Air Travel

How to beat jet lag

Have you ever found yourself googling for ‘How To Beat Jet Lag‘ at 3am? Perhaps this post will provide some answers.There’s no way to turn this around: jet lag is tough, and all pilots and flight attendants have been through it. From insomnia, exhaustion, dizziness and so many other more symptoms, jet lag can really get a grasp on your wellbeing and comfort.

Going through so many time zones on such short notice can be exhausting and make you dread long distance travelling, but there’s no need to get to this point because there are many valuable tricks on how to make sure you keep this jet lag far, far away from you.

If you’ve never understood what options are available to you, to keep yourself feeling good while passing through different time zones, there’s surely someone out there who has given it a lot of thought and trial: experienced aircrew members!!

Here is the most precious advice that the world’s most experienced jet lag fighters could give you!

How To Beat Jet Lag

  1. Check which way around the world you’ll be flying.

The first thing in efficiently addressing jet lag is knowing if you’re flying West or East.  Studies have shown that it’s easier to adjust to flying west rather than east, so if East is your direction, make an effort to wake up as early as possible in the days before your flight and try to stay away from light as much as you can. When you arrive, try to let as much light in – this will make your internal clock adjust faster. If instead you are heading west, you should do the opposite and try to stay up as late as possible for the days before your flight and soak as much light as you can.

  1. Exercise and drink a lot of water.

Another thing all experienced aircrew members advise you to do is to make sure you exercise and stay hydrated. Getting those endorphins flowing through your bloodstream is a good way to keep your body not only in a state of flow but also to enable it to restore its natural balance. So the next time you’re getting ready for a long distance flight, stick to a workout routine in the days before your trip and also, maintain that routine for a at least a short while after you land. Keeping your body active and hydrated are the basics for it to be able to adjust to such intense changes.

  1. Skip the caffeine.

This is a tough one for many. You might even ask, wait, doesn’t caffeine help me stay awake when I need to? It does, but when your body is under such stressful changes, caffeine only brings more turmoil to your system. If there’s anything you should give more consideration to instead of simply resorting to caffeine and ending up with headaches and even stronger discomfort, it’s making friends with supplements such as synthetic melatonin.  This hormone can really do wonders for resetting your body’s natural sleep cycle and to help you adapt to the time zone.

  1. Don’t forget your eye mask.

Aircrew members love eye masks, and the reason is a very simple one: when your body is confused about whether it’s time to sleep or not, you can simply push the switch button whenever you want. Another valuable insight? Give in to sleep whenever you body craves for it, regardless of whether it sounds like a reasonable idea or not. Remember, your body is going through some quite rough patches with all these changes, so it’s only fair you give it time to process everything and sleep through the exhaustion. After all, your body does know best.

  1. Stick to your meal times.

This one applies especially for short trips, as it assures that you won’t have to put your body through too many changes in such short notice. If everything else changes around you and your inner clock is turned upside down, you can give your body some comfort by allowing it to stick to its normal meal times, even if it means you’ll have to have lunch at midnight. This way, you won’t have to readjust to your body’s meal routine once you come back home.

When you’re just starting out in the aviation industry, jet lag can seem like a colossal challenge, but with the right tips you can learn how to beat it and stay fresh regardless of the time zones.

Do you have any tips? Share them in the comments below.

In this post I’m going to list carbon offset airlines i.e. those that have carbon offsetting schemes as well as other ways of compensating for the environmental impact of your travel choices. Most people are familiar carbon offsetting but for those of you who aren’t here is a brief explanation.

Carbon offsetting is the process of making financial payments to projects and schemes that compensate for the carbon footprint that results from your habits and lifestyle, in this case air travel. It needn’t be just for air travel of course, you could also participate in carbon offsetting if you travel by sea, by road, or not at all.

If you live off-grid in a tipi then your carbon footprint is going to be very low. On the other hand, if your drive a diesel car and jet around the world on business several times a year then your footprint is going to be considerably larger. Whatever the size of your personal or your company’s carbon footprint you can offset your impact by sending voluntary donations to, for example, projects that siphon off methane gas at a landfill site, or a project that helps distribute environmentally friendly cooking stoves, or any other project that helps to lessen the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

IATA, the International Air Transport Association, describes it thus, “Carbon offsetting is simply a way for individuals or organizations, in this case airline passengers and corporate customers, to “neutralize” their proportion of an aircraft’s carbon emissions on a particular journey by investing in carbon reduction projects.”

carbon offset airlines

The IATA website then goes on to say that “over 30 IATA member airlines have introduced an offset program either integrated into their web-sales engines or to a third party offset provider.”

