People often ask me how can I fly and not get jetlagged and stressed? While I cannot always control the plane or what happens when my luggage is placed on the conveyor belt, I can take charge and prepare mentally and physically for the flight. I try not to dwell on what kind of adventures my luggage may have while separated from me.
My last few flights included: my luggage never leaving my home airport; or, it arrives, but with a smashed-in side that barely holds the clothes in the bag; or, it falls off the plane conveyor and goes into Lalaland for almost 2 weeks–until found in the room where they blow up the suspicious bags. In this last instance, the airline sends it to your destination a week later–only to have the bag shipped back home again when you have two more weeks of travel. Or, finally, along the way while changing planes, officials refuse to allow you to go and claim your suitcase, which was supposed to be checked through and is not seen again for three days–with all the electrical items removed.
Sometimes the aftermath of flying turns into an episode of Survivor, Truth or Dare, Let’s Make a Deal or The Price is (Not) Right!
That is why, whenever I fly lately, my phone is always loaded and ready with a few great meditation apps that get me into my “Me” zone. This is where time ceases to exist, and time zones are banished from my body’s lexicon. I rarely drink anything with alcohol, as it speeds up the dehydration of your body while the dry air sucks the moisture out of your skin and beyond.
To combat dehydration, I always bring my own spiked bkr water bottle, emptied before security and refilled before boarding. My new bkr bottle cap holds a removable compact of bkr’s new Paris Water Balm to keep my lips from drying out and cracking. I bring a neck pillow roll, a small bottle of moisturizer, socks, a jacket that does double duty as a blanket, noise-cancelling headphones, a sleep mask and an energy bar or two.
Add a small notepad, pen, phone, lightweight folding backpack and small purse with compartments for multiple currencies and credit cards, my passport, trusted traveller card that all fits inside the backpack with my glasses, cords and charger. Many airlines do not have seatback screens any more. That means adding a tablet of some kind or computer, which you should NEVER check in your luggage if you want to see it, or any batteries or electronics again! Did you know that most insurance policies and the airlines themselves will not cover any kind of electronic equipment?
Recently, some airlines have been including wellness and meditation channels with on-board exercises, motivational talks and healthy menu choices. They WANT you to feel calm and relaxed. You don’t have to just take it from me, because according to Richard Branson, he was feeling very Zen after enjoying the world’s first dedicated meditation flight at 30,000 feet with Virgin Australia, in partnership with app-based mindfulness platform, Smiling Mind, as part of their in-flight entertainment system.
Virgin Australia has also launched a new way to help anxious flyers. Still, meditation is great for everyone for the benefits of de-stressing, less jet lag, and engaging your brain. Virgin is committed to “no excuse” fitness, with a 30-day Virgin Strive Challenge and Virgin Active in many cities. There may also be yoga sessions in the Virgin Lounges.
Mental Health initiatives are a priority for staff on the ground and in the air, as well as for the passengers.
Richard Branson says that “integrating mindfulness into our everyday lives is just as important as eating well and exercising regularly, and I am so excited Virgin Australia is deeply embedding mindfulness into the workplace and onboard flights.”
Part of the jet set life is all about looking the part. Aside from complimentary massages, Virgin’s London Heathrow and New York JFK lounges offer snazzy complimentary hair cuts from Bumble & Bumble-trained employees. From a quick blow dry to a nice buzz, you can step on or off the plane feeling like an A Lister, even if you’re not.
Getting in: You’ll need to be a Virgin Atlantic Gold member, or Delta SkyMiles Platinum or above, traveling to or from the UK. Otherwise you’ll need to be in business class on Delta or Virgin flights to or from the UK.