seat is not a seat on airplanes. And do not rely on the airline or gate agents to choose the “best” or most comfortable seat or one you personally feel more at ease in. They are just going to slot you in wherever. We rely on SeatGuru.com to help us see what seats may have drawbacks, are near lavatories or the galley, or are bulkheads and exit rows. As soon as you book a flight, do not hesitate to check on seats and move yourself around. And you can keep doing that as your travel day nears, too. These days of course some airlines charge fees for what they consider a “premium” seat, such as a window or exit row, but that won’t stop you from picking what else you like.

HITT Tip: Always avoid a row that has an exit row behind it since the seats may not recline as much (or maybe at all) to allow for emergency exiting. And although bulkheads on long-haul flights may seem ideal, remember that is where they hang cribs for babies. If you choose a bulkhead or a seat nearby, you may end up with a crying baby next to you for way too many hours.

What to carry along with you

Travel comfort gear is essential since airlines have trimmed every last corner possible. Take a look at our travel comfort gear story to find out what we suggest and what we take along.

Aside from the comfy items like pillows and eye shades, as we discussed in that story, mentioned above, we have a few other tips about what to slip in your carry-on.

A tea bag of your favorite brew. Therese always has an extra mint tea bag in her carry-on. Black tea doesn’t get it if your throat is scratchy or you are feeling chilled.

An empty compact water bottle or flask. Airline attendants aren’t necessarily as, well, attendant as they use to be. So pack along a compact water carrier and either fill it once you get past security or have the attendant fill it on his or her first pass. Airplane air is dry, and keeping yourself hydrated will always help you avoid allowing germs to nest. Carrying along a refillable container also avoids all that junk plastic! Then you can also use it at your destination.


Hand sanitizer and cleansing moist towelettes. With all the germs floating about, it never hurts to wipe down tabletops, arm rests and controls, or use hand sanitizer before and after eating or using the restroom.


HITT Tip: You have to be constantly vigilant about germs, but not obsessive of course. Take a look at a list of tips in our story, Travel hacks for fighting germs in public places.

Hand lotion and lip balm. This may be a girl thing, since Michael doesn’t seem to care, but Therese LOVES her tiny little tube of lotion and a tube of lip balm in her pocket on a flight or on travel. And she uses them constantly. Especially the hand lotion after using the hand sanitizer!


Toothbrush, dental floss or other toiletry items. These choices are personal. Some people really feel just icky if they don’t brush their teeth. And have you ever had anything stuck between your teeth you can’t get it? Tiny dental floss packets to the rescue! Consider what will help you travel in comfort.


Snacks and munchies. Meals too are at a premium these days on flights and, even if available, they may be overpriced junk food boxes. So you think your flight is so short you won’t need a nibble? We have been stuck in delayed situations, even in airplanes or waiting on tarmacs, where finding a snack isn’t possible. Oh, and there was the time the plane’s food delivery didn’t show up! Yes, it can happen. Michael doesn’t like it when Therese tries to chew off his arm. So she always has a snack bar or other small item at the minimum in her carry on. Choose good quality energy, perhaps even with some protein. Fruit may sound healthy but doesn’t often travel so well. Smooshed brown banana anyone?


HITT Tip: If you take a granola or energy bar, avoid ones with chocolate or other coatings. They can melt en route and that gets a tad messy.

Dressing the part for flying in comfort

Wear comfortable clothes. No, that doesn’t mean your jammies, oh please. A little decorum when flying in comfort is still nice – and frankly you are likely to be treated better without those silly rubber clogs and pajama pants on. Still, wear pants (check out our story Best Travel Pants: What We Wear and Why) or maybe a skirt that you love – ones with stretch and that don’t bind in all the wrong places. Also, ones that preferably don’t demand a non-stretch belt, and that have a pocket or two you can access while seated (to stash any necessities or keep your phone nearby).


Wear comfortable footwear. Same goes for footwear. Slip-on shoes are dandy for getting through security or leaning over to free your feet easily during the flight without shoving your face into your neighbor’s lap. Forget heels or awkward- fitting shoes. Low heels make transitions between flights or to and from the airport much more comfortable, too, especially if you have to run – we have in fact caught flights we perhaps should not have because we were able to move very quickly between gates.


HITT Tip: Do get up and walk around if at all possible during a flight. That will keep your feet from swelling. And when in your seat, do lift your legs, stretch them out, roll your ankles and do other basic circulation-promotion moves to ensure you also arrive in comfort.

Pack a smile. No, really.

OK, this may sound trite, but really, it is true. Do pack a smile, a good attitude and a little patience. Flight attendants and other personnel will be nicer to you if you are nicer to them. Avoid being that demanding wench or curmudgeon you would hate – those people with permanent frowns and grumbles that definitely have not planned for a comfortable flight. Go with the flow and breathe deeply, especially in today’s world of flying, and you’ll be much more likely to be flying in comfort!