How Sabra Lane Avoids Sleeping in the Plane


For the new host of ABC Radio’s AM program, nothing beats reading a good book midair, except scoring a seat next to a beloved Australian author.

Do you have a packing routine?

I take a strict view when I’m packing for work. I usually pack clothes like jackets into cells and hang them as soon as I get to the location so they’re not creased. If I’m going on holidays, I try to take wash-and-wear pieces and roll them up – ironing is my least favourite chore.

So, no linen?

No linen. I challenge myself to get through weeks without pulling out an iron.

Is there an item you always take with you?

A second pair of prescription glasses. It’s one of those things where it’s better to be prepared than sorry. And I always make sure I have an SPF moisturiser.

Do you have a pre-flight routine?

Just checking that I’ve got my credit card and passport if I’m heading overseas. I also make sure I take a good book with me.

What was the last book you read on a plane?

I’ve read quite a few books lately and many of them were done in snatches while travelling. The Course of Love, by Alain
de Botton, and Ali Smith’s Autumn were the most recent.

Do you ever watch movies?

No, I tend to read. If my flight is for work, I’m usually reading research. On longer flights, I might listen to music on my MP3 player. I have a broad taste in music so anything from the Dixie Chicks to Xavier Rudd to some Norwegian singers. Many moons ago, I was an exchange student in Norway and I still have an interest in that country’s music.

Do you have a go-to outfit for flying?

I dress comfortably in light pants and flat shoes. I tend to layer up because it can get quite cold. I make sure my comfortable clothes aren’t daggy and that they actually look all right!

No tracksuit pants with holes, then?

Definitely no trackpants!

Do you enjoy flying?

I do enjoy short flights. Long-haul flights are different but I love looking at the “patchwork quilt” below and soaking it up. I find it gives me wanderlust.

Do you sleep much on long-haul flights?

I avoid sleeping because I got a deep vein thrombosis on the last long-haul flight
I took. I wasn’t in a risk group but my doctor thinks it was caused by falling asleep with my legs crossed. Now I do everything to avoid sleep, such as sitting in an aisle seat so I can get up and walk around and drinking plenty of water.

Does that make your jet lag worse?

I’ve learned to deal with it. On long flights, I avoid coffee, tea and alcohol and stick to water and light meals that I try to eat at the times I’d be eating at my destination.

Do you talk to other passengers?

It depends. When I’m travelling with a friend or my partner, we’ll talk and read. Many years ago, I ended up sitting next
to the [late] author Bryce Courtenay. That was the quickest flight I ever had because it was just nonstop chatting. It was a terrific conversation I’ll always remember.

What luck!

Incredible luck! He started the conversation by asking what book I had tucked into the seat pocket. I told him I was a fan of his work, because he hadn’t introduced himself yet but I knew who he was. He wanted to know what my favourite book of his was. I said The Family Frying Pan and he told me it was one of his favourites, too.

SEE ALSO: Travelling with Ian Thorpe

You may also like