What do you do when you board a plane? Toss your bag in the overhead bin? Put on your seat belt? Is that about it? There are a handful of things we should all be doing but probably aren't every time we fly.
Check for Your Life Vest
This is your captain speaking. In the unlikely event of a water landing, this plane is equipped with life vests. Unless it’s not, that is. The New York Daily News reported in 2014 that a man was arrested for stealing airplane life vests, and the practice might not be as uncommon as you think. Flight attendants check for the life-saving devices at the start of each day, but not usually between flights, so might as well feel for it under your seat before takeoff. Plus, since most of us have never reached for that life vest, it helps to find out exactly where it is and how you can access it.
Position Your Vent
NPR says, “To keep from catching a pathogen in the plane’s recycled air (gross), use the vent above your head.” They recommend setting the ventilation at low or medium, and positioning it so you can draw an imaginary line of current right in front of your head. You should be able to feel the current when you put your hands on your lap. That way, if something infectious is floating in your personal space, the air from the vent will create enough current to knock it away.
Get What You Need Before Takeoff
Don’t be that person who feels the need to unnecessarily block the aisle during a flight. Unless you’re going to the restroom or having a medical emergency, there’s virtually no other reason you should be out of your seat or even unbuckled while on your flight. That means grabbing your in-flight necessities before putting your bag in the overhead bin. Not only does this eliminate the need to go digging around mid-flight, but it's for your own good. If the plane experiences unexpected turbulence, it could be downright dangerous for you to be fiddling through your luggage.
Sanitize Your Area
Airplanes don’t get seriously cleaned as often as we hoped. The sheer volume of germs on a plane … whew. Just pack some sanitizing wipes and wipe down your tray table (one of the dirtiest places not just on the plane, but on the planet), the seatback, armrests and seat belt latch. Smarter Travel recommends “basically any hard surface you’re going to touch during your flight.” Wipe it down or run the risk of getting sick. Your choice.
Know the Safety Protocol
Know how to get off of the plane if it crash lands. Yes, it's incredibly rare. Still, time will likely be of the essence, and that's enough reason to learn. It’s not something any of us wants to think about — and it’s something many of us brush off as the flight attendant shows us how to buckle a seatbelt, but it could be lifesaving. Simply learn where your nearest exit is, where a life vest is and how to use an oxygen mask.