You want to know how to enjoy your next flight? I’ll let you in on a little secret: fly private. But if you, like me, have only experienced the joys of private jets through episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, there are a few tricks to help make your next several hours crammed uncomfortably close to a complete stranger a little bit better.
Step One: Get a good seat
You have three shots at this. First, when booking your flight, do your best to pick a choice seat. Think aisle, window, emergency exit, or the first row of the plane—basically any seat that is not in the middle of the middle of a 747 right next to the bathroom (trust me, I’ve been there). If you’re not happy with your first available selection, try seeing what’s open when you check in online. And if you’re still pulling the short stick, ask the agents at the airport. See if they have any free upgrades! It never hurts to ask…
Step Two: Prepare your carry-on
It’s hard to keep track of what is now allowed in your one personal and one carry-on item, but basically it boils down to no weapons (or anything that could be interpreted as such), nothing flammable (but lighters are ok?), and no liquid in a container larger than 3.4 ounces (placed in a one quart plastic bag with other liquids for easy x-ray access). Be sure to pack the basics—and not too much more. A good book, your computer, phone, chargers, your wallet (and passport if necessary), a pen, headphones, and, of course, lots of beauty supplies to help you look your freshest upon arrival.
Step Three: Get settled
Stow your carry-on and get what you need for your seat. If you’re on a longer flight in which sleep is desired, this would be an ideal time to pop that sleep aid. I’m partial to melatonin. Ambien freaks me out and both Benadryl and NyQuil make me feel like I’ve been on a bender far past their supposed time frame. I find that even half a pill does the trick for me. Since you have very limited control of the light in your general area, consider an eye mask. And if you’re going to look silly, why not make the most of it and get a fun one? (I wore mine backwards...oops.)
Step Four: Sleep as much as possible
The less time you’re awake to realize how terrible and boring commercial flying is, the better. I’d recommend setting an alarm so that you have ample time for steps five through eight. And going through customs and/or baggage claim half asleep seems like a recipe for misery.
Step Five: Hydrate
Hours of circulated air = dehydration. Grab a cup of water, hydrate your body, and then begin to hydrate your skin. Full disclosure, you might look a bit like a crazy person, but unless one of the Backstreet Boys is sitting next to you, who cares, right? Begin with a cleansing wipe to get off any grime that may have developed during your slumber. If you’re a germaphobe, a nice spray of disinfectant is your first step to get your hands face-ready. Then reach for your Bliss Eye Masks to depuff and “energize” your under-eyes. Lastly, go for a rich moisturizer like Embryolisse to seal in total hydration.
Step Six: Makeup!
I’m not one to sport a full face most days anyway, but when applying either in a tiny plane seat or crammed in the plane bathroom, I stick to what’s necessary to help me look the freshest (i.e. under-eye concealer, blush, and mascara).
Step Seven: The optional extra mile
If you took a redeye, you likely missed two brushings. If you can’t quite wrap your head around a full toothbrush and toothpaste excursion, then Colgate Wisps will get your mouth back into in-person-talking shape. Plus, an Altoid or two never hurt. If you think you're smelling a bit ripe elsewhere, a quick swab of deodorant and perfume will mask your stench. Remember though, this is a temporary fix—not in lieu of a shower! That is Step One upon hotel arrival.
Step Seven: Refresh
You’re almost done. You’re a few minutes from stowing your tray tables and putting your seat in its upright position. Since your teeth are sparkly and clean, it’s now time to moisturize your lips. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream is a personal favorite to ensure a long-lasting, pillow soft pout. A quick spritz of Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir will take you from fresh to radiant. And because you’re done touching your face, your hands are now open for hydration.
Step Eight: Get Off That Plane!
And enjoy your vacation, business trip, return home, whatever.
Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.
Oh, and P.S. follow the rules (especially when they’re presented in such a delightful manner):