Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Midnight Plane to Georgia

Ah the Red Eye. I always say I’m not going to take it – but there is something so appealing about having a full working day and arriving at my destination with another full day to burn. No matter how bad my last experience was I always seem to want to try the red eye again. Since being stationed in California I seem to do a lot of red eye flying. Since my family is in Atlanta and all my friends seem to be getting married and having babies in east coast locations I have become a frequent red eye taker.

There are a few key tips to surviving:

First: Make it Quiet. (Earplugs & Noise Canceling Headphones.) I put in the earplugs as soon as I get on the plane just to start quieting everything down. If I haven’t fallen asleep by the time the plane is at its cruising altitude then I switch to the Noise Canceling Headphones. I plug them into the plane’s audio system and set it on the classical music channel or hook it up to my Ipod and set it to an audio book or relaxing mix.

Second: Blackout Curtins. (A good sleep mask.)You will need a good sleep mask – one that fits comfortably without pulling your hair or inhibits your breathing. When looking for my perfect sleep mask I even found some for people that don’t like pressure on their eyes. I choose a mask with a pretty print that also houses a lavender insert over the eyes to release stress.

Third: Get Comfy. (Stick to your Routine.) At home I might be in my flannel jammie-jams but on the plane I wear comfortable, loose fitting, dark clothing. Something I can sleep in and still walk off the plane and look presentable. I like to wear a scarf for easy temperature adjustment. I always change out of my contacts and into glasses before I board the plane so I am ready to sleep as soon as I get on. Pack your carry-on bags with the boarding process in mind. Place items like your MP3 player, phone & headphones in your small personal bag so they are easily accusable under the seat in front of you. This makes me efficient when I get on the plane, pleasing the flight attendants and fellow passengers, and limiting how much up and down I’ll need to do on the flight. Additionally, I try to have a new movie or tv show uploaded on my ipod just in case I wake up with an hour or less of the flight to go. This gives me something to do or listen to as I wake up. You can always entertain yourself by flipping through the Sky Mall Catalog and creating your own “The 7 Most Useless Things” list.

Fourth: Good Linens.(A pillow & blanket set.) Some airlines provide a pillow and blanket but it is just not the same as having something from home. I have a great little set where the blanket stuffs inside the pillow case. When an airplane pillow is available I put it inside my pillow case and use the blanket as a cover. This way I know exactly what is rubbing up against my skin. It also helps me feel a bit more at home.

Finally, bring a toothbrush and toothpaste. Nothing makes you feel better when you wake up then being able to brush your teeth. Your fellow passengers will appreciate it as well.

When I arrive in my location I stay awake even if it means caffeine, sugar and a cold shower. I’m always tired on the first day but come evening I’m ready to go to bed with the rest of the East Coast and then on the right time for the rest of the trip. I also try to remind myself that I choose the red eye to have more time at my destination – not to sleep!

On this particular trip to Atlanta my sister and I both red eyed in for a family reunion. I booked manicures and pedicures for both of us this morning at 10Ten Nail Bar in Morningside. At 10Ten they do your toes in a backwards recliner – so while I relaxed with an eye pillow over my tired eyes, my toes were made beach ready. Then we scheduled lunch with friends at our favorite Atlanta pizza place, Fellini’s. We were home in time to enjoy an Atlanta evening on the porch while updating blogs and reading books. It hardly feels like I’ve only had three hours of sleep, although I know I will be ready for bed a bit earlier than usual this morning. The best part is I got a full day of activity in today and tomorrow I will be ready to head to the beach with the family.

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