Let’s be honest, modern air travel sucks. It’s tedious, it’s inconvenient, and, frankly, it’s just not healthy. So, we’re fond of any tip — no matter how small — that makes flying a little easier. Here are four of our favorite airplane hacks you’ve (probably) never heard of before.
Get the Aisle Seat Room You Deserve
If it seems airplane seats are getting smaller and smaller …. and smaller, it’s not your imagination. Particularly for taller or (ahem) portly gentlemen, seats can be downright impossible to get comfortable in. Thankfully, air travelers with an aisle seat can find a bit of reprieve via a “secret” button. To find it, place your hand on the underside of the outermost armrest and run your fingers to the backside near the hinge. There, you’ll find an obvious button that you probably never knew was there. Push it, and you’re free to position the armrest vertically, flush with your seatback. Voilà! Much to the consternation of your fellow passengers, the entire aisle is now your own personal leg space. Positioning the armrest vertically also makes it easier to get in and out of your seat during bathroom breaks and upon touchdown.
Put an End to Reclining Seats
Reclining seats have long been a hot-button issue among travelers. Whether you’re for or against them, having the passenger in front of you drop his seat into your lap for a six-hour redeye is no fun. Enter the Knee Defender. This patented device is so simple and ingenious, it’s a wonder no one thought of it 20 years ago. It’s sold as a pair of pocket-sized plastic “locks” that mount between your tray table arms and the seatback in front of you. Once in position, they block the person in front of you from reclining his or her seat. Alternatively, you could do the guy a solid and just ask him not to recline. Although, with air rage incidents on the rise, maybe that’s not such a great idea.
Pack a Party in Your Carry-on
Are you a nervous flier? You’ll be happy to know that the TSA surprisingly allows air passengers to pack alcohol in their carry-on bags. There are two caveats, however. Since they are liquids, the bottles must follow the 3-oz rule — trust us, you can still pack quite a bit of booze in a quart-sized bag. The other, more troubling catch is that you’re not technically allowed to consume any alcohol that isn’t served by a flight attendant. However, you’re also not “allowed” to cut the tags off your mattresses … some people choose to live on the edge.
Hang Your Headphones
We’ll assume you’re not the sort of hotshot that travels with $300 noise-canceling headphones (although you should), and that earbuds suit you just fine. If the tray table latch connected to the seat has the common J-shaped hook, fold your earbud cable in half and loop the entire bundle into the hook. It isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it could save you from an impossibly tangled mess of headphone wires. The standard iPhone buds fit quite nicely, and it’s an easy way to keep them knot-free without stuffing them in the seat pocket in front of you.
When you’re ready to tune out, treat yourself to this travel playlist:
- Gifts for Travelers: 10 Under-$50 Goods for the Globetrotter
- 4 Minimalist Backpacks Designed to Tackle the Trail and the Streets
- Will Flying Cars Ever Really Happen? (Hint: They Already Have)
- 4 Best Lightweight Backpacks That Will Comfortably Fit All Your Gear
- Best Travel Accessories to Survive a Long-Haul Flight