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How to Sleep Like a Baby On a Long Flight

Here are some simple things you can do to make your long-haul journey comfortable.

  1. Say no to carbonated drinks.
    The bubbles in carbonated drinks expand at high altitude, making you feel bloated. Enjoy some fresh fruit juice and plenty of water instead.
    Source: http://www.seriouseats.com/
  2. Don’t chew gum.
    It tends to make you swallow as you chew on it, which can cause gas. Source: http://thewinglet.boardingarea.com/
  3. Eat food that contains Tryptophan.
    Tryptophan is a calming amino acid and food items that carry it in high levels tend to induce sleep naturally. So start munching on dates, cottage cheese, turkey and fish once onboard. Source: Thrillist
  4. Ditch gas-producing foods.
    Gastrointestinal discomfort is one of the biggest problems typically associated with long distance flight. Flatulence can be a cause for discomfort and embarrassment for you as well as your co-passengers. The best course is to cut out on food items belonging to the cruciferous family such as brocolli, cauliflower and potatoes which encourage intestinal expansion.

    Source: http://www.wellnessbyzoe.com.au/
  5. Choose vegetarian meals.
    Vegetarian meals are served first, so you’re done faster, thus cutting out unnecessary wait before you go to sleep. Simple! Source: American Airlines
  6. Eat something light before boarding.
    Rather than a secret, this is more of basic common sense. If you find yourself really tired and don’t want to wait till your meal is served, grab something to eat before you step onboard and let the flight attendant know that you don’t want dinner.
    Goodnight!

    Source: chow.com
  7. Always carry earplugs and an eye mask.
    These wonderful sleeping aids are easily available and affordable too. An inflatable pillow is another good investment.
    Source: Alamy
  8. Choose a window seat.
    The benefits of choosing the window seat is three-pronged. You can lean against a solid surface for support while sleeping and not get disturbed by a co-passenger wanting to go to the loo. Plus, you don’t miss out on the view outside. Source: Thrillist
  9. Try and get a seat up front.
    By getting a seat in the first few rows, you can avoid the disturbance caused by engine noise which is loudest towards the rear. You can do this by checking-in online. Most airlines allow web check-in 24 hours before take off. Source: Telegraph
  10. Don’t be tempted to take a sleeping pill.
    A sleeping tablet can increase the risk of a blood clot from sitting in cramped spaces for too long. Besides, it’s good to be alert, not inert, when flying.
    Source: Huffington Post

This story was published in our Nov-Dec 2012 issue. Re-edit: TS intern Siddharth Birla
To subscribe, visit http://www.magzter.com/IN/Grapevine/Travel-Secrets-India/Travel/

What is “shoulder season” and why is it good for travel?

Shoulder Season falls between peak season and off season. So, you get many advantages. The weather is neither too hot nor too cold. The crowds have thinned out but are not absent. Airfares and hotel tariffs tend to dip slightly, so you have more money for shopping! The local tourist industry is now free from the pressure of catering to throngs, and you can expect better service.

DSC_0306

According to Rick Steves, “Shoulder season varies by destination. Because fall and spring bring cooler temperatures in Mediterranean Europe, shoulder season in much of Italy, southern France, Spain, Croatia, and Greece can actually come with near peak-season crowds and prices. For example, except for beach resorts, Italy’s peak season is May, June, September, and October, rather than July and August. Paris is surprisingly quiet in July and August.”

Venice (43)

We at Travel Secrets try and stay away from even the best destinations during peak season, because the crowds can be simply too overwhelming. Last year in Florence and Venice, we found ourselves jostling and gasping for the most part. Taking photos ended up being a Click-and-Move affair in places, with the next person breathing down your neck.

A shoulder season trip to Switzerland, on the other hand, was pure relaxation. Under the mild September sun, it was blissful to walk down the quiet streets of Basel, taking in the crisp cool air and lazing by the Rhine. We could feel our lungs turn pink again:)

Basel by the Rhine River (1)Posted by Travel Secrets Editor Shubhra Krishan

Pix: TS Photo Editor Nitin Gopal Srivastava

 

Airbus or Boeing: Which one do pilots prefer to fly?

We asked a pilot who flies both machines. Excerpt from the interview:

Travel Secrets: So which planes have you flown so far? 

Captain D’souza: Like any pilot, I trained on various small planes. These are either single or twin-engine, and usually have two seats for the two pilots on board and are hence called 2-Pilot Aircraft. I have commercially flown the Airbus and the Boeing, which are the planes at our company, for about 23 years now.

TS: What’s your favourite plane?

CD: If you ask any pilot, they’ll tell you that they like the Boeing better than the Airbus, and so do I.

