Flying on a plane is an adventure many of us must undergo to get where we want to go. Here’s how to make that adventure less stressful, so that you can focus on what really matters — the adventures of client meetings and vacation getaways that await you back on the ground.
Tip #1: Buy your plane ticket 70 days before trip
You cannot always plan for when you need to fly, but when you do have a choice, it’s better to plan with more than two months’ notice. If you don’t want to get shortchanged by airlines’ fluctuating prices, a survey found that you need that two-month cushion to find the best deal.
An analysis of 917 million airfares by CheapAir.com found that fliers get the best deals if they book their U.S. domestic flight 70 days before departure. The prime booking window is three weeks to four months in advance. “Fares average within 5% of their lowest here, and you’re most likely to see a cheap fare pop up,” the survey states.
If you choose to wait and see, buyer beware: prices can spike up hundreds of dollars. CheapAir found that fliers spend an average of $208 more if they wait until the last week to buy a flight.
Tip #2: Choose a window seat to stay healthy
Once you have your plane tickets, your ordeal has only just begun. Where you sit on a plane can determine whether or not you get sick after your flight.
Charles Gerba, an environmental microbiologist who studies where germs populate on surfaces like planes, recommends choosing the safety of a window seat over an aisle seat.
“The aisle,” Gerba told Wired, “is where they get ya.” Aisle seats are where your odds of being exposed to infectious carriers rise. Passengers put their diseased hands on your aisle seat to steady themselves. Sick crew members and passengers will need to walk by you.
As a flyer who prefers a window seat whenever possible, I am vindicated by the finding that backs up why it is the superior choice.
Tip #3: Bring your own water and avoid the bathroom at all costs
In general, airplanes can be cesspools of germs waiting to infect you with a disease. One hot spot where they like to congregate is in the bathroom. Avoid at all costs. Do not wash your hands with the water or use it to brush your teeth. Pack your own bottled water.
When the Wall Street Journal tested the water from the galley and lavatory taps on 14 different flights, they found “a long list of microscopic life … from Salmonella and Staphylococcus to tiny insect eggs.”
Tip #4: Don’t fly with makeup on
If you need to be camera-ready when you land, consider waiting until after the flight to don makeup. Beauty expert Eva Chen says that flying makeup-free is one of her “skin commandments” because airplane air sucks the moisture out of our skin.
As she puts it, “Zero percent humidity = crazy dehydration = micro fissures in skin = baking makeup into your pores.”
So for all you jet-setters out there, remember to plan with time, sit in a window seat, and stay put as you sip bottled water. Safe and healthy travels!