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What to Bring on a Long Flight

Posted: September 21, 2018
What to Bring on a Long Flight

What I really mean is: what to bring on a long flight besides Ambien. Or equivalent, if you're worried Ambien will make you sleepwalk the aisles of the airplane pantsless as the flight attendants try to keep you from devouring the food cart's stash of Almond Roca.

If you're not in Business or First - and sometimes even then - any flight over 2 hours and 30 minutes sucks big doodie (like the one that kid 3 rows back just made in his pants.) In my opinion. However, I can manage not to pop veins in my forehead and begin mapping out a life in which I never set foot on an airplane again as long as the total BIS (butt in seat) time is less than 5 hours.

Beyond that, I need major reinforcements for the flight. Accessories. Amenities. Entertainment. A complimentary upgrade.

Here are my tips on what to bring on a long flight.

Note: Item prices are approximate and listed as they were at printing. Prices are subject to change.

Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose QuietComfort earbuds are the single best travel purchase I've ever made. I almost (almost) enjoy sitting near babies and children on the plane now just because it gives me the opportunity to test out these noise-cancelling bad boys' power.

I've also enjoyed popping them in and flicking the dampener switch on flights with loud snorers, loud talkers, seat mates who sit down ready to tell me all about their life, and pilots who think they're tour guides and abuse the PA system.

Bose also makes over-ear QuietComfort headphones, but I prefer the earbuds for flying because I can sill lean against a pillow or lie forward ear-down on my sweatshirt stacked on top of my coat stacked on top of my backpack stacked on top of my tray table without them smooshing into the side of my head.

Note too that even if you don't have music or a movie to listen to, you can switch on the Bose QuietComfort noise cancelling function and just turn all noise around you from an Alexa 5 down to, like, a 2.

$249 ➠ Amazon

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes

I'm not ashamed to admit my mama got me started on Wet Ones wet wiping down my entire seating area immediately after boarding the plane. She gave me one of these smaller 20-count packs and guilted me into doing it the first time with talk of kids' dried snot on the armrest and layers of unwashed hair grease on the headrest.

And I'm almost sorry to report, after what came off on one of those Wet Ones after the first time, I've used them every time since.

From the tray table to the armrests to the air vent control knob overhead, every single component on an airplane is dirty. Visible dirt dirty. Go ahead and try a wipe-down yourself. See what your Wet One looks like when you're done.

$14 ➠ Amazon

Huzi Infinity Pillow

Huzi Infinity Pillow
Huzi Infinity Pillow

So many Best! Travel! Pillows! to choose from. I used the J-Pillow for years, and like it OK, but there are some definite drawbacks. Mainly that it sometimes falls right out from under my head while I'm sleeping on it. Slippery little sucker.

The Huzi Infinity Pillow, essentially a stuffed scarf, definitely eliminates that problem via making like a noose around your neck. Anywhere it goes, you do too.

Another Huzi plus is the hand hook thing. Some extra space in the pillow to secure you wrists, keeping them comfortably elevated, and also preventing them from wandering into someone else's seat sphere of space.

You can also use a Huzi leaning forward on your tray table (or desk if you use it to power nap at work too) though you'll probably need something elevating underneath it to keep the position from messing up your back.

$39.99 ➠ Amazon

Cabeau Fold 'n' Go Travel Blanket & Case

Cabeau Fold ‘n Go Travel Blanket & Case

Baby Bear would not like the airplane. They're almost always too cold. And when they're not, they're too hot. Use Cabeau's Fold ‘n Go Travel Blanket to help make them just right. And when you don't need to cover up, the blanket folds into its own soft carrying case, which you can use as a neck or lumbar spine pillow.

$19.99 ➠ Amazon

Vanguard Personal Gaming Environment

Vanguard Personal Gaming Environment
Vanguard Personal Gaming Environment

Designed for gamers on the go, the Vanguard's protective hard case houses a 19" LED HD display, a pair of stereo speakers, two 3.5mm stereo headphone jacks, and a placeholder for your favorite gaming console. Well, presuming your favorite gaming console is the Xbox One S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, or PS3.

Maker GAEMS touts its latest personal gaming environment for both its immersive, fully portable gaming, and DVD / streaming media experiences. In addition to the "optimal viewing angles" the system's screen provides, built-in volume and brightness controls further calibrate the interactive journey through game land or film land to your express liking.

Note: The Vanguard PGE will count as the second "small carry-on item" you're allowed, so serious gamers, or those seriously into losing themselves in hours of Sonic Mania Plus during a Transatlantic flight better be ready to make some space.

$299.99 ➠ Amazon

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle

I like to have a water bottle with me on short and long flights for a few reasons. The main one is that my thirst does not always coincide with the beverage cart's presence, and from check-in to boarding to getting up to use the john I'm sick of doing everything on the airline's time. I fill my bottle outside the gate, and I drink when I want.

Or, for longer flights, I wait for the cart to come around and ask the flight attendant to fill my bottle with my beverage of choice (note: this has only worked for me with water and sodie, not vodka.) That way I don't have to choose between chugging my drink or keeping a wide open plastic cup of liquid sitting on my tray table as I doze off, just itching for turbulence or someone's ass to hit it.