It may be a voluntary contribution at the end of the checkout process or the offset payment may be built into the price. Either way the money you pay goes to support low carbon, energy efficiency, educational, or renewable energy projects all over the world. If your airline doesn’t have such a scheme you can still participate in carbon offsetting by making a payment using an offsetting website.

Critics of carbon offsetting have suggested that it simply encourages people to continue to waste resources and even worsens the effect by making people even more complacent, but others point out that it increases awareness and leads to a change in habits and lifestyle that reduces a person’s overall carbon footprint. In the meantime, if you want or need to travel by air then you have this choice.

Carbon Offset Airlines

So here’s a list of airlines that have some kind of carbon offsetting scheme.

  • Air Canada has set up partnership with Less Emissions (www.less.ca) to provide offsets.
  • Air France have a carbon offset program that supports solar stoves in Bolivia and other projects.
  • Air New Zealand provides its offsetting through a partnership with ClimateCare to fund both domestic and international projects. Alaska Airlines have a scheme in partnership with Carbonfund.org which allows you to offset some or the entire carbon footprint of your flight.
  • Austrian Airlines’ partners are Climate Austria (www.climateaustria.at).
  • British Airways give their customers the option to choose whether to donate in support of projects in the UK and Africa.
  • Brussels Airlines have partnered with CO2logic to fund water treatment in Kenya and energy efficient cooking stoves in Uganda.
  • Cathay Pacific has a program called Fly Greener which supports several projects.
  • China Airlines have also partnered with ClimateCare to help environmentally friendly projects.
  • Delta Airlines give passengers the choice to support one of three of The Nature Conservancy’s carbon offsetting projects.
  • EVA Air is another of ClimateCare’s airline partners.
  • Finnair have a scheme that supports energy efficient cooking stoves in Mozambique.
  • Harbour Air Seaplanes are a fully carbon neutral airline and they’ve celebrated 10 years of offsetting in partnership with the Offsetters organisation (www.offsetters.ca).
  • Japan Airlines give their support direct to two projects without an intermediary.
  • JetBlue have also partnered with Carbonfund.org.
  • JetStar Airways have a scheme called Fly Carbon Neutral Program and it’s available to all passengers travelling on Jetstar Airways (JQ) and Jetstar Pacific (BL) flights.
  • Kenya Airways have a Quality Assured Standard (QAS) approved program supporting a project called the Kasigau Corridor.
  • KLM offer a carbon compensation service called CO2Zero which is voluntary and can be included in your online booking.
  • Lufthansa have partnered with MyClimate (more details below) to support two projects, one of which provides solar powered lighting in Ethiopia.
  • Mango Air of South Africa also has a Quality Assured Standard (QAS) approved program supporting a project in Ghana.
  • Nature Air of Costa Rica is the world’s first carbon neutral airline having achieved the status in 2004.
  • Qantas have been providing carbon offsetting for over ten years and their arrangement is called Qantas Future Planet.
  • Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) compensate for the carbon footprint of their flights with the help of Natural Capital Partners.
  • SriLankan Airlines’ FlyGreen program provides support for small hydropower plants in Sri Lanka.
  • South African Airways are another supporter of the Gyapa project in Ghana through their optional donations.
  • Swiss Air support biomass and cooking stove projects through their optional donation scheme.
  • TAP Air Portugal support a project called Ecomapua in Brazil through their voluntary payment service.
  • Thai Airways also invite you to make a donation at the checkout, and their program is audited by the Carbon Offset Approval Scheme of United Kingdom.
  • Tigerair give you the option to make a donation to the Fly Carbon Neutral scheme.
  • United Airlines have a program called Eco-Skies CarbonChoice, which they say, “…provides customers with the opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint associated with their air travel through the purchase of carbon offsets”.
  • Virgin Atlantic announced a new carbon offsetting partnership with ClimateCare in March 2019.
  • Virgin Australia have also celebrated over ten years of carbon offsetting and the payment can be built into the ticket price if you so choose.
  • Westjet support a biomass energy project called Toronto Organics through a third party partnership.

