I am the queen of short-haul flights. I frequently fly to see my family (500-mile flights) or to other short-haul vacation destinations like Memphis or Pensacola. Every once in awhile, in-flight comfort actually crosses my mind, whether that’s because I’m actually covering some distance or simply because I’m flying at night and want to settle in a little (or both).
I think some of the appeal to flight amenity kits is that the airline is giving you a little gift bag, and who doesn’t like swag? Isn’t half the fun opening it up to see what’s inside? The other half of the equation is actually providing things that you may appreciate. In coach, I’m better off without scratchy eyemasks and super-thin socks, but in premium cabins, the included items are usually decent quality, and based on Frequently Flying’s reviews, sometimes downright luxurious.
Since I’m the one flying in coach, I bring my own things along. I’ve narrowed it down to a few items that will slip easily into my purse so that space isn’t an issue. Even on quick flights, I appreciate a few of my things especially when my flight has been delayed to land late at night, but on longer flights and/or red-eyes I’ll squeeze a neck pillow and blanket into my personal item as well.
Here’s what I like to bring:
- Wet Wipes: I like wipes better than antibacterial hand-gel because they are multi-purpose and you don’t need to fit them in your TSA liquids bag. You can use them to wipe down the arm rests or tray table at your seat when you first board the plane,wash up before eating, or use them as a paper towel if you end up spilling anything.
My pick: Wet Ones Singles, because they’re fragrance-free and individually packed so they won’t dry out if you haven’t used the package in awhile.
- Earplugs: I used to think that all earplugs were created equal, but they come in all shapes, sizes, and materials and once I found a good fit, I was sold. While they don’t block out all sounds, it helps with the drone of flights (just as well as a pair of $50 Sony noise-canceling headphones, not as good as the Bose ones I tried in AA business class) along with muffling conversations and crying babies. In fact, slip them in while you’re still in the airport if terminal noise is getting to you and you don’t have lounge access.
My advice: Just because I like these earplugs, doesn’t mean you will. Buy a limited quantity to make sure the fit is comfortable for you and afterwards buy in bulk. I do suggest a carrying case so that you’re not searching all over your bag to find a matching pair (which may or may not come out covered in dust).
- Lip Balm: It’s a known fact that the air inside an airplane is rather dry (especially when you’re used to Virginia humidity). Dry, chapped lips can be very annoying, but easily solved.
My pick: Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm, because it quickly makes my lips feel better and also doubles up with SPF and a hint of color (sorry men, try Aveda LipSaver instead)
- Moisturizer: At the same time that your lips are drying out, so are your hands. I’m not sure if everyone gets annoyed by this, but it bugs me on a flight way more than it does at home!
My pick: L’Occitane Hand Cream. I’ll be upfront and tell you it’s incredibly pricey, but I splurge and save it for the airplane and use cheaper stuff at home. This one wins because it never leaks in your bag, it sinks in quickly so you don’t get greasy streaks on your iPad, and the scent isn’t so overpowering that your flight neighbors will resent you.
- Water Bottle: Flight attendants never come around with drinks when I want them, so I come prepared. I prefer to fill my own bottle post-security rather than paying $3 for a disposable bottle, but either way you shouldn’t count on the attendants to bring water as often as you’d like it.
My pick: Platypus SoftBottle. It rolls up (secured with a rubber band) to very little space and is lightweight so you have no excuses not to bring one.
- Comfortable Socks: I usually wear these on the plane rather than packing them. My feet are cold in general, and freezing in-flight. When my feet are cold and/or uncomfortable, I can’t sleep, so this is key.
My pick: Bath & Body Works Shea Socks. Yes, they come in colors that don’t match anything, but they hit the trifecta of being soft, warm, and moisturizing, plus they wash up well.
- Toothbrush: I don’t understand this phenomenon, but there is something about brushing my teeth that re-energizes me. Arriving after a red-eye and want to be somewhat productive? No problem. Landing late at night and need to drive home? Easy. It sounds so simple, but it works.
My pick: Colgate Wisp. Of course a standard toothbrush and toothpaste will work, but kudos to you if you want to dig through your bag to find them while you’re supposed to be getting ready for landing.
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