Everyone knows that taking a plane can be more than a bit stressful. Whether it’s a quick, short flight for vacation or a long one for work with connecting flights all the way there, taking a plane isn’t always easy. However, there are tips, tricks, and accommodations you can take advantage of before, during, and after the flight in order to make your trip less painful. You may or may not know that it’s a good idea to chew gum as the plane ascends or descends to avoid your ears popping and that if you’re going to buy water or snacks for the trip then you should do it after you’re past TSA, preferably from a vending machine as they’ll be cheaper than the stores.
There are also plenty of accommodation options the airport provides meant to make your trip easier if not better. The next time you have to take a flight, it might be worth looking into whether your airport, or any of the airports you’ll end up at if you have to take multiple flights, offers a few of the services listed in order to make your trip a more enjoyable experience.
This option may be more common in international and major airports, but it’s still worth a check to see if you’ll run across one on your journey when planning your trip. An airport that you’re traveling through may have one or more sleep stations that can offer a better alternative to sleeping across a row of empty airport seats or trying to wait until you’re on the plane to try and catch some shut-eye. If you have a long layover or your flight has been delayed by several hours, you can alleviate some of your stress and weariness by getting some much-needed rest at one of these sleep stations. Many people try to arrive at the airport early, so catching up on any rest you decided to forgo at a sleep station can be a great way to fill up any extra time you have.
Of course, the way airports are set up is different from place to place. Some airports have private pods with beds that can be rented for sleeping for a set period of time, likely a few hours before you’re on your way again. On the other hand, if there’s a major delay then there are even airports that have sleep hotels or are affiliated with nearby hotels where you can rent a private room for a few hours of sleep.
Traveling can take time, from hours to days to weeks. Granted, you may not need weeks to get to where you’re going if you’re going by plane, but you could be stuck traveling for a few days at most. As a result, if you’re actively religious you could end up traveling on a day of worship, and an airport isn’t really the place to hold religious meetings to try and make up for it.
Luckily, many airports have prayer rooms that are open to worshippers of different faiths whenever they need them. Some airports even have mini chapels, synagogues, and mosques that cater to people of specific religions. If you choose to visit one of these worship centers, you may even be able to attend a formal service that’s led by a clergy member who works on-site and consults with this spiritual leader for further guidance.
Even if you’re not actively religious, you may feel better before getting on a plane by having a quiet place to pray. On the other hand, you may need a break from the chaotic buzz of travel. A prayer room would be a great place to sit in peace and quiet until you’re ready to move on.
When you reach your destination, you won’t have to worry about renting a car if you take advantage of the airport’s ground transportation services. Shuttle services are available to take you to a hotel, a local point of interest, or even your own home. Some airports also have bus, train, and tram stops as well as subway stations that provide easy access to the main cities.s
If you are anxious about flying or just want to spend time with a furry friend before your flight, your airport may have therapy dogs on-site that can sit with you to help. In the US, 37 airports have started a program that allows volunteers to bring these therapy dogs to certain airports and let travelers interact with them. Gentle, friendly dogs of different sizes and breeds that do well around strangers are used in these programs to comfort passengers and take some of the stress out of traveling. If an airport you’re traveling through offers this program, you can often find the therapy dog and their handler in a more open area of the airport. Often, this will be a gate where people can choose to come and interact with the dog.
The next time you have to travel by plane, it might be worth looking into whether you can take advantage of the services listed here, or any other accommodations there might be in order to make your trip easier. If you allow yourself enough time before catching your flight, or you find yourself waiting on a new or connecting flight, you might have time to explore some of these services that can make your trip even more worthwhile.