If your airline doesn’t have a publicised carbon offsetting arrangement it could still be making a contribution through other means. If you would prefer to calculate your carbon footprint independently of any airline ticketing price, then there are ways to do so.

Carbon Offset Calculations

MyClimate.org has an easy to use calculator that tells you how much carbon dioxide your journey will generate whether you travel by aircraft, ship, or motor car. The website says that the maximum amount of CO2 a person should produce per year in order to halt climate change is 0.6 tonnes, but the amount of CO2 a citizen of the EU produces each year on average is 8.4 tonnes.

Therefore, an economy class flight for two people from London, Gatwick to Rome will generate 1.2 tonnes of CO2, so they suggest an offset of £25 for projects. A business class flight for two people from London, Heathrow to New York will generate 8.0 tonnes of CO2, so the suggestion is a minimum of £171 for projects. The project might be to help smallhold farmers in Nicaragua with reforestation or an education project teaching young people about climate change.

Similar sites and schemes include the aforementioned Carbonfund.org.

You see, there are ways in which you can make a positive contribution to combating climate change while still enjoying air travel. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight while work continues into developing cleaner biofuels and better batteries. We may not yet be flying around in electrically powered aircraft using electricity generated from sustainable sources, but they are coming.

In the meantime you can still use air travel and help with all kinds of environmental projects, and if you’re still not convinced then fly less often but don’t forget that your trips by road or sea will also have a carbon cost.

Airline's popular flights: British Airways

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In this post I’m going to introduce you to Solent Airport. This fast developing airfield is one to note for several types of aviators. It’s becoming the airfield of choice in the South of England due to its facilities, road links to surrounding cities and business areas, and its proximity to northern France. For business and commercial flyers it is close to the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth, with London only 20 minutes away by helicopter.

Solent Airport, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire

For leisure and recreational flyers it is close to the Isle of Wight and several other airfields in Hampshire and West Sussex. For student pilots on training flights in the south of England it makes an ideal destination. Being on the coast with several prominent landmarks and coastal features nearby, it’s easy to find.

From spring until the autumn you’ll often see Spitfires owned and operated by the Boultbee Flying Academy land at the airport to conduct pleasure and training flights. Boultbee are based at Goodwood Airfield in West Sussex but this former RAF base (Westhampnet) has grass runways so they sometimes bring the aircraft up to Solent to take use the hard runway and the facilities. It also provides a convenient pick-up and dropping off point for customers and gives onlookers an opportunity to see the aircraft close up.

Solent Airport & Fareham Borough Council

Solent Airport is owned by Fareham Borough Council and they’ve invested millions into the development of this airfield. It is Fareham Borough Council’s vision that has resulted in the business growth and the community amenities the airport provides. Unlike other airports in the region there are no slot limitations, making Solent Airport well placed to meet all your travel needs. Staffed by dedicated teams of professionals and with competitive fuel and handling fees, Solent Airport should be high on your list of next airfields to visit.

Solent Airport is within the Daedalus Enterprise Zone, the largest employment site within the area. The zone contains two new business parks, Faraday and Swordfish, providing businesses with room in which to grow and to develop. Daedalus is set to become the premier location for aviation, aerospace engineering, and advanced manufacturing businesses in the South. With the public open spaces, proximity to the sea, walkways and picnic areas, staff and employees can enjoy an exceptional quality of life.

Formerly the Fleet Air Arm’s HMS Daedalus, Solent Airport is situated between the villages of Stubbington to the west and Lee-on-the-Solent to the east. To the south, a few hundred yards from the threshold of runway 05, is the shore of the Solent, the sea strait that separates the Isle of Wight from mainland England. Having booked in, pilots and passengers can walk to the sea shore from the control tower in a matter of minutes. A few hundred yards from the threshold of runway 05 is the slipway from which the Fleet Air Arm’s seaplanes were launched and which later was in use by hovercraft, some of which can be seen in a museum nearby.

The airport is still being developed and recently the recreational area to the north of the airfield was constructed and landscaped. New hangars have been built to add to those already in place and events that would be of interest to both aviators and the wider community are being planned. The airfield’s long history since 1917 is being preserved by its continuance and by a local association, the Daedalus Aviation & Heritage Group (an amalgamation of the Gosport Aviation Society and the Lee Flying Association).

