Plane-ride essentials can lend comfort

  • November 10, 2012 - 2:13 PM

When does donning a sleep mask and popping in earplugs qualify as dressing for success? When you're on a full airliner and nighttime has fallen.

As we approach the busy holiday travel season, I asked several frequent fliers what they carry aboard. Here's what they revealed:

Bill Ward, who jets to California and European wine countries and writes about wine in Taste, always brings earplugs "to filter out crying babies and neighboring yakkers, and it helps keep those ridiculously loud PA announcements from being so jarring." His iPod earbuds work in a pinch. If traveling during mealtime, he brings a sandwich, since "airplane food is a pox on humanity." Also on his list are magazines that he can ditch once he's read, ibuprofen, lip balm to ward off the notorious airplane dryness, breath spray and a neck pillow, which he more often uses to soften the seat than to curl around his neck.

On the must-have list of Dee DePass, who has winged to Asia with the governor, are earplugs, gum, a blazer and cozy socks.

Pam Louwagie, who has written about the Galapagos Islands for Travel and is prepping a story about her trip to Nepal, never boards a plane without a toothbrush. "Especially on longer flights, it always feels good to brush my teeth before landing."

As the Travel editor, I take to the skies, too. But never without a bottle of water (purchased at a store after I've passed through security) and my smartphone, which has my airline phone number programmed in, and, more important, soothing music to listen to once we're airborne.

Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.

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