These long-haul flight tips will make your next trip more comfortable and enjoyable.
Whether you’re taking a seven-hour flight to Europe or embarking on the nearly 19-hour journey of the world’s longest flight, lengthy flights can be tedious, uncomfortable, and exhausting. The nuisances of long-haul travel can range in severity from the mildly inconvenient (annoying seatmates) to the downright dangerous (deep-vein thrombosis is no joke), and a poorly planned journey can be enough to not only ruin your day but a few more afterward, too. Luckily, there are some easy ways to make a long flight infinitely more bearable.
Here are 35 long haul flight tips.
How To Survive Long Flights
1. Prepare for Jet Lag
There are a few things you can do to help avoid jet lag, or at the very least make it more manageable. A few days before your flight, adjust your sleep patterns (for example, go to bed at 4 am or 7 pm, depending on what time of day you’ll be flying). You can also book your flight so that it arrives during the day, make the most of your layovers, and—most importantly—be well-rested before you fly. Trust us, staying awake for the 24 hours before your trip because you’re sure it’ll balance out once you arrive just doesn’t work.
2. Go Easy on the Carry-ons
Yes, you’ll need more creature comforts than you would on a shorter one, but that doesn’t mean you should overdo it. Keep it to the essentials in your personal item so they’re close by. You probably don’t need 3 books by your side at all times.
3. Pack an Eye Mask
A silk eye mask is incredibly useful if you happen to be flying during the day or if you want to sleep before the cabin lights are dimmed.
4. Download Backup Movies, Audiobooks, or Podcasts to your Device
In-flight entertainment systems are not always reliable, even when flying with a premium airline. Sometimes they fail, and when they do you will be happy to have a plan B.
5. Check in Early
Don’t force yourself to panic at the airport. Give yourself plenty of time to get through security and to your gate.
6. Bring Your Own Pillow
You will regret not having this. You may look a little ridiculous, but it’s 100% worth it. Your neck and future self will thank you.
7. Charge Your Devices Pre-Flight
The last thing you need is for your MacBook to die an hour into a nine-hour flight. You’ll be especially glad you did if the in-flight entertainment system isn’t working.
8. Get Creative
It’s not too often that you get the chance to sit down for such an extended period of time, more or less free from distractions. Why not make the most of it? Bring a journal or notebook, a sketchpad, or whatever else you need to get your creativity going.
Enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your in-flight meal and entertainment. These beverages are often included on international flights.
10. Or Don’t Drink
Don’t drink booze to help cope with flight anxiety. Alcohol is dehydrating so it will mess with your sleep pattern if you overdo it. Drink within reason.
11. Do Your Best to Relax
Flying can be a little scary no matter how many times you’ve been above 30,000 feet. Do your best to relax before taking off. Try meditating or doing some breathwork. That will help you sleep easier and it’s good for your mental health in general.
12. Book Your Tickets Early
The chances of you getting your favorite seat are a lot better the earlier you book.
Add a Little Lovely to Your Inbox
Subscribe to receive exclusive content updates, beauty & style advice, personal development tips, and curated round-ups of the things that help me elevate the everyday.
13. Wear the Right Thing
Wear something breathable or loose. There is no need to wear your most elegant evening wear, but don’t look like you just rolled out of bed. Bring layers for when it gets cold. Something like a cardigan or a casual jacket will do.
14. Be Productive
If you have your laptop with you, a long-haul flight is an opportune time to catch up on any work that can be done. Yes, finishing your latest Netflix binge counts as work.
15. Bring Lots of Activities for your Kids
If you are traveling with kids make sure you bring a lot of activities to entertain them throughout the flight. Bring gaming systems, puzzles, tablets preloaded with their favorite shows, coloring books, and anything that will keep them calm and occupied. And please, don’t forget their favorite snacks.
16. Practice Good Hygiene
Bring your toiletries so you can brush your teeth, put on some deodorant, wash your face, or even change your clothes. This is good for yourself and those on the plane with you. Just make sure you do this in the bathroom.