TS: Why Boeing?

CD: Well, let me put it this way. The Boeings put the pilot first and the Airbus puts the computer on top. Planes have changed a lot in the past 5-10 years and so have the cockpits.

TS: Details, Captain? Secrets of each of the cockpits!

CD: Okay, so the Boeing 777 has 33 computers that a pilot has to handle. They are not computers with QWERTY keyboards, but specially programmed computers controlling a particular function each. The job of the pilot is to control each of them. Having said that, if we feel that in a particular condition we should deviate from what the computer says, we can do so. In an Airbus, you can’t do that.

images (4)

The Airbus looks like a meaner, neater machine because it is technologically quite advanced. It is supposed to make the pilot very happy. But does it? Frankly, not me!

images

 

When you have flown almost half your life, you trust your instincts in an emergency. At least in my opinion that’s what a good pilot always does. And an Airbus puts limitations on you precisely in that respect. Once you are at an altitude, the computers take over. Say, the turbulence is really high at some point, the computer will give you the maximum deviation you can make and under no circumstance can you exceed that limit. You have a joystick-like control in your hand and you basically just follow what the computer says. So, while the Airbus is excellent for a ‘normal’ flight, a good pilot will feel the lack of authority and control in case of some problem!

TS: Are there other differences too between the two?

CD: Boeing aircraft are far more stable during turbulence. The Airbus has stiff wings that are designed for high speed flying and efficient fuel consumption, but they aren’t much help in turbulence.

*Captain D’souza is not authorised to share his photo or the airline he flies.  These are his personal views. TS has no bias toward either aircraft!

Airbus & Boeing:  A Passenger Primer

  • Boeing is American. Airbus is European.
  • Boeings come in the #7 series (747, 777 etc.) Airbus is #3 series (A 330, A 380 etc.)
  • An Airbus has a curved, bulbous nose, while a Boeing has a more pointed nose.
  • Airbus cockpit side windows run in a straight line along the bottom. The side windows of a Boeing run in a ‘V’ shape along the bottom. Also Airbus aircraft cockpit side windows look like one of their corners have been ‘cut’.
  • Only A340s, A380s and B747s have four engines. All other aircraft have twin engines.

Curious to learn more about the two craft? Read up Arun Rajagopal’s superb blog. This Dubai-based social media manager says he’s ‘crazy about planes,’ and it shows! 

 

 

 

I am terrified of turbulence! Is it safe to fly during the rainy season?

Image

TS Intern Prerna took the question to Capt VK Madan,  Commercial Pilot and Inspector at DGCA, India.

Flying and monsoon are not the best of friends, but with evolving technology, flying has also evolved to be safe in monsoon.

Lightening  in thunderstorms can be up to a staggering 2 Lakh volts! Turbulence due to vertical winds can be up to 2000 feet per minute.  But, avionics like weather and Doppler radars, and satellite pictures give the pilot exact locations of thunder storms and turbulence which can be avoided and kept at  an arm’s distance of 10 Km or more.

Passengers may experience some minor turbulence but that does not endanger the safety of the aircraft. Moreover, other avionics like ILS (Instrument Landing System)  can land an aircraft in almost zero visibility in the pouring rain.

So relax and don’t let monsoon upset your plans and commitments. You’re in safe hands. Happy Landings!Image

How to dress right for a long flight

Artist Bipasha Sen Gupta gives us the key to a comfortable and successful travel, so that you look and feel “ready to go”.

Image

  1. Wear loose and dark trousers with a wrinkle-free shirt- full sleeves because of the levels of air conditioning in a flight. Avoid jeans if you can.
  2. Always carry a stylish pashmina stole or shawl which can be used as a wrap or a pillow. It also works as a great accessory. (We love Janavi’s vibrant cashmere scarves and stoles—outlet at Emporio Mall Vasant Kunj, Delhi). Keep jewellery minimal.
  3. Use basic or no makeup at all while travelling, as cabin air dehydrates your skin (carry a thick moisturiser, hand cream and lip balm for regular use).
  4. Wear a comfortable pair of slip-ons or one size bigger shoes, as feet swell up during long hauls. Don’t forget to pack a comfortable pair of socks.
  5. Carry one big tote bag to hold the things you need during the flight. It’s a nuisance to reach for your cabin bag every time. Da Milano has an irresistible collection of them!
  6. Pack these in your hand luggage- (a) a comfy pair of pants, preferably sweat pants or something similar.(b) a warm pair of socks.(c) a t-shirt.(d) a warm sweater (e) spare underwear (f) toothbrush and toothpaste (Check out Woodland’s new range of summery t-shirts for men and women)
  7. Make sure all products that you take on board comply with the hand luggage restrictions. You can always put some of your favourite products in handy travel size bottles. Deodorant is a must.
  8. Replace your contact lenses with glasses so your eyes don’t dry out from arid air plane air and the contacts don’t bother you while sleeping.
  9.  Women’s Special: Take a nail file and nail varnish with you, so you get through at least 30 minutes of the flight without getting bored!
  10.  Pack some cleansing face wipes to remove all the airport grim and help you freshen up before landing.

