Sometimes you just have to fly in an airplane. Whether you are traveling abroad for work or need to get across the country for a family event, airplanes can be a convenient and quick way to travel.
However, they aren’t perfect. They can be expensive, and seem to only increase in cost as the years go on. If you need a quick weekend getaway, or want to visit your family for the holidays, flying can be fun, but if you are doing it all the time, you may be losing out on money in your pocket, and facing certain health risks.
Airplanes can be expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the ticket, but there are hidden fees, baggage costs, fuel costs, and so much more. A trip that may start out as a couple hundred dollars can easily rack up to thousands of dollars.
You are also limited in what you can pack. For most domestic flights, you only get a small carry-on bag, and the sizes are growing smaller and smaller all the time. For a bigger carry-on bag or a checked bag, you have additional fees based on size and weight.
This can make airfare unavailable to a majority of people.
Always Surrounded by People
When you fly on a plane, you don’t get space for yourself. Unless you pay extra, you can expect to get seated in a middle seat, with a person on either side of you. You will probably end up with no legroom or arm room.
For shorter flights, this can be bearable, but for flights that last several hours, you may start to feel claustrophobic and cramped before the flight comes to an end.
Flights leave at set times throughout the day or week depending on the departure and destitnation airport. You may need to leave hours or even a full day earlier to ensure you arrive to your destination for your event or for work. Flight times are not always conveniently suited to your schedule.
Sometimes this means you have to take a flight at midnight, or early in the morning. You also have to get to the airport several hours in advance to check in and make sure you have time to get to your gate. Often times, you end up wasting several hours just trying to get through the airport, time that could be spent doing something else.
If there are delays, you can easily miss your flight or your deadline entirely, and you don’t have much of a say in when you get to leave if your flight is rescheduled.
Many flights also involve a layover. While this can be a good opportunity to stretch your legs and get some food, it can waste a lot of time and make your flight much longer than it has to be.
Additionally, the layovers themselves can be somewhat stressful. Depending on where you are going, you may have a quick layover that causes you to run from one side of the airport to the other in a short amount of time or risk missing your next flight. Or you may be waiting around for several hours with nothing to do, but not enough time to go and explore the city.
Can’t Take a Break During Long Flights
When you are tired of sitting and stretching your legs, there isn’t much you can do in an airplane. You may be able to walk to the bathroom and back, but that is about it. This can make you uncomfortable after a few hours and lead to pain in your legs, back, and rear.
When you travel quickly to a different time zone, it is common to experience jet lag. The most common side effect of jet lag is feeling tired or having an irregular sleep schedule for a while.
However, the further away from your normal time zone you go, the more likely you are to experience more severe side effects, like diarrhea, confusion, anxiety, nausea, and constipation.
Dehydration is also a common problem on an airplane. Even if you drink a lot of water during and before your arrival, you can still experience dehydration. Most air, unless you live in a very dry area, has a humidity of somewhere between 30% and 65% on average. However, planes use recycled air, which only has a humidity of 10% to 20%.
This lack of humidity in the air can lead to a dry throat, eyes, and a greater chance of catching other illnesses in flight. Coffee, alcohol, and tea can also make you more dehydrated, since they are natural diuretics, so make sure you are focusing on drinking mostly water even if these other beverages are offered during your flight.
Increased Blood Pressure
Even in a pressurized cabin, you are experiencing a difference in air pressure. This pressure means that your body is carrying less oxygen, which increases your blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is normal, or naturally low, you won’t notice much of a difference, but if your blood pressure is already a little high, you can have a chance of developing hypertension, heart failure, coronary artery disease, and more. Moving around on the plane when you can, and avoiding things that can worsen your blood pressure like salty snacks and alcohol, can help to protect you.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
When you sit down without moving for too long, you are at risk of developing something known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is when a blood clot forms in veins that are deep in the leg. The risk is higher when you have varicose veins.
Normally the risk is minimal, and you can reduce the risk by wearing loose clothing and moving and massaging your legs often. However, the risk is always there, and the more often you fly, the higher the risk becomes.
It’s not the flying but the lack of movement that increases the risk and since there is such limited space to move on the plane, the risk can be greater.
While some of these risks are common any time you travel or sit for a long time, riding in a car can be a bit easier on our mind and body. If you need to travel out of a major city, like New York City, there are options like a long distance car service NYC. These can be tailored to your schedule, you have more space to yourself, and the trips are often shorter, especially when you consider the time it takes to get through security and deal with layovers.