All of us have at least one objectionable trait, many of us more than one, but my most obvious one – at least to my travel companions – is my ability to enjoy deep, undisturbed sleep onboard planes….any class, any route, east or west.
Without doubt it’s a blessing. It eats up the miles, restores energy, overcomes time changes. I would not have it any other way.
But it does annoy those who cannot sleep – and the world appears to divide into CAN and CAN’T sleep categories.
So how has this annoyance manifested itself ?
– my Mother refuses to fly with me on night flights.
– colleagues (SK and AT take a bow) have mood swings which range from disbelief to general disgust as they exhibit Meerkat tendencies from LHR to HKG and back again.
– and then there is Microsoft Seattle guy who was the perfect flying companion on an overnight from SEA – LHR. We joked over drinks, shared anecdotes over dinner and business thoughts with coffee…then I went to sleep, a long 7 hour sleep. Upon landing I did note the frazzled zombie next to me but cheerily bade him goodbye (he ignored me). As I waited at the luggage carousel he approached and, in an accusatory tone, said ‘How do you do it ?’ and before I could ask ‘Do what ?’ he went on a diatribe about ‘Babies, seat kickers, loud talkers’. I had slept through it all of course.
So, for what it’s worth, here are my top tips to ensure onboard slumber;
(1) Make sure you are sleep deprived in the run up to your journey – an easy objective in this day and age.
(2) Bring onboard a shed load of reading materials, fully charged iPad (with movies), iPod, note book for thoughts etc. The more stimulus and sleep alternatives you have the less you will need them – believe me on this one. The converse is true – no reading material and you’ll be reading the sick bag and praying for a mid ocean ditching just to relieve the boredom.
(3) Have a glass of Champagne before boarding, a cocktail on reaching 35,000 feet and then a couple of glasses of wine with the meal.
(4) Have a ‘getting ready for bed’ routine. Mine involves removing my shoes, loosening my watch strap, donning a ‘hoodie’ and affixing the highest quality eyemask you have (BA First Class ones are perfect). The hoodie is probably the most essential item since it’s replacing bed – it’s comforting, warm and can help muffle sound. I just bought a new one (pictured) from a friend’s company. It’s perfect and I’m getting another for non-plane use !
(5) Make sure they can see the lap belt is fastened and don’t even bother reclining in Coach or Premium Economy. It makes no difference and you’ll not need to adjust your seat before landing.
(6) Tell yourself you will not waken for the breakfast meal service.
(7) Awake with a thud as the plane hits the runway.