For more information for visiting pilots and for details about busines potential please visit solentairport.co.uk.

To contact the airport Handling Team call 0044 (0)1329 824 749 or email corporate@solentairport.co.uk.

Have you visited Solent Airport? Post a comment below with your feedback about this airfield.

In this post I give a description of clear air turbulence and why it’s important that you follow the instructions of the pilot and cabin crew during flights.

Clear Air Turbulence, or CAT for short, is an aviation phenomenon that can suddenly occur in cloudless areas, causing a buffeting effect on aircraft. It can happen in the absence of any visual clues like clouds and is most prevalent during the winter months of the year, particularly when flying through jet streams. CAT is different from other forms of air turbulence experienced when flying in an aircraft because it isn’t associated with cumuliform clouds, including thunderstorms. Also, CAT typically occurs when flying above 15,000 feet.

Clear Air Turbulence Explained

There are two types of CAT:

  • Mechanical CAT – disruption to the smooth flow of horizontal air.
  • Thermal CAT – vertical currents of air in unstable atmospheric conditions.

Mechanical CAT is when the air near to the ground traverses over things like buildings, hills, and mountains. Thus, the smooth flow of horizontal air gets disrupted and can be felt several thousand feet above those disruptions.

Thermal CAT is also known as convective CAT and occurs on warm, sunny days when the sun heats the Earth’s surface unevenly. Some surfaces get heated more rapidly than others, resulting in isolated convective currents. In layman’s terms, warm air rises while cooler air descends, resulting in turbulence.

What Causes Clear Air Turbulence?

There are typically three primary sources of clear air turbulence that you’re likely to experience while flying in an aircraft: jet streams, the terrain below the plane, and thunderstorm complexes.

Jet streams are narrow yet fast-moving currents of air that can be found at around 36,000 feet on average. At the poles, jet streams are usually 20,000 feet in the air, while over the Equator, jet streams are as high as 60,000 feet high.

Another leading cause of CAT is due to high ground disturbing the flow of air. The terrain at ground level can cause various intensities of CAT, depending on the terrain roughness, the curvature of contours, and so forth.

Thunderstorm complexes, also known as cumulonimbus cells, produce strong vertical currents of air. The thick and dense cumulonimbus clouds provide the ideal conditions for thunderstorms to occur.

When are you likely to experience CAT?

Flying in an aircraft that crosses a jet stream is one way of increaseing the likelihood of experiencing CAT. The probability increases if you’re flying at an altitude of around 36,000 feet or at lower elevations while flying downwind from mountain ranges, for example. Sometimes even if you’re flying approximately 20 miles from a visible thunderstorm complex, you can experience CAT due to severe thunderstorms.

What happens when you experience CAT during a flight?

When clear air turbulence occurs both the cabin crew and passengers will be asked to fasten their seatbelts as doing so lessens the risk of injuries. In extreme cases of CAT, unsecured objects in the cabin may end up getting strewn across the aircraft. It’s for that reason the cabin crew always requests that items get stowed underneath passenger seats or in the overhead lockers.

The correct storage of personal belongings ensures that injury to people from turbulence during flights is minimal. Cabin crew check where passengers have placed their belongings to proactively prevent injuries in unforeseen air turbulence.

What should you do during CAT?

If you suddenly experience aircraft turbulence, the air crew will immediately request that all passengers fasten their seatbelts. The cabin crew will also ask all standing passengers, including those using the washrooms, to return to their seats and buckle up. Should you have any hand luggage out, be sure to secure it under your seat or in an overhead locker.

It’s also vital that you secure anything loose on your fold-out table, such as laptops, food, drink, etc to prevent injuries to yourself and other passengers and to the crew.

In times of severe CAT, pilots may resort to descending the aircraft to lower altitudes to lessen the impact.

Can pilots detect and avoid CAT?

Clear air turbulence can sometimes be impossible to detect as it’s a phenomenon that isn’t visible to the naked eye. The good news is airlines are investing in technology that can help pilots to detect areas of the sky where there is an extremely high likelihood of experiencing CAT.

Some airlines, such as Hawaiian Airlines, use global turbulence modelling systems to help lessen the risk of pilots flying into CAT hotspots. Other ways that clear air turbulence can get detected are with optical instruments such as scintillometers and Doppler LIDAR.

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