Having your own water bottle also obviously allows you to have more water with you, increasing your chances of staying hydrated during the hours-long haul.

I like the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle in particular because it is a master at keeping liquids cold (or hot if you prefer.) An up-to-24-hour master on the cold end (and up to 6 on the hot.) So you can have the flight attendant throw some ice in there too. Or...or...you could buy a little somethin'-somethin' at the duty free and get some mixer from the magazine stand and some ice from the Starbucks, and do your own bathroom stall bartending pre-flight.

Hydro Flasks do come in 40-ounce sizes.

$29.95 to $59.95 ➠ Amazon

FitAir Portable & Wearable Air Purifier

FitAir Portable & Wearable Air Purifier

As character-building as breathing a couple hundred strangers' recycled exhales for half a day is, FitAir's portable air purifier gives you the option not to. And I will one hundred percent find room in my carry-on for the stack cylinders the next time I fly.

I know we all have germs and we all have bodily functions, but if we're all on the same plane we also all have somewhere to go, and who wants to get there all doused and infected with someone else's germs and bodily functions?

The FitAir was designed to cleanse 25 square feet of indoor or outdoor air around you of viruses, smoke, bacteria, allergens, and other harmful microbes. The cylinders come fitted with a medical grade H13 HEPA filter able to remove microbes as small as 0.3 microns, and stave off common allergens including pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites, smoke, and pollution.

The purifier weighs just 5.6 ounces for packing and pulling out anywhere, plus comes with an armband you can split and attach the FitAir to to provide constant filtering while you're walking, cleaning the house, or otherwise on the move.

$99.99 ➠ Amazon

Portable Travel Footrest

Portable Travel Footrest

I used to stuff a wad of clothes I knew I'd need during my trip in my carry-on backpack so that I could use it as a footrest on the plane. But recently I discovered that if I put the overstuffed backpack on my open tray table, and top it with a wadded-up sweatshirt, it makes an even better sleeping wedge (unless its weight breaks the tray table, but luckily that's only happened twice so far), and I'm way more comfortable leaning forward to sleep than I am against the window or, worse, trying to balance against the 2-inch folded-out "wing" of my seat's headrest, and falling off onto the dude next to me.

Anyway, now that I use my backpack as a head bed, I need a new footrest. This hammock-style one with memory foam, which also recruits-and-hopefully-doesn't-break the tray table, is a serious contender.

Soft and cozy, the portable footrest weighs only 7 ounces, and rolls up to the size of just a little more than nothing. More importantly, it has an adjustable length of 17.7" to 23.5", both for people of various heights, and to accommodate 2 different leg-cradling positions: arches of feet down; or calves draped through.

$19.97 ➠ Amazon

Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask

Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask

There are a ton of "high tech" sleep masks out there now claiming eyeball ergonomics and 100% blackout capabilities, but these silk masks from Alaska Bear work just fine for me. They're soft, provide full ocular coverage, and fold up small enough to fit in the tiniest crevice of my backpack carry-on.

Plus, if your long flight is taking you to a romantic destination, a sexy silk sleep mask can do double duty as a sexy silk blindfold while you're there.

$7.99 to $9.99 ➠ Amazon

Portable Armrest Extender & Divider

Portable Armrest Extender & Divider

To put this armrest extender and divider on my airplane seat the next time I fly somewhere do I need the person next to me's permission? I mean, it's not like the Knee Defender, aiding in my comfort at the expense of my neighbor's. These adjustable plastic wings benefit both of us.

Soarigami's Portable Armrest Extender and Divider attempts to settle the battle for the armrest by dividing an existing armrest in half, and then making it bigger on both sides. Slip the center over most armrests ranging from 1-1/2" to 2-3/4" wide, and fold out its side flaps. Flaps are tapered so the extended ledge won't gouge into your side.

$25 ➠ Amazon

Swoveralls Sweatpants Overalls

Swoveralls Sweatpants Overalls
Swoveralls Sweatpants Overalls

Continuing my dedicated and desperate attempts to try to stay comfortable on a lengthy air trip, I've decided pants are out. Because pants have a waistband. And I don't care how forgiving or stretchy or untie-able it says it is, waistbands always manage to turn into straight up gut stranglers as my hours in an airplane seat accrue. Women, they can wear some kind of mumu potato sack dress, but men. Men have only overalls.

No, even better. We have Swoveralls. A hybrid of sweatpants and overalls. A comfy as a onesie, but much, much easier to get off when you need to use the lavatory.

Swoveralls have a deep front bib and side pockets, zip fly closure, side snap closures, jogger cuffs, and adjustable straps. They're also available in women's sizes here.

$85 ➠ Amazon

Avegant Video Headset

Avegant Video Headset

Boldly go where only Geordi La Forge has gone before! Slip on an Avegant Video Headset and press Play on your movies, games, or other HD entertainment. As the visuals roll your eyes will take in a big screen experience, without actually having the big screen - or any screen - in front of you at all.

The Video Headset connects to most smartphones, tablets, drones, and gaming consoles to create an immersive audio and video experience from anywhere. Home. Hotel room in Gary, Indiana. Seat 17A on a flight from New York to LA.

$439 ➠ Amazon
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