Thursday, August 11, 2011

5 gadgets to make your flight suck less

Flights are always a pain in the ass. Getting through security, hanging around the airport, standing in lines for everything...until you finally get on the plane. Then what? Sitting in place for 3-10 hours sucks.

Here's five things that will make your flight way less painful, no matter how long you're in the air.

1) Neck Pillow

Fine, it looks stupid, but if you're on a long flight, who cares? The last thing anyone wants is to wake up after an hour nap feeling like the grim reaper hit you with the wrong side of the scythe. Plus they're cheap and easy to pack. I'm partial to TravelMate's, which has worked for me on countless flights, and is only $15.75.

2) Sleeping Pills and a Face Mask

It goes without saying that the best way to get through a flight is to sleep through it. Actual sleeping pills are pretty cheap, and you can get them at any pharmacy and plenty of supermarkets. And if you're flying during the day, or worse, not by the window, make sure to pick up a sleeping mask in case your flight doesn't have any for free. Some do, but I always travel with the Dream Essentials Snooz Silky Soft Eye Mask just in case. It's $2, you can't lose.

3) Mini Air Filter

I've never gone this far, but colleagues and other travelers have sworn that having an air filter for flights helps. It makes sense...I've gotten on more than my fair share of flights with mucus-filled infection-ridden travelers, and cooped up for five hours with just one coughing person nearby sucks. More times than I care to count, I've left a flight woozy, and ended up with a minor cold.

Still, I like to tough it out in this case, but if you don't pick up the Ultra-Mini Air Supply by Magellan's for $135. Who knows, maybe it works, or maybe the placebo effect is good enough.

4) Lenovo X220 with Battery Slice

When sleeping fails, rely on technology. I've tried bringing my iPad and various different laptops on flights, and while each flight may require something different, the Lenovo's X220 has one thing nothing else can beat: a huge battery life. If you're flying from LA to London, the X220 will last the whole flight and then some. With the 9-cell battery and battery slice, you're looking at ~14 of video playback, if not more.

The X220 starts at $849, and the battery slice goes for $179. That's a hefty sum, and so worth it. It's actually amusing wondering when you should plug that battery in again.

5) Audio Splitter Cable

When all else fails, be prepared to share with fellow passengers. We've all been seated next to cool people on rare occasion, and eventually talking only goes so far. So why not offer to watch a movie together? It may sound creepy, especially if there's a big age gap, but a plane is no place to feel awkward. Plus, if you're really prepared and have a decent selection of movies to watch, you might get off that plane with a new friend. Or, if you're already flying with a friend, you'll be able to shut them up for at least the duration of the film, for practically nothing.