How to Survive a Long Haul Flight
To get to the best destinations in the world, it’s typical that you have to sit in a big tin can for an excessive number of hours. This isn’t sod’s law, it’s simply a fact of the matter. To see wonderful things, there is a pay off, and that is the wonder of the long haul flight.
Now, surviving a long haul flight isn’t as difficult as it might seem, and you can cut out the degree of uncomfortableness, boredom, and stress if you’re a little clever.
Preparation is key
At the initial booking stage, do a little research into your airline, especially the seat pitch and amount of leg room they give you on long haul flights. It is worth booking extra leg room? If you’re particularly tall then yes, it is. You can do this at the airport when you check in, if there is room available, but you’re running a risk here so it’s advisable to do it when you book your seat.
Don’t go to the airport in your most fashionable clothes, because by the end of the flight they’re going to be so creased and crumpled, you’ll be looking for the nearest iron. Wear comfortable, breathable clothes, and consider taking a change of clothes too. I always wear leggings to travel long haul, because I can move easily. In the past I have been known to put a pair of pyjama bottoms in my bag and some bed socks, and head to the toilet to get changed, to up my comfort level! Also wear shoes you can easily slip on and off.
You might also want to think about taking a blanket and a cushion with you. It’s easy to buy the travel sized ‘U’ shaped pillows, which fit around your neck and offer support, and when you’re trying to nod off mid-flight then this will be a godsend; laying your head against a cold, hard window is not comfortable. The blanket will come in very handy when air cons feels like sub-zero – there is nothing worse than being cold.
When you’re packing your hand luggage, think carefully about what you might need. In-flight entertainment will probably be available, but it will also probably bore you after an hour or so. Charge up all your electricals, such as iPad, Kindle, phone etc, and make sure you load them up before you leave with games, music, books, films etc, and also don’t forget your earphones! This should give you hours of entertainment when the mid-flight slump sets in.
Also remember your essentials such as paracetamol for that inevitable headache, sweets for ear popping, tissues, lipbalm, a hairbrush, and maybe even an eye mask, if you’re conscious of falling asleep in public.
A word of advice …
Never, ever look at the inflight map! I did this once, I spent the entire flight from Manchester to Orlando thinking we were stuck in slow motion over Greenland, because the damn thing never seemed to move! The key to surviving a long haul flight is to stay distracted and not focus on the amount of time you’re in the air, because this will help it pass much quicker. If you’re focusing too much on something that is reminding you of how far you still have to go, you’re not going to enjoy your flight.
Let’s put it this way, once you land on tarmac at your destination, your flight will be a long-forgotten memory. Long-haul flights might not be the most enjoyable things in the world, but the destinations they lead you to, most certainly are.