For the Comfiest, Coziest Plane Rides, Pack These 3 Things

Plus, a handful of travel-friendly meals for easy eating.

October 10, 2018

I’m no fan of flying. Yes, it gets you from Point A to Point B faster than anything else, but it comes with the hassle of security checks, carry-ons, overpriced food courts, priority seating, shared armrests, crying babies, stomach-flipping turbulence... (I could go on.) Before any flight, I’m taking deep breaths, loading up podcasts, stress-eating snacks, and obsessively checking to make sure the gate hasn’t changed. In short, I’m a wreck.

So when I saw Food52 Director of Social Media Kaitlin Bray post that she cracked the code to flying comfortably, I had to know more. Here’s what she had to say:

Dress efficiency and comfortably.

To get through security quickly and painlessly, I never wear laces. In the summer, that means Birkenstocks, in the winter, Chelsea boots I can slide on and off. But this year I’ve also started packing comfy socks no matter the temperature. Yes, that means ‘stocks in socks. Not only do they keep my feet warm in-flight, but they also make me feel a little more hygienic since I like to sit with my feet folded under me. My favorites are from Darn Tuff Socks.

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As for clothing, I wear something that’s both relaxed and appropriate for public (no PJs)—think oversized sweaters and stretchy jeans. I used to wear high-waisted pants on flights, but never again.

Invest in a neck pillow.

In the past six months I’ve had to fly a bunch of red eyes between New York and Los Angeles. Neck pillows aren’t perfect, but they’re better than nothing. Also, mine allows me to be a little more flexible with where I sit. Normally I like the window seat, but with a neck pillow, I can do the aisle, too. To make sure I don’t forget to pack mine, I attach it to my bag the night before my flight.

Go ahead and pack a meal.

Snacks are great, but on long flights I make sure to pack a heartier bite. My favorite is a grain salad since it holds up well and won’t create a mess or smell. The key for bringing something substantial is to pack your food in a container you don’t mind losing, then picking up utensils, salt, and pepper at the airport food court. That way you can throw everything away at once, if necessary.

Want to give it a try?

What are your best travel tips? Share 'em in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Cardie K. Molina
    Cardie K. Molina
  • bobbie joh
    bobbie joh
  • Torie Olson
    Torie Olson
  • Emily G
    Emily G
  • Melissa M
    Melissa M
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Cardie K. November 4, 2018
Eye drops, silicone ear plugs if you aren’t listening to your headphones. I bring these disposable toothbrushes made by Colgate...they have toothpaste and breath freshener built in! Sample size creams, ask your dermie. I also like the aloe saturated spa socks which can double as your slippers when traveling. My Mexican rebozo doubles as a blanket and versatile to travel with. Homemade food if you are that organized is great! Apple slices and carrot sticks too. Ask for lots of 💦
Cardie K. November 5, 2018
Just get the black ones for the plane!
bobbie J. November 5, 2018
I heartly agree about the eye drops - the forced air on the plane can be very drying for my eyes. The idea about the aloe socks is great. I am getting a pair for sure!
bobbie J. November 4, 2018
I wear glasses so find it important to bring my glasses case for redeye flights.
bobbie J. November 5, 2018
i should have said.. and inside my glasses case, there is a cleaning cloth: That's important, too!
Torie O. October 30, 2018
Who makes the pink carry on bag?
Torie O. October 30, 2018
Much appreciated! Always looking for a carryon that weighs nothing.
Emily G. October 14, 2018
I actually have a question about the storage. They wouldn't take my containers so can't I just take a bento box?
Melissa M. October 13, 2018
I like travelling in a comfy, loose dress. When travelling in the winter I like wearing black long sleeve dresses that fall straight made of non-wrinkling fabric. Same thing in the summer but in long sleeves and will just throw on a light cardigan for layering. I wear dresses so that my pant bottoms do not touch the ground when I’m in airplane bathrooms / airports and so they’re easier to just pull up.

I also like bringing slip on shoes and separate socks for the plane and only wear them in my little unit so I don’t feel like I’m bringing filth from the washroom.

I also bring hydrating masks and do my skin care routine like I would at home.

Lastly I bring sanitizing wipes to wipe down the screen, little table and hand rests.
Ttrockwood October 12, 2018
Noise canceling headphones are an absolute essential for me, too many flights where somehow the cranky baby is nearby. (I’m empathetic yet also not amused).
Sleeping mask for red eyes.
I also always wear a big oversized cardigan or scarf that can double as a blanket, sometimes the plane can be chilly.
And unisom! For overnight flights or those crazy long ones to asia i want to arrive rested, not restless after watching too many movies
Margaret L. November 4, 2018
I have the Bose Quiet Comfort cordless ones, and I love them. I like the ones that look like earmuffs more than the in-the-ear kind, but they still are no bigger than a Russian novel, and they weigh less than the novel would. Mine also serve as a hands-free, bluetooth headset at home so I can talk on my phone while I cook or fold laundry; I don't just use them on planes.
Gammy October 10, 2018
I would gladly have taken those green onions and chives over the food court bowl of WARM STEAMED BROCCOLI that one young lady sitting next to me opened up on a flight. I almost gagged! Should be illegal to board a plane with that.
Kaitlin B. October 10, 2018
Brassicas don't travel well. 😂
Matthew B. October 11, 2018
I find an enormous haunch of beef (bone in) lasts throughout the longest flight, and keeps fellow travelers from encroaching on your space.
Margaret L. November 4, 2018
Matthew B., thought you were going to say you always have enough to share with everyone in your row! :)
Cardie K. November 4, 2018
Or eggs or tuna!
Notedray October 10, 2018
Read the article about traveling lightly on a plane. Had to laugh at the recipes. Author said she likes bowls because they are odor free. No they aren't, some have garlic. One has green onions and chives. Not something to eat on a plane in an enclosed space.
Ttrockwood October 12, 2018
My neighbor on my last flight was eating a still hot very fragrant chunk of salmon. (Thanks to wolfgang puck snd his gourmet grab and go). I’m thinking onions and garlic are definitely benign compared to the atrocities other passengers eat in close quarters.