Long plane flights can sometimes feel like a prison sentence when it comes to plane anxiety. Even without the extra added stress of feeling anxious on a flight, most people get a bit antsy and restless when they're sitting in a cramped seat for ten hours or more. While nothing can fully take away the flight frustration that comes with being stuck in one place for hours at a time, there are some things that can pass the time a little more smoothly.

Even if travelers only commit to one of these things, they're sure to make a flight slightly easier. If nothing else, they'll prepare a traveler both mind and body when it's time to buckle that seatbelt for lift-off.

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Before The Flight Even Begins, Splurge On The Lounge

It can be an expensive option but when it comes to sitting in an uncomfortable waiting room seat vs. a luxe lounge (complete with WiFi and snacks), the choice is obvious. The airport has these executive lounges available for a reason and fliers do not need to be executives - or anything close - in order to take advantage of them. A swipe of a credit card can gain travelers entrance into some of the most elite lounges in the airport, and if you've got frequent flier miles, those can sometimes be used, too.

In some airports, lounges will allow guests simply because they have a specific card (such as American Express, which is the most popular), or for a fee. In exchange, travelers can look forward to:

  • Comfortable, private seating with personal workspaces
  • Vending machines, food vendors, or a bar
  • Restrooms belonging strictly to the lounge area
  • Free WiFi, complimentary coffee or tea, and even free snacks

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Avoid Sleeping On Shorter Flights, Bring On The Zzz's During Longer Ones

The reason that sleep should be avoided on shorter flights is that when a person goes lights-out, the human body does not automatically regulate pressure. This means that taking a nap on a short flight is a surefire way to wake up with clogged or popped ears, which can be painful and will definitely be uncomfortable. Therefore, if the flight is shorter than the length of a nap, it's best to keep one's eyes open and chew gum or drink water to maintain relatively normal ear pressure.

During longer flights, there's less chance of a passenger sleeping through take-off or landing, which means a nap might be just what's in order. This is quite possibly the best way to pass the time besides watching a movie or TV show, and these are some tips to get there:

  • Pack some earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to drown out the noise.
  • Create a sleepy playlist prior to boarding the plane to help lull you off to sleep (rain or ocean sounds are great for this).
  • Read a book to help get the brain and eyes tired enough to fall asleep.
  • Pack some chamomille tea in your carry-on and ask for hot water from the flight attendant.
  • Pack your coziest layers, beanie hat, fuzzy socks, and comfy shoes, along with a neck pillow, to optimize comfort.

Pack A Podcast And Stay Awake From Sugary Drinks

The combination of carbonation and air pressure usually isn't a good one. While it doesn't happen to everyone, in some cases, carbonated drinks can lead to painful gas that's only intensified due to the rising air pressure in the cabin of the plane. Therefore, any soda or tonic drinks should be avoided. Sugary drinks will only serve to dehydrate a traveler while also keeping them awake - which can be bad for anxiety. The best option is water, which is free, and in high supply on planes; just ask the flight attendant.

For those who can't fall asleep on planes (and there are definitely those of us who are incapable), a podcast is most certainly the way to go. Sometimes, it's nice to just zone out or close our eyes while listening to the soothing voice of an audio episode that we love. A week or two before the flight, be sure to avoid listening to any new podcasts, saving them for the time spent on the flight. Or, if there are no podcasts currently in the rotation, take some time to find one! There's truly a podcast for everyone and even if it takes some time to find one that's enjoyable or interesting, it's worth it. If nothing else, passengers can create an in-flight playlist that has soothing or distracting songs.

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