By now it's no mystery that flying, a modern marvel of convenience, is nonetheless stressful enough to make you look and feel your worst. A number of factors make it particularly miserable: seat recliners, bin hogs, crying babies, airplane Wi-Fi. Mostly, it's the airlines' fault. Since 1985 the average amount of legroom in coach has withered from 33in to 31; the average seat width has shrunk from 20in to 17.5. Meanwhile the average plane has gone from 61.4% full to 83.8%. You don’t need to be John Nash to know more people plus less room is an equation for stress.
But just as you crank up the easy-listening station to make it through your workday, there are things you can do to chill out when you fly. We talked to Mandy Walker of Consumer Reports and assembled few helpful pointers to reduce the stress of air travel.
Get TSA PreCheck
Ya tú sabes. Beginning your trip by shuffling through a security line with a 40lb duffle bag on your shoulder means you'll probably need a massage before you even get to the gate. It's a drum we keep beating: sign up for PreCheck. The lines are typically shorter, always move faster, and allow you to skip through security with your shoes on, your laptop in your bag, and no sorta-naked images of you scanned to some creepy back room.