17. Choose a Seat in the Back
In case you were not able to score your favorite seat or simply do not have a favorite, choose a seat in the back. It will be noisier but most people are jostling for seats in the front. By choosing a seat in the back your chances of having an empty seat beside you are a lot better. Keep an eye on the seat map to see if you can claim any empty rows at the last minute.
18. Stay Healthy
Sitting on a plane for a good chunk of the day is not good for your physical health. Prevent dehydration and deep-vein thrombosis by drinking water, stretching, and moving about the cabin.
19. Get to know the Crew
Make an extra effort to be nice to your crew. They are there to assist you after all. Not only will that increase your chances of getting preferential treatment, but you will also be doing something for the lovely people who are looking after you.
20. Practice Mindfulness
The smallest of issues can feel like major impositions when you’re stuck on a plane. However, it will all seem very insignificant if you keep in mind that once you’re in the air nothing can be done. You’re stuck until the plane lands. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and come to terms with your situation so you can arrive ready to go once you land.
21. Try for a Free Upgrade
Closed mouths don’t get fed. Get to the gate early, travel alone, dress nicely (no sweatpants), and put on your best smile. You never know what exactly will happen, but your chances of a free upgrade are far better if you have elite status with the airline.
22. Use Airline Miles for an Upgrade
If you have airline miles use them. You will be grateful when you have a reclining or lay-flat first-class seat and are blissfully sipping champagne. If you don’t have the miles, long-haul travel is the best time to splurge for a first- or business-class ticket.
23. Pay for Premium Economy
If a business- or first-class ticket is out of reach it is worth it to spend a little more on premium economy. It is a small step up from regular economy but has a few really good benefits like priority check-in, more comfortable seats, and extra legroom. These perks usually outweigh the cost of the ticket, especially on a longer flight.
24. Pack Snacks
In most cases, you can’t expect a lot of food options on a plane. It’s important to stay nourished so having a granola bar or dried fruit in your personal item can’t hurt. That way, you’re prepared if the airline doesn’t have something you like.
25. Bring your Best Conversation
Many people find sitting next to a talkative seatmate to be irksome, but you are just as likely to have an engaging and amiable conversation with a fellow traveler as you are with anyone else. If it is not appropriate to bother someone, don’t, but don’t hesitate to start a conversation with the person sitting next to you either; long flights can be quite tedious.
26. Fight Jet Lag
Your flight isn’t over simply you have left the plane. To fight jet lag get as much daylight as you can, take a quick nap if you have to, hydrate, and get your body moving at every opportunity. Do that for a day or two and you will be back to normal just in time for your trip back home.
27. Adjust Your Watch as Soon as You Get on The Plane
It’s important to acclimate yourself to the time zone of your destination. Change your watch to the local time of your destination as soon as you get on the plane and change your routine accordingly.
28. Bring Noise-cancelling Headphones
They won’t block out the noise entirely, but they will significantly decrease the noise from other passengers and the plane.
29. Decompress Before You Arrive
Read a book. Take a long walk. Eat a healthy breakfast. Workout. It is integral to find a way to relax before your trip.
30. Buckle your Seat Belt Over your Blanket
To ensure you can sleep during your flight, make sure your buckled seat belt is visible. In case of turbulence, the seat belt light will turn on, and flight attendants will come around the cabin to check that everyone is buckled up. If you’re buckled beneath your blanket where they can’t see it, they will wake you up to check.
31. Pack a Travel Blanket
We love fluffy blankets as much as the next lady, but we are working with limited space. Though a travel blanket may be less plush than the blanket on your couch, you will be glad to have it when the plane’s air-conditioning is going full blast.
The Best Long-haul Flight Tips
The annoyances of a long-haul flight can be dealt with easily with a little planning. You do not have to needlessly ruin your travels days and a few afterward because you wanted to see more of the world. I hope these long-haul flight tips make your next journey the best one yet. To get more travel tips and elegant lifestyle inspiration, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on LTK.