Conde Nast Traveler
It’s no secret that a long flight in coach can test the nerves and torture the body of even the most seasoned traveler. But I find that a few small accessories—well worth the space they occupy in my carry-on bag—can boost my comfort, and reduce my stress level, considerably. Even with these six little luxuries, you won’t mistake your seat for first-class, but every little bit helps.
THE INFLATABLE KOMFORT KOLLAR
I’ve used many a neck pillow in my day, and my favorite is the Komfort Kollar because it consumes the least space and weighs practically nothing. You inflate it (with a few deep breaths), wrap it around your neck, and fasten with a Velcro strap. It completely surrounds your neck, protecting it no matter what position you get twisted into, especially if your head drops forward while you’re dozing.
COCOON COOLMAX TRAVEL BLANKET
When I’m flying to a cold-weather destination, I carry a pashmina, which I use as a blanket on board and as a scarf upon arrival. If I’m bound for warm climes, however, I carry the compact, lightweight, moisture-wicking Cocoon blanket. It’s as soft as silk pajamas and as warm as flannels.
LUXE SELF-INFLATING SEAT CUSHION
I carry this in the outside pocket of my carry-on wheelie and move it to my airline seat pocket before shoving the wheelie into the overhead bin. Twist the valve and, as if by magic, the cushion fills with air. Sitting on it keeps your legs, hips, and butt from cramping (by taking pressure off your spine) and makes you feel like you’re suspended on a cloud. A few caveats for those who are tall or large: Since the cushion elevates you two to three inches, your seat belt may fit a little more snugly, the in-seat headrest may be poorly aligned (if you pull the wings of the headrest forward, they’ll hit your shoulders instead of your neck), and it may be tough to use a laptop comfortably .
AVIATOR LAPTOP STAND
The taller you are, the harder it is to use your laptop when the seat in front of you is reclined. Even when it’s not reclined, you have to slump down in your seat, slide your legs forward, and contort your lower spine just to see what you’re typing. Take it from me, the position can be excruciating. The laptop stand raises the screen about three inches. It takes five seconds to assemble, and when disassembled, the thin plastic pieces just slide into your laptop bag. Warning: Because the stand’s risers extend toward you from the tray table, how well it will work for you depends on how large your belly is.
IN-FLIGHT REFRESHING FACIAL MIST
Every couple of hours during the flight, I’ll spray this hydrating mist—which I bought at a gift shop in Terminal 4 of New York’s JFK—on my face. It cools and soothes the skin by moistening it, and it revives me thanks to the tingly sensation and reinvigorating aromas.
CUCUMBER EYE PADS
Along with artifical-tears lubricant eye drops, these moist, disposable eye pads cool, refresh, and wake up my tired eyes after overnight flights. You’re supposed to leave them on for 10 to 15 minutes, so, when the plane is descending and I’m forced to switch off my electronics, I place them on my eyes for the final 15 minutes before landing, so I can walk off the plane feeling human again.
For information on where you might purchase any of the above items, check out Conde Nast Traveler.