The Complete Guide to Surviving Long-Haul Flights

February 14, 2017 at 7:58 AM 1 comment

You’ve booked the dream holiday to the other side of the world and then you suddenly realize – the flight lasts over 6 hours. Flying is not necessarily the most pleasant experience at the best of times, but it can be especially disheartening when you need to sit on your seat hours upon hours. Yet, the world has so many amazing places to offer and you don’t want to put off your dreams just because the flight is long. So what do you do? Here are all the essentials for surviving a long-haul flight.

Before the flight

A good and successful long-haul flight starts with proper preparation. You can make the flight a lot smoother if you just focus on a few things before you’ve even set foot at the airport.

First, you need to organize a ‘flight survival’ kit. The items are the essentials you need to pack in your hand luggage to make your flight more bearable. For a more relaxing and fun flight, you need to get:

  • An inflatable travel pillow.
  • Noise cancelling headphones and an eye mask.
  • A good pair of woolly socks.
  • A notebook and a pen, a book to read and/or laptop or tablet.
  • A bathroom kit: toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes and a moisturizer.

The above won’t cost a fortune if you shop smart, using voucher codes and even second-hand stores. You should also remember that a good inflatable travel pillow is an investment that will last a long time. You could also ask if your friends have a pillow to borrow, if you travel less frequently.

Other than that, you should check with your airline the day before for a possible cheap upgrade! You can sometimes upgrade your tickets from economy to premium economy or even business, as airlines release cheaper upgrade options in the final minutes.

Arrive at the airport on time. Even if you end up having some extra time to spare, it’s much nicer to sit at a café at the airport rather than rush around hoping you make the flight – not to mention the cost of having to reschedule! You might also be able to enjoy from quicker check-in or other lounge option if you join the reward programs. Emirates UK has these options available and it can make the final moments before the flight a bit more bearable.

During the flight

Once you’ve made it to the airplane, you should first sit down (of course!) and take a breather. As the airplane is all settled and has taken off, you can walk around a bit to see if there are any empty seat rows. If so, ask the flight attendant if you can move to sit on these.

You should also put on your woolly socks and possibly change into a nicer cardigan or hoodie. You want to stay comfortable and warm. If the flight attendant starts offering alcohol, say ‘no’ – you’ll ruin your trip by drinking, even if just slightly. You definitely want to eat any food you’re offered and perhaps ask for a cup of tea.

You should then try to sleep. Read a bit of your book or listen to a relaxing podcast. Wear the eye mask, put on the travel pillow and get rid of annoying sounds with the noise-cancelling headphones. If you aren’t able to sleep easily, try taking some melatonin tablets with you and pop one before your nap.

If you’re not sleepy, just enjoy the inflight entertainment or doodle in your notebook. Thinking about work is definitely a good way to fall asleep!

Once you wake up, you want to walk around for a bit and drink a glass of water. If your flight will continue for a lot longer, you’ll probably receive another meal by now. You can eat and continue to nap or take advantage of the entertainment.

The two key things to do are drinking enough water and getting up, even if just for a moment. Right before your flight is landing – an hour or so – you can wipe your face, add moisturizer and/or makeup, and brush your teeth. Change your socks and shirts as well, if you’ve done this at the start.

After the flight

Once you’ve landed and you’ve gotten hold of the gear, you should continue doing light movements to get the blood flowing. Anytime Fitness has a great guide for exercising in the airplane and airport, which you should check out.

You should also try eating something as soon as possible and continue drinking enough water to prevent jet lag. Once you get to your hotel or home, you can pour yourself a glass of champagne as well – for surviving the long-haul flight!

If you follow these tips, your journey will be much smoother. You won’t even notice how the hours have gone by and you can start your holiday or business meeting feeling refreshed!

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Whitney Hansen  |  March 26, 2017 at 5:52 PM

    This is such a great list! I just got back from a 12 hour flight to Greece and wish I would have read this much sooner.


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