Beat of Hawaii is on the move and in the air. So far this year we’ve been on each of the Hawaiian islands, and have visited several of them more than once. We’ve also flown to both east and west coasts on different airlines. Sometimes everything goes great when traveling, and sometimes it doesn’t. Here’s an updated list of our top airline tips to make the most of your Hawaii flying experience.
Water: Staying hydrated
Fortunately the crews usually provide frequent water service on board long Hawaii flights. Occasionally I’ll buy water at the airport for my flight, albeit expensive and the bottles in most cases small.
Most of the time, however, I travel with a stainless steel water bottle, brought empty through TSA. Once past security I stop at the first chilled water fountain to fill up.
Clothes and Shoes: On board and for arrival
It’s hard to predict whether the temperature on the plane will be hot or cold, so how can I stay comfortable under any condition?
I typically wear pants with zip off legs. Once I arrive back in Hawaii, I remove the legs to convert them to shorts. I have several pairs of these reserved primarily for air travel and they work like a charm. A very light, waterproof jacket serves well for the plane and for unexpected rain here in Hawaii.
Comfortable and not tight shoes work best for me. I keep my slippahs for use in Hawaii since I don’t much like cold feet on planes. At other times though I’ll put on socks under the slippahs and that works too.
Avoiding jet lag
I’ve suffered from jet lag this past week, having just returned across 6 time zones to Hawaii from New York. At some level it’s unavoidable in east-west travel.
I start the time change as soon as I board my flight from or to Hawaii. If the airline requests that lowering the window shades during flight, I leave them open at least a crack to maintain awareness of the sun. It’s important for our bodies body to see the light or darkness to aid in a quicker time change adjustment.
I’ve heard that Melatonin at night, supposedly letting it dissolve under your tongue, has helped some deal with jet lag. I’ve never tried it, though, so can’t quite figure about the dissolving under the tongue. Another thing I’ve heard that may help is SamE plus Gaba, anytime. They’re good sleep -- chemical precursors I was told. Do you have any experience with these?
Airliners are germ laden. And the last thing I want is for an illness to impact my precious travels.
I bring anti-bacterial wipes to clean off all surfaces before flight. This includes the tray and buttons on arm rest. I try to be mindful of everything that I might touch.
Sleeping in flight
I want to sleep on trans Pacific flights but it’s not that easy to with the noise on board or a talkative seat mate.
Try this: I pack disposable foam ear plugs that reduce the sound level by up to 33 decibels. It’s also a sure sign to others that I plan on sleeping. If the airline doesn’t provide one, I also travel with my own airline blanket. It’s clean and more comfortable anyway.
Avoiding the worst seats
I walk on board and notice that some coach seats seem to have much more airline leg room than others. We wrote about that this past week. Meanwhile sometimes I seem to get stuck in the worst seat possible.
I check out Seat Guru so that I have some idea in advance what seats to avoid if possible. Most airlines now offer upgrades to exit row or bulkhead seating for an additional fee. If two are traveling, I sometimes choose the two aisles of a three across section towards the back. It’s a gamble, but chances are the center seat won’t be taken unless the flight is full.
Comfort items on board
Chap stick, eye drops, toothpaste, and other small items; samples work great. These are a subset of my one quart liquids bag that are then in the seat back pocket when needed. I also like to have handy items including stomach upset remedies, hand wipes, eyeglass cleaners, Shout wipes for spills, reading glasses, foam ear plugs, and for longer flights, eye shades. How about an inflatable neck pillow? I’m still suffering from a stiff neck gotten aloft.
Bring your own airline food. Well we’ve written about that before, and it’s a whole other story. Bottom line is I don’t generally eat airline food.
Two final tips
I bring my USB chargers in my under seat carry-on. On my flights to and from New York, I realized that Hawaiian has USB chargers below each seat on their Airbus planes. I was able to keep charged throughout my flight.
A pen is useful en route to Hawaii as you’ll be completing a State of Hawaii agricultural form prior to arrival.
What are your best airline travel tips?