How to Prepare Yourself for a Long-Haul Flight

October 26, 2019


Visiting exotic locations and meeting new people on your adventures is the definition of a good time. And this is the true essence of traveling.

Previously, we looked at ‘5 Tips for Finding Cheap Flights’. However, some of the most exciting places in the world may be further than your average short-haul flight.

Long-haul flights are an unfortunate side effect of living in the global era, and might be unavoidable if you’re well-traveled. They’re also getting more popular, as Aviation JobNet reports that Qantas is looking at a 20-hour flight between Sydney and New York, which would make it the longest flight in the world. If you have to travel to faraway destinations either for business or pleasure, you might need to sit through a long-haul flight yourself. To make the experience a little more bearable, here are a few things you can do before and after getting on that plane.

Check Your Airline

The most important thing to do before booking your long-haul flight is checking your airline. While it may be tempting to pick the cheapest ticket, you have to consider the physical and mental costs of being up in the air for that long. Budget airlines may offer enticing prices, but the lack of legroom, minimal entertainment choices, and possible lack of in-flight service may be a downside. Try to divide the price difference between a budget airline and a slightly more expensive one by the number of hours you’re projected to stay in the air. If the difference between better legroom, a nicer entertainment system, and food is only about USD 5/hour, it might be a better idea to go with the more expensive option.

Another thing to take note of is whether or not you have transfers. Airfare aggregation sites might list the cheapest options, but remember that you need to allow enough time for deplaning, baggage, and re-entering through security and immigration. You may be offered a cheaper set of flights, but only having 50 minutes with which to do everything might be cutting it close. Conversely, you could be looking at a longer layover, but might have to factor in the cost of a hotel room. Staying somewhere in the happy medium is ideal, so make sure to do your due diligence and research all the extra factors that are going into your flight.

Bring Entertainment

While most airlines now offer the latest movies and TV shows for their passengers, it’s still a good idea to do a little bit of research on what the airline might be offering that month. Long-haul flights can get pretty boring pretty quickly, so it’s a good idea to bring along some extra entertainment on your tablet or laptop to while away the hours.

Pack Some Snacks

There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a ten-hour flight and suddenly realizing you’re hungry and the in-flight service is nowhere to be found. Making sure that you’re as comfortable as possible is key to making it through a long-haul flight, and that includes the state of your stomach. While airlines will normally offer food and beverages at certain times during the flight, it can be hard to wait around for the cart to come your way.

Try bringing snacks that are nutritious and won’t disturb the people around you, such as biscuits or trail mix. NetDoctor has a list of recommended healthy snacks to take with you on a flight, so make sure you check that out before you jet off on your adventure.

Dress Comfortably

There isn’t much space to move around on an aircraft, especially if you fly economy class, so making sure you’re as comfortable as possible is essential. Your clothes should help make the overall experience more bearable, so a long-haul might not be the right space for fancy tops and tight jeans. Instead, opt for more comfortable clothing that will help you get through the flight. These include soft, stretchy pants, a comfortable shirt, and shoes that you can easily slip on and off. Don’t forget to pack a jacket or cardigan, as temperatures in the sky can get a little chilly.

Prepare for Sleep

Depending on how long your long-haul is, you may be spending the equivalent of more than half a day or night up in the air. That’s a lot of downtime that might not be taken up by your in-flight entertainment system. To counter the boredom and deal with the exhaustion of travel, you definitely have the option of sleeping a few of those long hours away.

Planes aren’t the most comfortable of sleeping spots, however, so make sure you invest in a good travel pillow, eye mask, and earplugs. Aircraft seating and interiors designer Adam White says that there are three key environmental factors that affect the way you sleep, and these factors are light, noise, and temperature. How you handle these factors will be key in ensuring a comfortable night’s (or day’s) rest, even without your seat reclined all the way.

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