How to have the most uncomfortable flight ever

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If you’re so much as a bi-annual traveler, chances are you’ve read your fair share of listicles on how to make your flight more comfortable (rolling your hoodie into a pillow, bringing a sleeping mask and scoring a seat right behind first class spring to mind). But what you may not know is there are equally as many—if not more—ways to make your flight sufficiently uncomfortable.

From what not to wear to what not to bring to where not to sit, here’s how to have the most uncomfortable flight ever — if you’re in a masochistic mood, or are just looking for something to complain about upon landing, read on.

Double-check that all of your heaviest stuff is in your carry-on

Pack all your heaviest items in your carry-on
Brett Jordan, The stuff I carry around, August 2013 via Flickr (CC By 2.0)

We’re talking hardcover books. Blow dryers. Camera equipment. And you never know when you’ll need a paperweight to combat a particularly gusty overhead fan. Pack your carry-on to it’s fullest and remember to stick it under the seat in front of you, so that it eats into your leg room for the duration of your flight. Just try to dig your Kindle out of the bottom of that sucker.

Don’t pack compression socks

In fact, don’t pack any socks at all. Enjoy the tingling sensation as cold sweat fills your soles, and the personal slip n’ slide that ensues when you stand to use the washroom.

Wear jeans or shorts, or jean shorts

Wear jorts
Prayitno, Hot & Sexy via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Always opt for a starchy, stiff fabric when traveling. Denim in the form of skinny jeans, overalls or very small shorts is the way to go — or, if you have one on hand, a nice tweed ensemble.

And remember to always, always wear a belt

Preferably one that fits snugly around the waist, or better yet, cinches just under the rib cage. Not only will it make going through airport security checkpoints an unnecessary hassle, but a strip of taut, unforgiving leather digging into your stomach for hours is always a surefire way to have an uncomfortable flight (fasten it a notch tighter than usual—it’s like a second seatbelt).

Ladies, ignore Oprah—wear those heels

You never know who you’ll meet on the plane, and you’re going to want to be dressed to the Boeing 787-9s. And what looks better at 30,000 feet than a pair of fire-engine red stilettos? Thank us after you go through a stretch of turbulence while you’re trying to get your laptop out of an overhead bin.

Request a seat in the back row

Back row of the plane
Matthew Hurst, Airplane seating via Flickr (CC by-SA 2.0)

You’re not really flying unless you’re feeling every bump and air pocket in its fullest form, and the best place to do so is at the back of the plane. You’ll be the last to board and the last one off the flight — perfect for those who really like to milk that experience of getting in and out of a chair. And the perks don’t stop there: you’ll be seated directly beside the bathroom, so not only will you have immediate intel when the sign switches to “vacant,” but you’ll also have prime people-watching when the lineup forms directly beside you after the fasten seatbelt sign turns off (not to mention intimate knowledge of everyone else’s digestive cycles).

Or better yet, don’t choose a seat

You’re a spontaneous person. You like surprises, right? Play a little mental game of “Guess Who” at your gate—”will I be sandwiched between the bickering couple, or seated beside the colicky infant?” It’s a foolproof way to kick your trip off with a story (and speaking of kick, that woman behind you looks like Sally Seat-kicker if we ever saw one). May the odds be ever in your favor.

Always remember to pack your headphones and chargers in your checked luggage

Takumi Yoshida, Hmm headphones via Flickr (CC by 2.0)
Takumi Yoshida, Hmm headphones via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

That way, it’ll force you to unplug for all 23 hours of your flight to Singapore. You’ll get off the plane feeling relaxed, recharged and at least ten years older.

Search for flights to Singapore

Forget your sweater at your gate.

If there are two places to forget to bring a sweater, it’s a movie theater and an airplane. Not only will you have nothing to roll up into a makeshift pillow, but you also won’t be able to sleep a wink. Which is totally fine for you, because who doesn’t love marathoning re-runs of “The Big Bang Theory” while cuddled up under a blanket of cool recirculated air?

Do not check ahead to see what the in-flight entertainment system requirements are

In-flight entertainment
Calgary Reviews, Lufthansa Day Time On Board in Cabin via Flickr (CC By 2.0)

If you need to download an app to watch movies, you want to find out about this immediately after take-off, so you’re competing with 103 other passengers for Wi-Fi as you try to navigate your way through the App Store mid-flight.

Main image: istockphoto/Izabela Habur

How to have the most uncomfortable flight ever was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Chelsey Burnside
Author: Chelsey Burnside (22 posts)

Chelsey is a travel, fashion and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Her work also appears in The Coveteur, The Ottawa Citizen, The Toronto Star and various notebooks left in airports.