Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE -

IHAVE AL­WAYS deeply en­vied those peo­ple who can get on an air­plane, buckle them­selves into their seat and drop into a deep sleep that is bro­ken only with the im­pact of the plane land­ing at their des­ti­na­tion. How do they do that, I won­der, as I lie awake with the back­ground noise of their gen­tle snores waft­ing around me. How can they pos­si­bly be so re­laxed that they can nod off even be­fore the seat-belt sign has been switched off ? How is it pos­si­ble that the noise of that wail­ing child or the hus­tle and bus­tle of the din­ner/ lunch service does not rouse them from their slum­ber? just got off a 16-hour non-stop flight from San Fran­cisco, I am go­ing to share some of them with you:

Try and cre­ate your own per­sonal bub­ble on the air­plane. I know, it’s tough (and im­pos­si­ble if you are travelling with kids) but give it a try. The first step in this process is slip­ping on your noise-can­celling head­phones – buy the ex­pen­sive ones; they will more than pay for them­selves in the long term – if you don’t in­tend to watch a movie or lis­ten to mu­sic. Not only will this in­su­late you from the noise in the cabin, it will also de­ter the man/woman in the next seat from en­gag­ing you in a dreary con­ver­sa­tion for hours on end.

Don’t de­pend on the in-flight en­ter­tain­ment pro­vided by the air­line; all too of­ten it con­sists of old re­leases and TV se­ries that are a cou­ple of sea­sons past their see-by date. In­stead, down­load a cou­ple of movies or TV shows that you would re­ally like to watch on your iPad or tablet. If movies aren’t your thing, then pack a good book or two. Or do what I do to keep my hand lug­gage at a min­i­mum: down­load the lat­est bestsellers on your e-reader – there re­ally is noth­ing like a long flight to catch up on your read­ing, without any fear of in­ter­rup­tion. (The added ad­van­tage of e-read­ers is that they don’t strain your eyes the way read­ing fine print in the less-than-ideal il­lu­mi­na­tion pro­vided by the over­head lights does.)

Ex­tend the idea of cus­tomi­sa­tion to your clothes as well. Even if you are travelling in busi­ness class, where you will be handed a pair of socks and an eye mask as part of the service, do your own thing. Pack a pair of cash­mere socks and a cosy cardi­gan to slip on once the air-con­di­tion­ing hits Arc­tic lev­els. I al­ways say no to the air­line blan­ket (mostly be­cause nearly all of them, no mat­ter which the air­line, set off my al­ler­gies) and carry an over­sized pash­mina shawl in­stead. You have no idea how com­fort­ing it feels against my skin as I set­tle down to read the lat­est El­iz­a­beth Ge­orge on my Kin­dle.

And yes, shoes. Shoes are the key. I have al­ways looked at those ladies who think noth­ing of ne­go­ti­at­ing air­ports and air­planes in four-inch heels with a mix­ture of awe and pity. But be­lieve me, you do not want to be one of those women. So, step away from the stilet­tos and wedges, and slip on a pair of com­fort­able shoes. Make sure they are a loose fit be­cause your feet are guar­an­teed to swell up dur­ing the plane ride, and squeez­ing them into shoes that sud­denly seem a size too small is no­body’s idea of fun.

I think we can all agree that air­line food is dire. Which is why I try and avoid eat­ing on planes as much as pos­si­ble. But what do you do on a flight that lasts more than nine hours? Star­va­tion is not an op­tion; at least not for some­one like me who likes her food. And nor is pack­ing parathas or the­p­las – just too much of a palaver, if you ask me. So, I use this time to in­dulge in all those guiltin­duc­ing treats that I would nor­mally es­chew on terra firma: bags of Ket­tle chips; snack-sized bars of Snick­ers; but­tery salted pop­corn; and tubs of ice-cream if the air­line is kind enough to serve it.

‘Stay hy­drated’ is the mantra that all air-hostesses fol­low. And I guess they know a thing or two about sur­viv­ing long­haul flights without look­ing like com­plete wrecks at the end of it. So, drink lots of water, spray some of it on your face and slather on the mois­tur­is­ing cream.

And last, but not the least, never for­get to pack a pair of killer sun­glasses. That way, when you step off at the other end, all bleary-eyed and puffy-faced, you can slip them on and look glam­orous – even if you don’t quite feel it.

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