Surviving a Long-haul Flight: Top 10 Tips for Making it Through

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Long-haul Flight
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Long-haul Flight

It’s Worth that Upgrade

I’ve learned splurging is acceptable in certain circumstances. I may not purchase every stunning outfit I come across, but upgrading a long-haul flight is worth every cent.

You can imagine you’ll feel less cramped if you can stretch out. And the upgraded, quality meals also help to make the flight more tolerable.

Surviving these flights is all about making it feel as close to home as possible. And at home your neighbors don’t live in the same rooms as you, do they? Give yourself some breathing space and you’re halfway to smiling during the trip.

What do You Need to Survive?

Now let’s talk about what you’re taking with.

What kind of person are you? If you love having all your personal items with you, pack a complete bag. But here’s a warning: Every item you take may minimize your personal space. Bags and jackets may have to be stuffed under your seat or magazine holder. All of this takes up valuable leg room.

Even items that are supposed to help you during flights may be cumbersome if you’re not used to using them. If it’s your first long flight you may be tempted to take popular travel items such as headphones, pillows and ear plugs. But are you sure you’re going to use them?

Take the minimum so you have to carry and handle fewer items on the plane & at the airport. Keep it simple.

Pick your plane

Are you ready to invest some time in finding the perfect flight? If you compare the differences between flying in a brand new plane and an older generation one, you’ll thank me profusely one day.

On a 15 hour flight, you’ll love the noise reduction, smoother flying, better lighting and even improved humidity new models provide.

How do you know which plane will be booked? All this information is available on airline websites these days.

Find the Perfect Seat

Your seat is as important as your flight. I’ve tried most of them and here’s what you need to keep in mind:
-Some features on the plane use up valuable leg space. If you’re not sure what the plane looks like inside, avoid sitting near exits.
-What do you prefer? Sitting in the aisle and making way for other passengers to move in & out, or sitting by the window but feeling a bit squashed?
-When you book in and you know the gates are almost closing, why not ask about empty rows. You’ll at least have more arm and leg room.
-Ask to not be placed near lavatories or galleys if the traffic will bother you.

These are small adjustments, but one by one you’re cancelling out frustrations that can ruin your flight.

Sleep Before You Go

The worst thing you can do is arrive at the airport already exhausted. You’ll probably be busy with last minute planning before your trip, but try to prioritize and schedule a few hours sleep the night before.

You may think your exhaustion will lead to sleeping the entire flight, but this is not a given for everyone. Imagine how you’ll feel when you arrive at your destination and you haven’t slept for 24 hours.

Make Yourself at Home

So, once you’re on the plane, what is your first task? I don’t care how long it takes, but I make sure I make my space as comfortable as possible.

If I make another person wait before they can enter their seat, I don’t feel guilty. Making them wait now is better than becoming a horrible flight companion later on. And I tell them so.

Here’s what I do:
-I remove magazines I know I won’t read, because they take up leg room.
-I source more bedding, because one blanket is usually not enough. They’re really small.
-Place all you’ll need within reach.
-If you hate plane smells, why not spray your personal fragrance on your scarf, hat or shirt?

Now you’re ready to go.

Upgrade Your Security

Do you also fret about your belongings? I probably feel for my wallet at least once every hour when in public. It’s no different on a plane.

And this isn’t paranoia. On a long-haul flight other passengers have time to gauge whether you’re alert and where your valuable items are.

So stay one step ahead of criminals:
-Add locks to your luggage
-Don’t take out valuable items unless it’s necessary
-Keep money and documents under your clothing

If you’re more relaxed about your belongings, it will be easier to sleep and enjoy the flight.

What’s on the Menu?

I call myself a foodie and food makes me happy. But on a plane I check my diet. Think about what you eat and when you eat.

Counter dehydration by keeping water with you and taking regular sips.

Eating is a fun pastime, but think before you bite:
-Opt to skip an aeroplane meal if you know it will be served while you sleep. Resting is more important.
-Don’t eat too many salty snacks, as it dehydrates you and can even bloat you.
-Don’t go for the caffeine and alcohol drinks. They won’t help you get back to much needed sleep.

Your To-Do List

And if you do sit awake for hours, what will you do?

The best way to deal with this is to keep to what you know. Don’t think you’ll enjoy reading for hours if you never pick up a book at home. More into music? Then make sure you have good headphones.

The lucky few who are movie buffs may find enough entertainment in the plane’s film library.

Don’t forget to plan your to do list and take the necessary equipment with you. Nothing is as horrible as dealing with insomnia and boredom for 15 hours straight.

Be the Best Passenger

A tip to get good service: Be nice to the airline personnel. Firstly you don’t want them ignoring you when you need something. Secondly you may even get special treatment—an extra snack or two—if you make them smile.

After all, the flight is tough on them too.

Happy travels from now on!

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