As much as I love flying and the entire travel experience, long haul flights tend to stress me out big time.The first long haul flight I did was a solo flight to London.Besides having a million emotions a tears doing this flight made things a bit more draining on me,not knowing what to expect I felt like a kid on my own.
But rewind seven years later,who would have known that I would become a frequent solo long haul flyer.I would end up doing crazy things like flying out directly from work,not sleeping for days so I could sleep during the flight and let’s not forget going to the airport the night before and leaving my luggage in storage,I almost forgot the time I slept at the airport so I would not miss my early morning flight. Living in London meant that one could expect anything with the Tubes ,so ample time was needed to get to the airport.
What are long haul flights ?
A simple definition would be a flight over six hours and crossing a different time zone.
Tips to survive long haul flights
1.Comfy clothing– There is currently lots of talk recently about how to dress for your flight.For me personally,I prefer clothing that is lightweight and does not crease.A lightweight cardigan and a scarf are always in my handbag.I also tend to wear elasticized pants.Shoes wise I end up wearing sneakers because they take up space in my luggage.
2.Download your favourite series and playlists on your tablet.Long haul flights are the perfect time to catch up.I tend to catch up on the inflight entertainment ,as I rarely get a chance to go to the movies so this is the best time to catch those movies.Besides the latest Hollywood movies most airlines also have Bollywood,Arabic and Chinese movie channels.The box sets of series are fab especially to binge watch.Before I doze off I tend to set up a music playlist while I head to the land of nod.
3.Pack snacks – mini snack packets of crisps,dried fruit ,nuts and chocolate are perfect if you are a snacker.I tend to eat a meal at home or the airport before board my flight.I carry sweets and bottled water which I buy after I have checked in , however do check with your airline regarding the carrying of liquids.
4.Reading materials books and magazines – I love buying magazines at the airport from around the world generally my favourites like Cosmopolitan and Glamour.As for reading books I take a softcover book and my latest hobby Adult Colouring means I have an A5 size colouring book to keep me occupied during the flight. Carry also a
5.USB charging cables- my bag always has powerbanks and charging cables so my phone and other devices are always charged.Most airlines now have USB charging ports on your inflight entertainment unit which makes life a lot more easier for us gadget freaks.
6.Ear phones – I tend to end up falling asleep with the airline headphones as these are perfect for cancelling out the noise onboard. Though there are some pretty fantastic headphones on the market that one can purchase.
7.Keep hydrated – the rule is never drink caffeine and alcohol onboard a flight. I rarely drink a hot drink and if I do it is usually a hot chocolate. For some reason only when I am flying do I crave a Tomato juice but apparently there is a scientific reason behind this craving. When I flying to London I tend to have Gin and Tonic which sounds odd but it makes me get into the British. I have a maximum of two alcoholic drinks more for helping me sleep than getting drunk.During the course of the flight I do drink a lot of water and I am not afraid to buzz the airhost/hostess to bring me some.
8.Move around the plane- it is important to stretch your legs during a long haul flight to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and cramping. I normally do some stretch excercise in my seat and when the passenger next to me goes to the toilet or for a wander I get up and stretch a bit more without disturbing those around me.
9.Sign up to the various airline loyalty schemes to get points so you can upgrade your seat. Try to book flights with airlines that codeshare so that you can clock up miles and hopefully get an upgrade.
10.Reserve a good seat – prebooking a seat is important. A seat at the back of the plane can be very nosiy.Most travellers are either a window or aisle passenger I prefer a window seat.When you are checking in check if there are any rows empty or with the middle seat empty. Having an empty row means you get to stretch out and sleep better.As a larger girl having a middle seat empty means the handrest can be put up.
11.Prepare yourself to sleep – just like when you are home you close your curtains and prepare for bed you need to do the same on your flight.Close the window shutter, turn down the air conditioning a lil lower. Open up your blanket , get your travel pillow out and eye mask out. I also tend to wipe my face with a face wipe and put on some face cream and lip ice before heading to the land of nod.For safety reasons I keep my handbag next to me and on my person a hidden pouch with my passport and money.
12. Be polite to the person next to you- I don’t mean become their best friend and exchange personal details. Just greet them , make some small talk before putting on your headphones. Small talk helped me a few times when I had fallen asleep before my dinner tray was removed and the person next to me removed it for me and closed my table without waking me up.
13.Wear layers which is perfect to take off if you become too warm and good for adding on should you feel cold.
14.Carry a cardigan or a scarf which can double up as a pillow and blanket. I prefer soft cotton scarfs.
15.Get to the airport early so you can check in early and get the seat you want.Use this opportunity to ask about the possibility of an upgrade has not happened to me yet but I have heard several success stories. Been early also means you get to walk around before your flight and are able to find your boarding gate. Some airports are massive and require you to take a train to the boarding gates and some the walking tr is over thirty minutes so it is better to be prepared. Another bonus is that when you board the plane you get to store your hand luggage where you are sitting so you can keep an eye on your belongings and should you want something from your bag it is easier.
16. Packing what you need in your hand luggage is very important especially on long haul flights – check out this post on tips for hand luggage
17. If you have a special meal requirements or dietary needs it is important to book your meal in advance so you wont be hungry and without a meal. I have heard several stories were travel agents had forgotten to book special meals and the passengers were left hungry with only bread and cheese on their long haul flight.
18.To freshen up on these long flights carry a small cosmetic bag with face wipes ,deodorant,toothbrush,gum.
19.Change the time on your watch to the time at your destination.
20.A change of clothing ,in my hand luggage I often carry a spare top to change into as soon as I land.Before grabbing my luggage and after immigration I head to the toilets to freshen up and change.I promise you I feel amazing just by changing out of my inflight clothing.
Check out this useful guide on surviving Jet Lag.
I hope my tips on surviving those long haul flights is useful.Do let me know if you have any tips to share in the comments below.
Be Inspired !