My Seat Pocket Packing List

Someone recently asked me to share a list of items I take on the airplane when I’m traveling. Not my luggage, but all the things I take in my carry-on to make the flight more comfortable. (They know me so well!) This, of course, is not an exhaustive list and I’m, by no means, an expert. But since I was asked, here are the things I can’t fly without! 

Seat Pocket Bag (SPB) – I always try to pack items I’m going to want on the flight into a flat bag that will fit in the seat pocket in front of me. That way I can put my backpack and purse under the seat and then don’t have to pull them out and dig through them constantly. Any sort of magazine-sized flat bag or pouch will work. I use one that I got when a friend was selling Thirty-One products. It’s like this one. I’ve used the larger one of this pack before. Clutch purses like this one are often a great size for this also (and you can often find them on sale at department stores AND use them as a clutch at your final destination!) 

So the following are items that I have in my SPB to use during the flight to have close-by in case I need it! (And, yes, I have a master checklist that I use every time I pack.) 

  1. Portable Charger – This is like the one I currently use. I LOVE that the cables are built-in! So no extra cables that take up space. If it’s an extra long flight, I’ll make sure I have two.
  2. Ginger Chews – I always have ginger chews in my purse for health reasons, but they work great for anyone on a flight. They are great for nausea so if you’re prone to slight motion sickness this is a great item to have on hand. But it’s also good to have if you start coughing or if you just need something to suck on or chew. I usually buy my favorites at Trader Joe’s, but these are similar
  3. Snack and a Drink – Kid’s Clif Bar, Clif Bar Minis or pick a snack that works for you. I often can’t have the snacks they pass out on a flight. But even if you can, sometimes turbulence keeps them from making the rounds. So if it’s a longer flight, you forgot to eat, or need to eat something when you take medicine, it’s good to have something easy to grab and eat. That’s why I also always buy a bottled water or ginger ale in the terminal before boarding. The bottle doesn’t fit in my SPB, but it will usually fit in the pocket.
  4. Medicine – So speaking of medicine . . . let’s talk about that! Everyone knows to make sure you take any medicines with you on the plane in case your luggage is lost. I’m not suggesting that you put all the medicine in your SPB, but if there’s any medicine you may need while you’re on the flight, put a dose in a small container. You can buy all kinds of small pill boxes, but I just use one of those travel tubes you can find for Tylenol or Advil like this
  5. Hand Sanitizer – For obvious reasons . . . of course. I use the smallest bottle I’ve ever been able to find (.5 oz, which takes some hunting) and just re-fill it. Remember, the point is to have small items so that it will all fit in the seat pocket. I have a larger one that I keep in my suitcase. Purell Singles are also perfect for this!
  6. Anti-bacterial Wipes – Yes, I was one of those people BEFORE the pandemic so this was always on my list. I wipe down my tray, seat arms, and window. I put two of these individual packs in my bag. I was doing this before the pandemic, and I won’t stop now. 
  7. Tissues – Nothing is worse than needing to blow your nose or wipe away tears from that sad movie and not having a tissue! I usually buy these and take out one side so that it doesn’t take up much space.
  8. My Neighbor Stinks – We’ve all heard stories about fellow passengers that make the whole plane, well, stink! Whether it’s body odor, bad breath, food smells, etc. I’ve had a few experiences with that. Again, you can do a variety of things to help that, but I always carry a Vicks Inhaler. It’s not obtrusive for all the other passengers, but it helps get another smell in your nose. This Aromatherapy Balm is on my list to try one day. On my last trip I took these Lavender wipes, so they do double duty! They were great for sanitizing but also for a calming scent.
  9. Lip Balm – My lips are dry all the time so I always have some sort of lip balm close by. I always have my R+F Lip Shield within reach!
  10. Hair Tie – Not everyone needs this, but you know if you do! 
  11. Headphones – I know lots of people have the large Bose or other noise cancelling headphones. I had some I used for a while, but in order to reduce how much stuff I take on a trip I’ve changed what I use. Also, those large headphones in a large case don’t fit in my SPB! Many people don’t need noise cancelling and their normal earbuds work and that’s great! But I need to have some cancelling power! For almost two years I watched for any special discounts on the Apple Airpods with noise cancelling, and my patience paid off. I got them for $100 off and they really are worth it, in my opinion. And I got this case to help protect them. While I was stalking the deals and waiting on Airpods, my husband had a pair of earbuds he wasn’t using, and they worked well. Less money, less space, worked great, etc.! These are similar to what I used of his.
  12. Old Phone – So that I don’t run the battery down on my phone, I use an old phone for listening to music, reading books, watching movies, playing Solitaire, or connecting to the plane’s wifi to watch TV. Some people use their iPad for that, so make sure your SPB will hold your iPad, reader, etc. 
  13. Batteries – If anything in your SPB requires batteries (headphones), be sure to pack extra. Again, you’re trying to minimize getting out other stuff and digging around for what you need.
  14. Credit Card – Most flights have snacks, lunchboxes, and drinks for sale. If you plan to partake, make sure you have a credit card in your SPB
  15. Extra Masks – This wasn’t on my original list, but of course for a time we were all wearing masks. I still usually wear a mask every time I fly . . . simply because I really don’t want to catch someone’s cold, flu, or COVID. But even if you don’t currently wear a mask when flying, I would recommend that you put one in your SPB in case you happen to sit by someone who is hacking all over the place. I’d rather not be trapped next to that and not have a mask! So make sure to put an extra mask (or two) in your SPB. (Have you ever sneezed in your mask? Trust me, you’ll want to trade out!) There are masks all over now, but these disposable ones are my favorite. There are a bit more expensive, but they are high quality K94 masks and the best part is that they have an adjustable loop on your face and ear.

Other Items – Here are some items that people often need on flights, but they aren’t things I’ve learned that I need so they aren’t on my list. However, you may want them:

  • Book/Magazine – I put these on my old phone
  • Eye drops – some people have problems with dry eyes in the air 
  • Eye Mask – I take one on long flights or overnight flights.
  • Earplugs – I’ve got my Airpods for that
  • Notebook, paper, pen – some people like to take notes or write in flight

So all those items are in my SPB. The only other things I may have close by that don’t fit in my SPB are a blanket and pillow. You won’t often see me with a pillow on a flight. It’s one more thing I have to carry, and I don’t want to do that. IF it’s a really long flight, then I may take a travel pillow with me.

However, I will often have something to cover up with if I get cold. It’s likely I’m gonna be cold on a flight, no matter the season! If it’s winter I will usually try to wear my short down coat because it can be stuffed anywhere, it can be rolled up as a pillow if I wish, I can cover up with it, etc. If it’s a warmer month, I still wear a sweater or hoodie. If I don’t need it, I can always lay it across my lap. But I DO make sure I wear it or have it close by because the point for me is to not have to dig through my bags for anything! I also often wear a larger scarf that I can wrap around tighter if I get cold. I usually choose a window seat and they can be colder. 

So that’s it! I know there are other circumstances that may make this list not work for you. I also know many people aren’t concerned about having everything at their fingertips and getting out their carry-on to find what they need is no big deal. I just don’t like the hassle. But YOU do YOU!


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1 comment on “My Seat Pocket Packing List

  1. Love your list! I have many of these items in my backpack but like the idea of a SPB!!

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