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Flying can be sometimes a little on the uncomfortable side - particularly when the plane is full and you are in one of the middle seats with the passengers on either side of you hogging the arm rests! There are a few preparations you can make before boarding a flight to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.

Reserve a seat if you can either at the time of booking the flight, or at the point of checking in. That way you can choose your seat and get to decide if you want to be by the aisle for ease of getting up or you would like to be by the window for sleeping a little easier. Some exit seats have more leg room too so try and find out if you can get one of these.

Take as little hand luggage as possible because if it has to go under the seat you will have little leg room. Furthermore, sometimes there is not enough room in the overhead lockers which means you have to put your luggage somewhere far from your seat. Not only can you not get at your stuff easily during the flight, but you also have to wait for everyone to get off the plane before you can retrieve it and disembark yourself. Also don’t forget to get your book / ipod / headphones / magazine out of your bag before stowing it away in a locker because you will want them during takeoff.

Bringing a picnic is an excellent idea, particularly if you know there isn’t going to be a meal provided. Snacking is a great way to relieve the boredom! Also bring plenty of water so you can stay hydrated throughout the flight.

It is very important to wear loose fitting clothing and comfortable shoes. Feet can swell considerably during flights so make sure you will still be able to wear your shoes even with swollen feet and ankles. Do regular ankle exercises during the flight to help keep the blood flow moving. Flexing and straitening as well as turning your ankles in a circular motion will help. Also go for frequent walks up and down the cabin if you can as this will prevent anything serious like deep vein thrombosis from developing. If you are very worried about blood clots then take an aspirin before flying which thins the blood.

Moisturize your hands and face well during the flight as the cabin air is stale and will dry it out. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol will help prevent skin drying out too. One final tip is to chew gum during the flight to help ears adjust to the changing pressure and stop becoming blocked. Sucking on boiled sweets can also help.

Although it is not possible to increase the seat size or stop the person in front from putting their seat back, by following the above advice you can improve the quality of your overall flight experience.