Work Flight or Chill Flight: How to Maximize Your Time in the Air

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Digital illustration by Michael Saintil/ONE37pm

If you’ve ever missed a flight by mere minutes, exceeded the luggage weight limit, or been forced to use in-flight peanuts as a meal replacement, you understand the importance of being prepared for a flight. But the steps you take and the way you pack shouldn’t be a one size fits all routine. If you really want to make the most out of your time in the air, it helps to pick a lane. Will you be caffeinating or drinking, working or watching TV, digging deep or nodding off?

Once you know the answer to that question, every packing decision gets easier and every flight becomes more enjoyable. Here, a prep list for both travel modes. Now all you have to do is make sure you actually leave for the airport on time.

The Work Flight

Crush that PowerPoint presentation, get back down to inbox zero, write a killer proposal. It’s all possible from 30,000 feet—provided you dress and pack for success.

The Prep Work: Tech Troubleshooting

Make sure your devices are fully charged and that you have work you can do even if the wifi happens to be down. Because it happens—all the time.

The Fit: Minimalist King

Your style goal for a work flight is comfortable, simple and stain-proof. Try a black or navy cashmere sweater, drawstring trousers and a luxe, easy-access tote.

The Treat: Luxe Trail Mix

Indulge without sending yourself into a full-on food coma with fancy trail mix, a healthy snack bar, or some chocolate covered almonds.

The Bevvy: Coffee and H2O

Coffee will help you stay awake and on task, water will make sure you don’t walk off the plane looking and feeling like a dried apricot.

The Gadget: Noise-Canceling Headphones

Because the chances of being near an unruly toddler, loud chewer, or the flight’s resident pick-up artist are too high to risk going without.

The Comfort: Fancy Socks

Wear these personal clouds with a pair of sneakers or loafers you can discreetly slip off under the seat in front of you.

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Michael Saintil/ONE37pm

The Chill Flight

Maybe you’re on the red-eye, maybe you’re on vacation, maybe you could just really use a few hours to reset and recharge. Whatever the reason, if you’re going to chill, go all the way.

The Prep Work: Physical Exertion

Whether at work or the gym—ideally at both—grind hard before your flight so that when it’s time to relax, your body and mind are 100 percent ready.

The Treat: Grooming Goods

Celebrities do sheet masks on airplanes, but that shit is crazy. Still, pampering isn’t out of the question. Try this traveling balm, which hydrates skin and wards off irritants.

The Bevvy: Night, Night Juice

Avoid sugary sodas and caffeine that’ll keep you awake and indulge in a beverage that’ll put you in the lowest-key mode. Red wine, beer, chamomile tea—pick your poison.

The Gadget: A Tablet

Load your personal tablet up with exactly what you want to watch to avoid “Sorry, our in-flight entertainment is down” heartbreak.

The Comfort: Neck Pillow Set

Muji’s neck pillows are about as stylish as such a thing can possibly get, and this one even comes with a hood so you can cover your eyes. Now that’s dope.

The Fit: Streetwear God

If there is a time and place to wear sweats in public, this is it. Complete the vibe with a long-sleeve graphic T-shirt, dope sneakers, and a backpack to match.

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