Tips to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

Long-haul flights where you’re on the plane for hours on end and crossing several time zones can be extremely tiring. The dry air, close proximity to others (unless you’re lucky to be in Business Class!) and sitting for extended periods of time can make anyone go crazy. Having been on numerous long-haul flights, I gathered up some of the tips I have to help you make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable!

Tips to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

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Be Prepared & Pack for the Flight

I think in this case, you can never be too prepared. Get a good carry-on that will allow you to bring everything you need and the essentials for a comfy flight. Keep the items you would be using handy and easily accessible. I normally pack away my valuables and the things I would be using in a pouch that I can tuck away in my seat pocket. The rest of the carry-on goes in the overhead lockers, freeing up the space beneath the seat in front of me.

Pack away your valuables and necessities in this convenient travel pouch.


Bring Only What You Need

I know that you get 7kg for your carry-on bags but try to restrict yourself in bringing only what you need for the flight. Unless you’re not checking in your main luggage, make sure your bag can be stowed away easily (without any help) so that you can quickly get to your seat. This also enables you to have maximum legroom which you will need for the 8,9,10 or more hours. You might think that you will use your bag as a leg rest during the flight but trust me, a few hours in and you’ll want to stretch out your legs!


Choose Your Seat Well

Catching some sleep on the flight will help you feel refreshed and less tired when you arrive at your destination. Being in the right seat can help ensure that you are not disturbed and you’re in a comfortable position. My advice is to the window seat if you can. You’ll get to use the side of the plane to rest your head and you’ll not be disturbed by people going to the bathroom.


Hydrate During the Flight

With the dry air, your skin will get dried out quickly and you’ll also start to feel uncomfortable. Remember to hydrate frequently. This means drinking plenty of fluids (stick to water and electrolytes like Gatorade if you can!) and moisturising your skin with lotion. Just think about how much water you would normally drink during the duration of your flight if you were not travelling and try to keep to that same amount.

Bring along a foldable water bottle keep yourself hydrated!


Make Friends With the Cabin Crew

Don’t annoy or irritate the people that can make your flight bearable and if you’re lucky, a great and smooth-sailing journey. Be nice and friendly to the cabin crew by saying hello to them, smiling and making conversation them. If you need something, do find an appropriate time to approach them. By doing this, the cabin crew will remember you as a friendly passenger and they’ll be happier to help you when you need it.


Take Breaks & Stretch

Sitting for hours on end will make you feel like you’re on an endless flight and you’ll end up feeling lethargic. It also causes your blood circulation to slow down and puts you at risk of developing blood clots, causing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which is extremely dangerous.

Keep your circulation going and loosen up your joints by taking breaks and walking around the cabin. If you are at higher risk of blood clots (i.e. if you’re on medication or birth control pills or have a genetic clotting disorder), do this regularly and wear compression socks. You can also take the time to do stretches in your seat or at the back of the plane (just try not to get in the way!). Get your pair of compression socks before your next flight!


Avoid Alcohol or Only Consume a Little

Consuming alcohol on the flight can wreak havoc on your body, often leaving you dehydrated. Flying at that elevation may also cause you to feel intoxicated faster (probably why you will sometimes see drunk passengers on your flight!). If you must have an alcoholic drink, I would recommend sticking to just having only one. Afterwards, load up on water to prevent yourself from getting dehydrated. You will generally feel better and be able to get more rest this way.


Brace the Cold

The plane cabin can be a frigid and cold place to be in for extended hours. Airlines normally give you a blanket for the flight but it might not be enough! Brace for the cold with a scarf or shawl and a jacket. Keep yourself warm and you’ll find it gets easier to fall asleep or do other things to pass the time away. I personally carry my Encircled Chrysalis Cardi whenever I travel on planes as I can use it as a scarf or blanket, and as a bonus the cardi turns into various outfits for my trip!


Keep Yourself Busy

Try to keep to your regular schedule and do things that you would normally do when you’re not flying. Take advantage of the time when you’re disconnected from the rest of the world by reading, watching movies or catching up with your work. I find that being on a long-haul flight gives you plenty of time to finish the book that you’ve been meaning to read. By keeping yourself busy, you’ll find that time passes by more quickly and you’ll feel more productive by the time you’ve landed!

I normally bring along my Kindle and load it up with a couple of new books for the trip. It’s great because I don’t need to weigh my luggage down with multiple books and if I run out of things to read, I can always find more online!

Another tip would be to stay away from looking at the flight progress screens on your in-flight entertainment systems. It’s just like the saying goes “a watched pot never boils”.

Catch up on your reading and bring along a library with you on your Kindle!


Block Out the Noise

The dull humming of the plane’s engines can become a nuisance and make it difficult for you to concentrate on your reading or for you to fall asleep. There might also be other noises from people talking on the plane, babies crying (please do not be rude and tell the poor parents off! They are trying their best and don’t want to see their kids in discomfort.) and sounds from the trolleys. Drown out the noise with earplugs or listen to your favourite tunes on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Try out this pair of comfy noise-cancelling headphones by Sony here!


Try to Get Some Sleep

Travelling for a long duration can take a toll on your body and disrupt your sleep cycle. I would normally try to get some sleep and try to adjust myself to the time zone I’m travelling to. It’s always good to catch some z’s and you’ll feel more refreshed when you land.

However it can be tough to find a comfortable position to sleep on the plane. In economy, you’re mostly in a sitting position and there isn’t much room for you to move around. Nowadays, I’ll bring along a travel neck pillow to support my neck when I sleep. Other things that would come in handy would be having earplugs and eye masks to block out other distractions in the cabin.

Prepare for a comfortable sleep with your own travel pillow.


With long-haul flights, you can never be too prepared. So cover your bases, make sure you’ve got all the essentials with you and keep yourself busy. Before you know it, the hours will fly by (pun intended!) and you’ll soon be landing at your destination! Let me know in the comments below the steps you take for a comfortable flight!


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