Airbus & Boeing: A Passenger Primer

  • Boeing is American. Airbus is European.
  • Boeings come in the #7 series (747, 777 etc.) Airbus is #3 series (A 330, A 380 etc.)
  • An Airbus has a curved, bulbous nose, while a Boeing has a more pointed nose.
  • Airbus cockpit side windows run in a straight line along the bottom. The side windows of a  Boeing run in a ‘V’ shape along the bottom. Also Airbus aircraft cockpit side windows look like one of their corners have been ‘cut’.
  • Only A340s, A380s and B747s have four engines. All other aircraft have twin engines.

Curious to learn more about the two craft? Read up Arun Rajagopal’s superb blog. This Dubai-based social media manager says he’s ‘crazy about planes,’ and it shows! Find him on http://arunrajagopal.com/

Airbus or Boeing: Which one do pilots prefer to fly?

We wondered, so we asked writer Hardyp Kaur to pin down Captain D’souza*, who flies both.

Travel Secrets: So which planes have you flown so far? 

Captain D’souza: Like any pilot, I trained on various small planes. These are either single or twin-engine, and usually have two seats for the two pilots on board and are hence called 2-Pilot Aircraft. I have commercially flown the Airbus and the Boeing, which are the planes at our company, for about 23 years now.

Pilots are insured for the vehicles they fly commercially. You have to give details of the type of aircraft you fly when you fill up your insurance forms. If you are ever caught flying another type of plane, your insurance goes void.

TS: What’s your favourite plane?

CD: If you ask any pilot, they’ll tell you that they like the Boeing better than the Airbus, and so do I. I am itching to fly the 787, the next generation Boeing!

TS: Why Boeing?

CD: Well, let me put it this way. The Boeings put the pilot first and the Airbus puts the computer on top. Planes have changed a lot in the past 5-10 years and so have the cockpits.

TS: Details, Captain? Secrets of each of the cockpits!

CD: Okay, so the Boeing 777 has 33 computers that a pilot has to handle. They are not computers with QWERTY keyboards, but specially programmed computers controlling a particular function each. The job of the pilot is to control each of them. Having said that, if we feel that in a particular condition we should deviate from what the computer says, we can do so. In an Airbus, you can’t do that.

The Airbus looks like a meaner, neater machine because it is technologically quite advanced. It is supposed to make the pilot very happy. But does it? Frankly, not me! When you have flown almost half your life, you trust your instincts in an emergency. At least in my opinion that’s what a good pilot always does. And an Airbus puts limitations on you precisely in that respect. Once you are at an altitude, the computers take over. Say, the turbulence is really high at some point, the computer will give you the maximum deviation you can make and under no circumstance can you exceed that limit. You have a joystick-like control in your hand and you basically just follow what the computer says.

TS: Well, if you look at it another way, isn’t the airbus really reliable on a day when some pilots are not?

CD: Well, that’s true since you are in what may seem like the simulation mode with a joystick in hand and following the instructions, and it can feel like a test 3-D test to check your driving! But it is not. It’s a serious responsibility.

In a way it is helpful too since the controlling base doesn’t have to deal with unnecessary input which can make the flight unsafe or uncomfortable since the computer allows for only so many variations for each situation.

But while the Airbus is excellent for a ‘normal’ flight, a good pilot will feel the lack of authority and control in case of some problem!

TS: Are there other differences too between the two?

CD: Boeing aircraft are far more stable during turbulence. The Airbus has stiff wings that are designed for high speed flying and efficient fuel consumption, but they aren’t much help in turbulence.

*Captain D’souza is not authorised to share his photo or the airline he flies.

Q: “My feet are swollen from 8 hours of flying. My husband says my black pump shoes are to blame. Is he right?”

A: Yes he is, especially if you wore those shoes throughout your flight.

Learn from Lady Gaga’s mistake:  she reportedly wore a pair of scarily high and tight armadillo shoes on a flight, and soon felt her feet beginning to swell.  The cabin crew immediately made her slip into comfortable slippers, and she was saved from Deep Vein Thrombosis, a very common and life-threatening condition that develops when blood clots form in the veins of the legs.

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