I am lucky enough to fly quite a lot. As travel is now a big part of my job, being able to up and go and be on a plane a week after receiving an email is something that I am not only eternally grateful for, but something that I just have to be able to do - the stressy Sally part of my brain has a total meltdown, but on the whole, I'm OK, I survive - but I am totally aware that this isn't always the case. And even frequent flyers still struggle a lot but they have to do so to get to wherever they need to be.
As someone that has now fallen in love with flying - this is an actual thing, I shit you not - I wanted to share with you some of my tips for making a flight as stress free and easy as possible as I honestly think that flying should - or at least could - be something that you could all enjoy. After all, it's a solid [however many hours you're travelling] where you can just shut off the world, chill or be productive, and generally just "BYE FELICIA" to normal life. And I'm all about doing that.
FIND AN AIRLINE YOU TRUST
So my first tip would undoubtedly be to find an airline you trust. Whether it's one that you've been with before or one that comes highly recommended, knowing that everything will be looked after and taken care of immediately takes a weight off of my shoulders and allows me to relax a little more. On a recent trip to Florida - which was bloody amazing - I flew with Norwegian on the London Gatwick to Orlando route (which operates all year round) in Premium and it was a total, total dream. Right from the lounges that you can chill in pre-flight, full of delicious complimentary food and drinks and a really lovely and calm atmosphere (perfect for anyone that finds the whole airport experience nerve wracking), to the on board experience which was second to none.
Norwegian is the only low cost, long haul airline with direct flights to the US and I think sometimes when you hear "budget" or "affordable", it's easy to think that quality of flight/service will reflect the price. This couldn't be any further from the truth with Norwegian, everything was totally seamless. The service was spot on, the plane itself (seating, tv screens etc.) was really very premium and the food was actually bloody good. I repeat, plane food that was actually super tasty! In Premium you get extra legroom - 46 inches - which is a total dream as this 5"8 giant needs all the help she can get, complimentary drinks, dinner, inclusive luggage, fast track security (believe me guys, this makes you feel like a Kardashian [insert sassy girl emoji here]) and access to select airport lounges.
But that's not to say that you have to fly premium, Norwegian Economy is also really incredibly comfortable too. Fares start from £179 one way in economy and £499 one way in Premium. So if you're looking to fly abroad, I really couldn't recommend Norwegian enough.
PREPAREFor me, feeling comfortable and calm is all about the preparation. Once my flights are booked and ready to go I like to make sure I have all documentation at the ready as soon as possible - yes I am one of those annoying people that has a million pieces of paper at all times [insert cry laughter/“but I’m helpful, right?” emojis here]. So plan your route to the airport, make sure you’ve given yourself plenty of time - factor in delays because hello, this is life/transport - check in early and chill out in duty free. Preferably with a large glass of wine/beer/[insert your own choice of I’M OFF ON HOLIDAY BITCHES beverage here].
ENTERTAINMENTI used to dread flying because my worst nightmare is being bored and omg there is nothing worse than having no TV/Plug sockets/any form of entertainment. On a long haul flight especially, I hit the entertainment stick at all angles. I will have; a book (or two), my diary/notebook so I can plan work/life, my laptop because plane time for me is work time - I’m actually writing this on the way back from Crete - because there is something about being cut off from the world that is magically productive. I usually have a couple of Grey’s Anatomy’s loaded and ready to go (because if Derek Shepherd can’t see you through turbulence then who can? - whatever keeps you entertained, get it ready to go.
Down a bottle of wine and some sleeping tablets
Just kidding…. No really, I 100% don’t advise this for anyone, but if a glass of red will help you drop off into the land of nod then why the hell not?
THE IN FLIGHT PAMPER ROUTINESo this may not be for everyone, but personally I am a fan of a good in flight pamper routine (my guilty pleasure is using sheet masks and terrifying the life out of fellow passengers #sorrynotsorry). I’m not talking a solid hour long spa session but I am talking a quick cleanse, a long ole face mask and a big fat injection of moisturisation. My current favourite quick but ridiculously effective routine consists of the Clinique Take the day off balm (how cute is this mini by the way?) which is one of my all time favourite cleansers for removing makeup/cleansing whilst leaving your skin silky smooth and hydrated. Followed by the Garnier Moisture bomb sheet masks which yes look terrifying, but left on for 20 minutes or so, completely make a difference to my skin. It leaves your face looking bright, plump and totally nourished… it’s basically everything you need on a hydration zapping flight. I follow off my basic but oh so dreamy routine with the Elemis pro collagen marine cream which I think may be my all time favourite moisturiser (HOLD THE PHONE, HOLD THE PHONE, THIS IS BIG NEWS), and I say this because I have left it in my travel bag now for over 6 weeks using it on 5 different trips and I am still not at all bored/wanting to try any of my new goodies. It smells incredible, it leaves your skin feeling like silk and I honestly think that it’s in the best condition that it’s ever been right now. Which is hilariously ironic as my travel schedule really should be leaving it like a dried up, shrivelled prune.
BE COMFORTABLEI have come to realise now (a casual 14 flights into 2017 alone) that nobody frickin cares what you look like on a plane so get your comfy clothes on and say Bye Felicia to looking chic/put together in any way, shape, or form. If you’re not wearing a tracksuit/hoody/some form of Pyjama like outfit then you are do travel all wrong my friend!
ALERT THE STAFFOn our Norwegian flight, the staff couldn’t have been any more friendly and helpful, especially considering that I am the awkward coeliac with a million questions in regards to the food being gluten free and all of them were beyond helpful. So if you’re really nervous, alert a air hostess and just let them know that you’re nervous/slightly panicky and from my experience, they will always go out of their way to make sure you’re doing OK/to see if they can move you to somewhere with a little more space etc.
GO WITH A TRAVEL BUDDY
If possible, travel with someone you know well that can make you feel better/calmer. There's nothing worse than being around someone you don't know too well and being scared on your own so buddy up and giggle your way through the nerves.
THINK OF THE DESTINATIONFinally, because I know that no amount of tips can help some people (for example, I am currently sat next to a lady who has yelped every time the seat belt sign has gone on and off, hyperventilated twice and screamed out loud many times), sometimes you just gotta think of the destination and remember that it’s all worth it in the end.
So those are my top tips for nervous flyers, I really really hope it helped even 1 of you as I honestly couldn't imagine how difficult my life would be if I struggled to fly. The world is such a blimmin beautiful place that we should never let the fear of flying stop us from discovering it.
I'd love to know if you've travelled Norwegian before? What are your top tips for nervy flyers?
As always, thanks so much for reading!
I flew Norwegian as part of an incredible press trip which they hosted. All thoughts and love of babe'in airlines, my own.