If you’re wondering how to survive a long haul flight, you’re in the right place.
Flying is exciting and traveling far is even more, but long haul flights are not an easy task, especially when you’re not traveling first class or business.
Sometimes small details make the difference. In this post you will find my survival tips and tricks for long haul flights.
9 Tips for long haul flights
Aisle or window seat?
When I started flying I had a preference for the window seat to watch the destinations from above and take pictures. I still prefer the window seat for short flights.
For long haul flights, I learnt that aisle may be a better option. That way I don’t have to wake up strangers everytime I want to go to the bathroom!
Don’t forget to get up, walk and stretch
To avoid blood clots or in the worst case scenario a DVT (deep vein thrombosis), get up and walk every once in a while: your legs circulation will thank you tons!
As a DVT patient myself what I do is getting up every time after meals and after finishing a movie. I also get up whenever I feel I’m not comfortable on my sear and stretch while I’m seated. And of course I wear compression tights that I highly recommend.
Most of airlines include on flight entertainment on long haul flights: movies, TV series, docs, games, etc.
Try to establish a routine: watch a movie, walk, go to the bathroom, have something to eat, get up again… I always keep busy at least a couple of hours working on my laptop or even cleaning up space on my iPhone deleting photos.
Some airlines have a very bad on flight entertainment so what I do is downloading a few games and Netflix movies and episodes on my iPhone and bring my own headphones. I’ve traveled with airlines that would charge for them!
Wear comfortable clothes
I’m not saying you should fly wearing piyamas, but wear the most comfortable clothes you have.
I usually wear loose trousers and a top, with a jacket and a foulard.
If you want to look stylish on the way to the airport, you can change right before or after boarding.
Remove your shoes
I’m not sure if flight attendants would agree with this, but as a DVT patient, my advice is to remove your shoes when on a long haul flight: your feet will thank you. Some airlines will provide you with a kit that includes socks to walk the carpet in the plane, bring yours just in case.
Plus, it will be easier to sleep without wearing shoes!
Don’t forget to drink
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Drink some water from time to time during your long haul flight! Spending long hours without drinking may cause damage to your kidneys.
Drinking alcohol is not a good idea, but if you do, do it with moderation.
Don’t forget your essentials
The service varies a lot between airlines. Some have amazing food and entertainment on board, while others are really basic – sometimes you don’t even have your own screen.
Essentials vary from one person to the other, these are mine:
- Chocolates or sweets
- Face mask
- Lip balm
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hair brush
- An easy game and a few Netflix episodes downloaded on my iPhone
- A pen for filling custom forms
The best advice I can give you is to prepare a kit with all your travel essentials that is always ready to go. That way you will save time and you won’t forget anything.
Take it easy
If you suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia, prepare for the trip in advance. Meditation, breathing techniques and prescribed medication will help you.
Make the most of your layover
If your long haul flight includes a layover or stopover at the airport, try to make the most of it.
Some airports make it easy to visit the cities:
- In Shanghai, you can get a 3-day visa on arrival and you can get to the city center quickly on the maglev (one of the world’s fastest trains).
- In Geneva, it takes you less than 30 minutes to arrive from/to the airport by train.
- In Porto and Lisbon you can connect to the city in less than 30 minutes by metro.
Some airports are really amazing:
- Doha airport has an amazing swimming pool and spa available at a fee, it’s free for business class travelers!
- Singapur is world’s best airport, it deserves a visit! They have the largest indoor waterfall in the world, a swimming pool and much more.
- At Seoul airport, you can skate or even play golf!
If you rather relax between flights, many airports have relaxing areas where you can nap.
And if you fly often, unless you always fly business class, I’d recommend you getting the Priority Pass to get free access to more than 1200 lounges in airports around the world. There you can drink, eat, relax and even take a shower. It’s also the best place to wait between flights to avoid the hustle from the airport.