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DISPATCHES: 5 Tips to Make Your Next Flight More Comfortable

Air_2 How do you make the journey by air a little more bearable? By paying attention to the details. Here are five tips to make your next flight more comfortable.

USE YOUR PHONE TO CHANGE YOUR TICKET What do you do if you’re in the airport and your flight is canceled or severely delayed? Use your cell phone to reschedule a flight or get wait listed, rather than stand in a long line. I’ve stored the rebooking numbers of the major carriers in my cell phone

WEAR THE RIGHT STUFF Even if the calendar says July, it often feels like January inside an airborne cabin. Regardless of where you’re flying. That’s why the new generation of Polartec fleeces make ideal traveling companions. They’re thin, light as a feather, yet still toasty. That makes them the perfect garb for flying, especially now that many airlines have virtually eliminated blankets. And speaking of your wardrobe, don’t overlook slip-on shoes. They not only speed you through security. They’re also easy to take on and off during a long flight, especially for bathroom trips.

DO USE A NOISE-CANCELLING HEADSET. Because it works, substantially reducing in-flight noise. And they connect to an iPod, computer or in-flight entertainment system to provide concert hall quality sound. The best known are made by Bose ($299), but Sony ($199) and Solitude ($199) are competing brands at a lesser price.

CLOSE THAT LAPTOP When the beverage cart rattles down the aisle, close that laptop pronto. There’s nothing like a splash of spilled coffee onto a keyboard to render a computer inactive in a heartbeat.

GO TO SLEEP WHEN YOU GET THERE If you’re flying overnight to Europe, plan on taking a nap when you get there. A three-hour nap is my personal limit. Yours might be different but the point is the same. That nap should shave off the rough edges of sleep deprivation and get you in synch with the new time zone. But by limiting it to three hours, it also means I’ll still be tired enough to fall asleep later that night. If you have a long layover between connecting flights when you arrive, consider renting a day room like I did that last winter in Zurich Airport. The soundproof, windowless, minimalist room was a steal for $37 for up to six hours.

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