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How to make long haul flights more comfortable
Travel Tips

How to make your long haul flight more comfortable

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Traveling for a long-haul flight can be very stressful and requires careful planning. Being confined in a metal tube in cramped conditions for a prolonged period of hours is a challenging test of endurance. It can leave you feeling exhausted, cranky, and put a downer on the beginning of your trip.

So, how can you make your long haul flight more comfortable?

Even now as a well-seasoned traveler, I still get the biggest buzz each time I take a trip. By now, I’ve had my fair share of long-haul flights, some more pleasant than others but I’ve narrowed down the long haul essentials to make your flight as pleasant as it can be. I’ve learned that comfort is key when traveling. With a little bit of pre-planning, these long haul tips will make your journey a lot easier and ensure you have a smooth, peaceful flight leaving the plane feeling less like a zombie.


Choose a good airline 

As a budget traveler, you might automatically opt for the cheapest flight. But if you want to feel safe and get the most comfort, then do your research into the quality of seats and overall experience of the airline beforehand.
I use SeatGuru and usually find that it’s worth paying that little bit extra dollar for extra comfort. It’ll make the world of difference when you are trying to get some much-needed sleep. Amongst my favorite airlines for long-haul journeys would be Emirates, Quantas and Singapore Airways. Although this does depend on your personal preferences.


Wear comfortable loose clothing 

Comfortable loose clothing is essential for a long-haul flight and with the changes in air pressure, the temperature tends to fluctuate. Make sure you’ve given it some thought and planned ahead. The best way to deal with this is by using layers where you can easily remove or add. Lightweight comfy pants or stretch leggings are always a must when planning my outfit. A scarf is also a great garment. It has numerous functionality whether you use it to keep your neck warm, use it as a blanket or wrap it around your head. This will make the world of difference to making your long haul flight more comfortable.


Choose your seat wisely 

Something you should really consider is pre-planning your seat as a good seat is paramount for your journey. The big question is, do you opt for a window or aisle seat? I usually snag myself a window seat but if you like to move about the plane then an aisle will be more suited for you. To avoid crying babies/children, it’s best to stick to the back of the plane. Again check out SeatGuru which is a great system that will give you an outline of airline seating maps and comfort rating. Another tip is to ask at the gate for a better seat assignment 10/15 minutes prior to boarding.


Keep all your documents safe in a travel organizer

Invest in a travel organizer or a folder that you can keep everything in one place so you don’t have to go digging through your bag, holding up the duty-free queue to find your tickets. I once left my passport in the toilets and went to board the flight without it-luckily it had been handed in! If everything is in one place you’ll be less stressed boarding the plane and can relax knowing you have everything under control.


Pack a long-haul survival kit

Toothpaste, moisturizer, eye-drops, face wipes, deodorant, clean underwear, and hand sanitizer are among my long haul flight necessities. These are the essential on-board survival kit that helps me feel fresh, hygienic, and hydrated.
Obviously, in cramped conditions, you won’t be feeling your pretty little self so give yourself a little pampering session and you’ll arrive feeling fresh as a daisy. If you know you suffer from motion sickness then check out my post on how to prevent and combat motion sickness.


Pack Snacks

Long haul snacks are top of the survival kit. I’m quite picky when it comes to food, so I always stock up on plenty of protein bars, chocolate, and crackers as the last thing you want on a plane is become ‘hangry’ when you are awaiting your next meal. However, it’s not a great idea to completely stuff your face mid-air as certain foods will take longer to digest so it might be worth eating a decent meal prior to take-off.


Stay hydrated and do not drink alcohol or caffeine

It may be obvious but drink plenty of water! As the air is so dry within the plane, dehydration happens a lot quicker. Bring a reusable bottle of water with you and keep on top of it as it will make you feel a lot better on the other side. Stay away from any caffeine and alcohol as these will dehydrate you further and cause you to be more irritable but also exacerbate your jet lag.


Bring an eye mask & earplugs 

I honestly don’t think I would be able to take a long-haul flight without these two products. Although it may not be the most flattering look, I cannot sleep on a plane without having them to hand. With the consistent engine noise, babies crying and the odd passenger laughing hysterically at the latest comedy movie, if you’re a light sleeper like me, then these will be an absolute godsend for you. It also might be worth taking a melatonin sleep aid after take-off to minimize your jetlag.


Do in-seat exercises 

Deep Vein Thrombosis (the formation of blood clots in deep veins) is something that you need to take seriously when it comes to long-haul flights. Although compression socks will help improve blood circulation, doing a few in-seat exercises will greatly reduce your chances. You’ll often find me walking up and down the aisles and doing a few stretches each time I go to the toilet.


Bring your own entertainment

There are only so many movies and box sets that you can watch on a plane. Not all of them will be to your taste, so bring your own movies, books, puzzles to keep yourself occupied and pass the time as there might be limited entertainment available.
Ensure that you have charged all your devices and downloaded the latest box sets and invest in some excellent quality headphones. It’s also worth taking a portable charger with you for your journey. You don’t want it to cut out at the best part of ‘Game of Thrones’ mid-flight!


Bring a change of clothes

The chances of your luggage going missing are very slim, however, if the worst were to happen, at least you have a spare outfit to freshen up. I happen to be flying home from South East Asia and the plane was directed back after a couple of hours resulting in me missing my connecting flight. Although I was not complaining that I had been put up in a lavish hotel in Abu Dhabi, we were unable to access our luggage and of course, I had not packed any additional clothes, so you never know what unforeseen circumstances can happen.
To summaries and answer the question of how to make long haul flights more comfortable? You need to; 
  • Choose a reputable airline and seat preference 
  • Wear loose clothing 
  • Pack a long haul survival kit
  • Pack essential long haul snacks
  • An eye mask and earplugs 
  • Do in-seat exercise 
  • Bring your own entertainment 
  • Bring a change of clothes
In the event that your flight is delayed, canceled, or overbooked, I highly recommend claiming through AirHelp. It is FREE to claim and you could get up to €600! 
Hopefully, these tips will make your long haul flight more comfortable,
giving you more of a smooth and pleasant journey. These are tips and advice from my personal experiences of traveling long-haul so if you have any additional advice or experiences you would like to share with our fellow travelers, feel free to leave a comment below.

Safe Travels!

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