Advice for flying

Apr 2nd, 2007, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 384
As someone who can never, ever sleep on any aircraft (Ambien makes absolutely zero difference) along with good books I take along word finds and other puzzle-type books. Flights from where we live to London are about ten hours.
travel2live is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,134
Some airlines have an Economy+ class that has more room. The only one I've experienced is British Air; it has footrests that lift your feet. That makes it easier for me to sleep and lessens the swelling in my feet.
Mimar is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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No - You're squashed in just like on every other plane.

Likely all seats will be taken and there will be several families with small (often irritating) children.

The food is just as bad.

And the toilets are worse - since the flight is longer and everyone (even the piggies) use them. DO NOT enter without shoes.

You will miss most of a night's sleep - unless you're a good sleeper.

Take lots of things to read and bring you own snacks and water.

The flight will be close to hell - but it's worth it to get to europe - and the only choice is paying many times as much for business or first seats.

(Caveat: I haven;t flown coach international in more than 10 years - but from what I can see behind the curtains it's worse than ever - due to almost every flight being completely full.)
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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...the flight will be close to hell...

Oh the drama! There are good suggestions here about walking and drinking water, reading and watching the movie. I mean, you'll be sitting on a plane for 6 or 7 hours and then maybe changing planes for another 2 hours depending on how you planned it, but barring some kind of medical condition, a very tall stature, or a Huge Butt it's not like you're being tortured. Maybe OP could work up to it gradually, do a coast-to-coast or equivalent. Or spring for the bz class.

Was this part of the April Fool's group of threads?
Fidel is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,300
What if she/he is tall and also has a big butt...then I ask you, what? Oh, the horror!
Curt is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 11:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 67
Thank you everyone for your advice. Fidel, were you asking about the different responses to my question or the whole "advice for flying" thread in general? I have over a year to decide so maybe I'll take a trip to either California or Nevada before then or just take the flight to Italy and take the different advice that has been posted here. I guess what a few people said is correct: I'll be so excited to finally see Italy that the long plane ride will be over before I know it.
spb825 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
The last 2 flights with Continental, I felt I had more room in the coach flying overseas compare to domestic. Also over the pond I had my personal TV screen in front of me, so I could see where the plane is (on a map!).
FainaAgain is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Well I don't consider it "hell" because it is worth it to me to get to Europe. But as a person who has never slept, not a wink, on a plane... it's one heckuva long flight.

Fortunately the airlines know this and are good to you. I can only speak to British Air but they give you a little travel pack, headphones, blanket and pillow, have seat-back screens playing rotating movies and TV shows, serve decent food a couple times, etc. etc.

I prefer an aisle seat for the "freedom" and extra room it allows on a long flight. If you can actually sleep you might prefer a window.
suze is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 591
Taking a trip across this continent isnít the same is flying overseas. Whole different atmosphere.

It is surprising, like some of the other posters have said, how quickly the time goes by even if you can't sleep. There are plenty of things to watch or listen to on the onboard entertainment system, plus what you've brought along--a book, puzzles, or whatever interests you.

nytraveler is a little harshóyes, most of those things can happen, and more, but not only in coach. I donít know why, but I often get bumped up so Iíve plenty of experience of all the classes. Itís gotten so Iím disappointed when coach class isnít full!

However, if youíre prepared, and you will be if your early request for advice before your trip next year is any indication, none of it is unbearable.

Not only might there be screaming kids in coach but there can also be loud, chatty businessmen slumming it in the cattle car section so they can talk and booze at the back of the plane and not disturb their sleeping upperclass fellow travelers. So, take earplugs and eyeshades if you want to sleep. Works for me.

As for the toiletsósometimes they can be awful, sometimes not. On my last flight in business class both toilets had pee all over the floor and the toilet seats, and the counters and sinks were a disaster zone, so I used the ones in the cattle car which were immaculate. Iím beginning to notice a pattern of boozy businessmen (not picking on men, just havenít seen any women in the same condition) and disgusting toilets.

Donít worry about the food; it has improved tremendously over the last few years and I find most of the time it is tasty and has never been inedible except for one time when I was in first class; the second worst meal I ever had was a couple of years ago in business class.

evecolorado is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 01:39 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 243
I would suggest making sure you have at least one stop in your flight. While I personally prefer non-stop, this might be a good comprimise. The flight from NY to Amsterdam seemed about the same as from NY to LA. You could fly to London or Amsterdam, layover for a few hours to stretch your legs, etc and then continue. With that said.... see the thread about only taking carry-on!
BarbaraJ is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Do not do a one-stop if you can fly non-stop. First, an US East Coast - London/Amsterdam/Paris flight is already too short to get enough sleep. [Unless one takes a day flight, which is another matter.] Further, why mess with going through connection, airport security, and increase your chance of mis-connection and lost bags, just to stretch your leg? By the time you go board your other flight you can be in Italy already.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Leg room in coach isn't usually a problem for me, though it can be for my long-legged husband. Because his knees will often be pressed up against the seat in front, he walks the aisles a lot. We joke about him "walking" to England or China or wherever we are going. It works out O.K., though, because I put in my earplugs and sleep like a log, he wakes me up as the plane is getting ready to land (don't wake me for breakfast!), and then I'm fresh and rested and can shepherd him through that first zombie day until bedtime.

