1. I always dress nicely. It really does affect how people treat you.
2. I never have anything in any of my pockets. Everything is in my purse. My purse gets dumped out the night before I leave, and anything that is super important, plus travel documents, goes back in.
3. In my purse- lots of PENS for all those pesky forms (and extras for my seat neighbors who forgot theirs).
4. My carry on is a small backpack, which I put under the seat in front of me. Much, much easier then overheads.
5. I always put a few essential medicines (for headache, upset stomach), a clean shirt, and some clean underwear in my carry on.
6. For comfort on the plane: A large, cushy pair of socks (I take my shoes off and put them on, it helps a lot if your feet tend to swell), my ipod with movies (dang you continental for charging for entertainment!!) and a cashmere blanket (soooo warm. Mine is made out of thrifted sweaters.)
Hope this is helpful!