9 Ways To “Survive” A Long Haul Flight

Rachael Sandon Blog, General Travel 8 Comments

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As I look to the upcoming weeks I start to think about all the new sights to see, the foods to eat and the time I will have to sit on a plane.  Many people absolutely hate flying. They hate the fees, dealing with other passengers and not really being able to do anything for a few hours.  Then to make matters even worse what about when they decide to travel overseas and the flight is many, MANY hours long stuck in a flying, metal tube…could things possibly be any worse?

Maybe I am a complete weirdo but I really love flying.  Yeah yeah waiting in the TSA line (unless you are a member of TSA PreCheck) is kind of boring and there is not much worse than the fellow passenger that insists on invading your space (both physically and with offensive body odors!), but for me there is just something so exciting about flying; and before you start on thinking “Oh she must not fly very often…” it is quite the opposite, I travel quite frequently and I am quite happy to do so.

#1: TAKE A NAP

In everyday life, I am a terrible napper.  I hate naps.  It takes forever for me to fall asleep, then I wake up after too much time has past.  Then I am groggy and have no idea what time, day or universe I am even in…it is just really not a pretty picture.  On the flip side, I am good about napping on a long haul flight.  This is what helps me prevent jet lag.  I figure out what time it where I am going and I try to get closer to their “sleep time” than where I am coming from.  Sometimes that means I try to get in a long nap immediately after boarding and sometimes it means that I hold off on napping until the later part of the flight.

#2: CATCH UP ON SOME READING

I feel like I never have time to read.  I have a kindle and it is loaded with books that I want to read, I just can never seem to make reading a priority.  I do go thru short phases where I will read a lot, but it doesn’t ever become a regular occurrence.  On a long haul flight, I love to use this time for reading.  I have nothing else to really do and I feel like my brain is sharper when I get to my destination.  Get a kindle (or whatever your ereader of choice is), load it up with different books (pick different genres so you don’t get bored) and the time will fly by!

#3: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Being on an airplane for 9+ hours is rough on the body.  You don’t get to move much, you may get some swelling or bloating and your skin takes a beating with dry air suck the moisture from you! Keep you makeup to a minimum…you don’t have to go completely “naked”, but may skip some of the nonessentials…I keep it light but doing my eye makeup but skipping the items that go on my skin like foundations, powders, and blushes.  Another thing I like is to take a ready to wear sheet mask.  You may get some funny looks but who cares and your skin will definitely thank you!  Also, throw a (TSA Approved) container of lotion for arms, hands and elbows.

#4: LIGHTEN UP THAT CARRY ON

Keep you carry on simple…do you really need everything that is already in your carry on bag?  Do you need that second sweater or the jumbo size bag of snacks?  Keeping carry on to a minimum will keep you happier by minimizing the amount of stuff to look thru when you want something.  It also means that you can fit the bag easily under the seat in from of you instead of keeping it in the overhead compartment.  I prefer to travel with a TravelOn tote bag.  It is the perfect size that I can keep a few things with me during the flight while still giving me space under the seat for my feet.

#5: HYDRATE AND STAY AWAY FROM ALCOHOL AND JUNK FOOD

Water! Water! Water!  This is one of your best bets for a happy long haul flight.  Dehydration really takes a toll on the body and you don’t want to get where you are going and feel yucky! Get a collapsible water bottle and fill it often!  Alcohol and salty snacks are the quickest way to be uncomfortable on a long flight.  It will cause you to feel bloated and when you are sitting in a small space for a long time you don’t want that discomfort.  If you do decide to partake, then make sure you are drinking enough water to keep yourself all balanced out.  Besides getting a buzz on a plane doesn’t really sound like a whole lot of fun anyway…save it for when you get to where you are going.

#6: I CAN’T HEAR YOU WITH MY NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES

Oh, the sweet sounds of silence!  Screaming baby?  What screaming baby.  I’m dead serious…get a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.  It will block out all the annoying sounds that will grate on your nerves and make you a much happier flyer. Not to mention that you can listen to music while looking out the window or get a little rest without the constant disruptions.

#7: BEWARE THE SWOLLEN FEET

Have you ever gotten off a flight and felt like your feet were going to explode out of your own skin? Not a good feeling and a long haul flight is notorious for causing this! This excessive bloating can be kept to a minimum with a few small tricks.  

#8: UPGRADE YOUR SEAT

Obviously this one means paying more money out of your own pocket, but sometimes it is worth the extra money.  Listen to the gate agents prior to boarding and sometimes they offer upgrades for a lesser fee than before check in.  The upgraded seats can come with many perks to make your flight much more enjoyable…larger seat, more recline, more legroom…really more comfort and freebies in general.  Depending on how much of a long haul flight you are on, it may just be worth the extra fee!

#9: DON’T STRESS OUT BEFORE THE FLIGHT

Get a good night sleep, verify you have all your docs ahead of time and start packing the day before; these are few things you can do before you even leave for the airport to make sure that you are stress free.  Really on the day you are traveling you don’t want to have an surprises that will send your heart racing.  Try to preplan as much as you can ahead of time to ensure you have a smooth journey.  If you are returning to the US on an International flight, think about using the Mobile Passport Control App to make the passport check thru customs a breeze.


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Comments 8

  1. Great advice, I hate long haul flight – sure it fun for the first maybe two hours, but then it get so boring and claustrophobia. I told my husband to knock me out with a bat next time we go on a plane. Or put me on 1st class. xx

  2. Lol, when I first started flying I would have a drink or two or three before take off. Now, I try to book overnight flights, so it’s easier to sleep.

  3. Great advice! I totally agree on most of the points (I understand how you feel about reading, I myself have so many books on my list but I always have tons of other things to do and postpone reading them), except the sleep part: it is sooo hard for me to sleep on that seat. I have experiences when I was the only one not sleeping around me, struggling to get just a few minutes of sleep without any luck. I will just need to work harder the next time :))

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Some good advice, long haul flights can be a drag, especially in Economy. Flew from Vancouver to New Delhi recently, 13 1/2 hours! 3 movies, 3 meals, sleep and lots of water to keep me moving!

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