I like an aisle seat. I find there really isn't much advantage trying to lean up against the side of the plane to sleep--it can be very cold and vibrates enough to keep my pillow continually slipping. Train yourself to sleep on your back (if you don't already) and that helps you sleep sitting up on the plane. Also, an aisle seat means you don't sit with a full bladder not wanting to disturb the sleeping person(s) between you and the aisle. And if you can't sleep, it's easy to get up and walk around, again without disturbing your seatmates. It is also easier to get up and out if the folks in front of you have their seats fully reclined, as they most likely will.

If you are going with a companion, and the plane is configured 3 seats--aisle--3 seats--aisle--3 seats, request aisle/aisle in the same row in the middle section towards the rear (but not all the way back) of the plane. The advice to look at SeatGuru to avoid the worst seats is seconded. As the airlines usually assign seats from front to back, and people don't like sitting in the middle between strangers, you may well get lucky and not have anyone in that middle seat. If someone is given the middle seat, they most likely will be very happy to have one of you trade seats with them so they have an aisle seat. You can also try this with window/aisle but I've found that sometimes the airlines won't do window/aisle if you both have the same last name.

evecolorado is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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If the OPP is squashed on a 2 hour ride - s/he will be much more so on a 6/7 hour ride.

And tolerance is not directed just to size - I'm only 5'9", but have long legs - and if I'm in coach I MUST have an aisle seat - so I can put my feet in the aisles. Then everyone falls over them. Also - I get up at least every couple of hours for a walk around the plane (not just for health reasons - I just can;t sit in one place for that long - my bottom becomes paralyzed and my back stiff.)

Now I must admit when I was 20 I thouhg nothing of all this. But after so many trips - although I'm excited about the vacation I HATE the flights unless I can get the sleeper beds.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 662
I flew home from Paris in United's Economy Plus and it WAS roomier. I did not pay more nor did I ask for it. I do have a MileagePlus number though. It is my understanding that if they do not sell those seats they give them away at the gate. from the responses it sounds like you won't be on United, but I thought I throw this out anyway. In the dozen or so trips I have taken to Europe---all in economy and on eight different carriers, none have been too great, but it would NEVER have stopped me from going!!!!!JUST GO and get an ambien prescription for good measure!!!!
wondering is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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GranthamMommyís suggestion to go to bed earlier for a few days before your flight is a very good one. It seems strange getting up in the wee small hours of the morning, but it really does help get you adjusted to the time zone you will be in much quicker, and also to fall asleep on the plane if you are taking an overnight flight.

If you are planning on taking your own water onto the plane, you won't be allowed to take it through security. Even empty bottles over 3 oz are not allowed through. When you have passed through security and are in the international area, go to a food stand or one of the shops and buy water. This bottle, no matter the size, is allowed on-board. Be prepared for sticker shock.

If you have a layover and need to go through another security, the same scenario--toss the bottle and buy another after security. It's no good trying to take any liquid from that first plane onto the next, it'll be confiscated. Doesn't make sense, but that's the way it is.

I've been fortunate in never having the water run out on a flight and I've found the attendants are happy to give me as much to drink as I request. I'll ask for an orange juice and a bottle of fizzy water the first time they come around with the cart, then refill the bottle with water and ice to sip on during the "night", that way I don't have to wake up enough to ring for an attendant--just reach into the seat pocket in front of me.

Here is the tsa website with current regulations: This may change before you take your trip.

Check your airline's website close to departure date to see what their current baggage and carryon regulations are. It does vary from airline to airline, especially domestic vs international airlines. The airline we are taking next month (EuroFlyUSA from JFK) only allows one piece of carry-on with a maximum weight of 11 lbs., even flying from the U.S. to Italy, while other airlines allow more.
evecolorado is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 8
I have read that keeping caffeine to a minimum is a good idea. Do this for a few days before the flight, and during the sky-time. Combined with everything else the flying will be easier, as will the jet lag.
saguarorose is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 257
Saguaro Rose,
I am glad to hear you are staying awake in case you have to take over for the pilot. That is one task I can now cross off my list. I can now stay awake and devote my entire attention to keeping the plane in the air. This particular law of aerodynamics ensures there is a steady flow of air to the engines. I think Bernoulli discovered this principle, but I have improved upon it as I also employ it to avoid disastrous collisions with icebergs while airborne.

We fly out of S.F. so our flights are looong. I usually prefer to go non-stop to get the whole ordeal over with. However, the last time we went to Rome we had a stop over in Frankfurt. Although this didn't reduce inter-continental airtime, it did brighten my mood as this is such a nice, clean airport, with just the right amount of shopping for a brief stay. It was great to have a walk to get the blood moving and the kinks out and a chance to clean up a bit. We arrived in Rome in good spirits and ready to go.
specs is offline  

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