Traveling, and especially flights, are almost always stressful. Did I forget anything? Are all the appropriate batteries properly charged? Are my toiletries too big or in the wrong bag? Oh no, I’m already late, I’m going to miss my flight! These are thoughts that have gone through all of our heads.
So the last thing any of us ever want to deal with is having to sit in the dreaded middle seat on the airplane! It’s the worst. Always has been, always will be. But have no fear! There are still a lot of things you can do to prep for your flight so your time in the middle seat won’t be the nightmare it usually is. So buckle up and take notes!
PREPARE YOUR BODY
Even if you’re some kind of maniac that doesn’t mind sitting so tightly between two strangers, you still could have an uncomfortable flight if your body isn’t right. So make sure you prepare for your flight by avoiding high-social foods, avoiding alcohol and caffeine (as best you can), and getting in some light exercise before and after the flight. Even if it’s just taking a couple laps around the terminal, it can make all the difference in making sure you’re as comfortable as possible in that middle seat.
At while you’re at, don’t forget to focus on your breathing. Slow, calm breathing can be a lifesaver in any stressful or annoying situation. More specifically, try taking in a deep breath, hold it for 5-10 seconds, then let it all out. Trust me, it’ll help.
STORE EVERYTHING IN THE OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT
Surprise, surprise… it’s gonna be cramped! You will have limited space to get comfortable in the middle seat. Hence the nightmare! That’s why you should make sure to pack light enough that all your carry-ons can fit in the overhead compartments. Having to stuff at your feet or hold one in your lap will only amplify your discomfort. All you really need is your phone/tablet, headphones, a book, and what we’re about to cover in the next paragraph.
BRING WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO TO HELP YOU FALL ASLEEP
This is key. One of the easiest ways to overcome the discomfort of sitting in the middle seat is just to sleep through as much of the flight as you can! There are a lot of products out there that can help you, too. Noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, and of course a neck pillow (make sure you find the perfect one for you!). I know it sounds crazy… but sleeping can actually help you avoid the nightmare!
GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS!
OK, I know this is a stretch. The last thing a lot of us want to do is force a conversation with a stranger. And most of us don’t want a stranger to force a conversation with us! But sometimes, if approached properly, a little polite conversation can really help time… fly (sorry). So while you shouldn’t force it and should, of course, leave them alone if they’re not into it, there’s no harm in giving someone a polite smile and trying out a few icebreakers.