How To Survive Long Haul Flights

by Vijaya Bais
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tips for long haul flights

Even the thought of travel during this pandemic fills our hearts with joy. Escaping from the confinements of our houses to a dreamy destination is traversing through everyone’s minds right now even when we’ve decided now is the time to stay home. However, when the time comes to travel again, the fear of traveling on a long haul flight may override the feeling of joy. While some people love flying, a majority of travelers dread flights that take over 5 hours to the destination. Unless traveling in first class or business class, long international flights are no joke. But, the good news is that there are numerous ways one can survive long haul flights. Following a few tips and tricks can make your horrid flight experience a comfortable one.

(Photo by Nancy Zaffaro)

Hacks to Survive a Long Haul Flight?

Having traveled on a 12-hour long flight and several 17-hour flights with a layover, I have tried a few flight hacks that can smoothly get you through a long haul flight. Here are the five best ways to survive a long haul flight and make your travel stress-free.

1. Web Check-In

The top-most hack for any flight is to complete your web check-in as soon as the airlines allow. Web check-in is not only important to reach the airport without rushing but also for your seat selection. Whichever travel portal services or airline site you use, have yourself notified when you can check in online. These travel portals also help with crucial information for having a smooth flight experience.

(Photo by Nancy Zaffaro)

When traveling in a long haul flight, the seats you are seated on will decide your level of comfort. If you are seated in the aisle seats and are asleep, your head or hands may bang into the people or crew members walking past. If your seats are right in front of the lavatory, you will be disturbed throughout your journey. Who would like to hear the sound of the flush or have eyes glaring at you while waiting in the queue to use the lavatory? Therefore, for long haul flights, the front- or mid row-window seats are the best option.

Front row seats are best for travelers who hate waiting in long immigration queues. Getting seats in the front rows allows you to leave first from the plane right after business class travelers. Further, with window seats you can sleep peacefully by resting your head against the window pane.

(Photo by Nancy Zaffaro)

2. Comfortable Clothing

For a comfortable journey, comfortable clothing is a must. Your slim fit jeans and trendy blouse may give you that airport-look you want. However, the after scenes are
going to be horrific for you once you are seated. Therefore, the best outfit for a long haul flight may be a pair of joggers or track pants paired with a comfortable sweatshirt and
sports shoes. Also, do carry a pair of slippers and another comfortable outfit to feel fresh, as the clothes you are wearing start to smell after a few hours.

Loose-fitted clothing not only comforts your body but is also good to fight vein thrombosis that occurs while sitting for long hours in a cramped position. If you choose to wear a half-sleeve t-shirt, do carry a light jacket to cover up if it gets really cold inside the flight. All international flights provide blankets, however, it’s best to have your own jacket as well.

3. Meal Selection

When it comes to food, a lot of people are finicky about their meals. Moreover, there are many people who are vegetarian or don’t eat a certain type of non-veg variety. I have experienced a time when there were only non-veg meals left and I wanted a veg meal. The only option left was to eat everything else from that non-veg meal other than the beef served.

International flights provide an option to pre-book your meals for your flights including the connecting flights. The benefit of pre-booking your meals is that firstly, you get
what you asked for and don’t have to worry about the option not being available.

Secondly, travelers who pre-book their meals are the first ones to be served. This is also a good option in case you have any food allergies.

Unless you are flying first or business class, food and snacks will require some pre-planning on your long haul flight (Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

4. Staying Hydrated

Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the flight is extremely important. The humidity levels inside the plane are extremely low which makes the air drier than on a desert.
The problem occurs when you ask the cabin crew for water and get only about 100 ml water in one time. It gets awkward to keep calling the cabin crew for water time
and time again.

The hack to stay hydrated on a long haul flight is to carry an empty water bottle that you can fill up after the security check and right before boarding the light. This way
you wouldn’t have to disturb the crew or feel awkward. Also, it’s best to avoid aerated and alcoholic drinks on the flight. Alcohol dehydrates your body while aerated drinks
may upset your stomach. To stay hydrated stick with water and juices.

5. Upgrading to Business Class

(Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

It is never bad to ask for upgrades when traveling by a flight. Many customers enjoy the upgrades to business class for a small charge. Therefore, try reaching early at the airport and ask the officials at the counter if there are any upgrades available. They might be able to provide you an upgrade.

You can find out about airport lounges if you have a long layover. Lounges offer good food and a place to relax comfortably until your next flight. In fact, you can even take
showers at some lounges to feel fresh. Research and find the best lounges a few days prior to traveling.

long haul flights business class lounges

International airport lounges can offer far more comfort that the general waiting areas. Many offer snacks, and full meals, including buffet and seated dining, as well as such amenities as showers, work spaces, and sleeping pods (Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

The Bottom Line

The above 5 ways to survive long haul flights coupled with a few more hacks can make your flight experience worth it. It is always best to take flights with at least one layover, so as to stretch yourself, freshen up, and prepare for the next flight. I prefer booking flight with one layover over a direct flight. Moreover, in the flight you can also pass your time by watching movies and napping. Long haul flights will no longer be a nightmare if you use these smart flight hacks.

long haul flights

(Photo by Nancy Zaffaro)

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-Cover photo by Nancy Zaffaro.

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