More often than not, when airplane passengers are asked how their journey was, they begin describing a torturous never ending journey from hell that’ll make the one asking the question wonder what it is about flying thousands of feet in the air while seated on a comfortable chair that’s so wretched. The fact of the matter is that commercial airlines have tried to optimize the aircraft to improve the flying experience for passengers to an achievable extent. However, there is only so much that engineers can do to bring comfort to passengers in a pressurized steel can thousands of feet in the sky. There are however a few ways to go about the most commonly occurring complaints air travelers make. Here are a few tips and preventative measures to make your flying experience better.
- Work your legs when you can:Increasing altitude signals decreasing air pressure which means airplanes have to be pressurized to lower its air pressure so that it’s equal to the external air pressure. This is necessary for the airplane’s structural integrity; however it can take a toll on our bodies. Passengers can experience cramps because of elongated exposure to low air pressure which can lower our body’s oxygen levels. It is recommended to walk up and down the aisles to work your legs and promote blood flow.
- Lay off alcohol and cigarettes:Deep vein thrombosis can take place in decreased air pressure and causes blood to start coagulating inside small veins, usually the legs. The blocked vein prevents oxygen or blood from reaching a particular part of body, causing pain. If you’re drinking alcohol or like to smoke, lay off. As these only add fuel to fire by dehydrating you faster and depleting oxygen levels.This can be prevented by standing up or walking every now and then to promote blood flow, encourage oxygen deficiency and fight fatigue.
- The Valsalva maneuver:Popping ears is a common occurrence amongst passengers and happens due to the rapid change in air pressure of the flight cabin as it descends from the sky to the ground for landing. Our ears respond to this changing pressure by the opening and closing of the Eustachian tubes which accounts for the popping sound we experience. It’s important to stay awake when you land so you can prevent this from happening by eating, chewing, yawning or swallowing. If this doesn’t work, use the Valsalva maneuver, which calls for shutting your mouth close, pinching your nose and exhaling forcefully.
- Stay hydrated:According to the Association of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, air humidity in between 30-64% is optimum for humans. Humidity can drop to 2% in an aircraft causing mouth and nose dryness. If your flight is longer, this can cause headaches, susceptibility to infections, dizziness and dehydration. Try going on crowded flights, the collective expired moisture from passengers will play a significant role in maintaining cabin humidity to comfortable levels or better yet board with a water bottle with you if possible. A good indication of checking if you’re well hydrated is to check if your lips are smooth, if not, drink up!