In-flight essentials

In-flight essentials

On a recent flight from Italy, I was aghast at being asked to throw away two full bottles of water that I’d planned to take on board with me.  It may only be a 2.5 hr journey back to the UK but I’m paranoid about dehydration setting in. The wrinkles need no excuse to show up!  Extraordinarily, although a litre of water is forbidden, you are allowed to carry a lighter on board, as long as it’s packaged in a plastic bag.  I’d always thought anything vaguely flammable was a big in-flight No-No but clearly vast quantities of water pose far more of a threat…

Bewildered by this apparent lack of logic, I did some research as soon as I got home (a little too late, admittedly, but at least I’ll know for next time) and discovered from the very helpful direct.gov.uk website that you can carry some liquids onto the plane with you (lighters are classified as a liquid), so long as you follow certain guidelines.  So I thought I’d pass my new-found knowledge on to you, along with a list of allowable essentials to make your journey a little more palatable.

The Low-down

Check with your individual airline for hand-luggage size and weight restrictions, as they all differ.  What they do have in common is the hefty charge if you’re over the limit, so find out in advance.

Electrical items, such as a laptop or hairdryer, have to be removed and screened separately.

All drinks, cosmetics (creams, perfumes, mascara and lipsticks), toiletries (toothpaste, hand sanitizer gel, body lotion) sprays and contact lens solution come under the heading of ‘Liquids’.

Any individual container must hold no more than 100ml

You can only carry a total of 1 litre of liquids – ie: ten x 100ml containers

All liquid containers must be carried in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, measuring approximately 20cm x 20cm

Liquid contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed.

Essential In-Flight Kit

Body cream.  Dry cabin air does skin no favours.  To counteract its effect, slather moisturiser on parched body parts – hands, arms, lower legs, neck – they’ll thank you for it.

Lip balm.  There’s nothing worse (or less attractive) than cracked lips and you really need to act before the damage is done.

Toothpaste and toothbrush.

Herbal tea bags.  Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate (as does tomato juice apparently) so it’s best to stick to water, fruit juice or herbal teas. Chamomile is relaxing, Peppermint and Ginger teas aid digestion.

Snacks. Airline food, like many ready meals, are often high in fat and salt.  If you can’t bring your own (check with your airline), buy healthy snacks after you’ve gone through security.

Hand sanitiser or wet wipes.  Radox make pocket hand gels (£1.29) that claim to kill 99.9% bacteria – and you don’t even need water.  Unlike some sanitisers, these have added moisturiser and come in three fragrances, so you won’t feel like you’re part of some chemical experiment after freshening up.

Peppermint essence.  It’s an instant mood-lifter.

Echinacea Throat Spray by Neal’s Yard (£8.40 for 50ml).  This is brilliant for the first signs of a sore throat, which I find always seems to set in mid-flight.  Echinancea helps ward off infections and the added honey makes it extra soothing.  My kids love this too and frequently fake a cold just to have a go with the spray.

Tempur travel pillow.  Vital for longer flights as it moulds to the contours of your neck and head to give you maximum comfort and support.

Eyemask and earplugs.  Another essential for long haul flights.  Sleep when you need to, not just when they dim the cabin lights, which bear no relation to your internal body clock.

Pashmina.  I never travel without mine.  Doubles up as pillow, blanket, shawl.  Instant comfort anywhere.

iPod or MP3 player.  Switch off to the noisy environment around you and tune into your own relaxing soundtrack.

With such delectable creature comforts close at hand, you might actually find yourself enjoying your next flight!