Having done the flight to Europe and back seven times in the past year and a half, and dozens of times throughout my life, I can tell you – surviving a long haul flight comes with practice.
That being said, there are many habits that I have established over the years that have helped me go from feeling hesitant about long haul flights to actually enjoying them.
Picking a seat
I always check-in or select my seat before long haul flights, when possible.
Your individual preferences may vary, but I always make sure that I get an aisle seat, near the front of the plane, and preferably away from directly being next to the bathroom.
The aisle seat is my preference so I don’t disturb others when using the restroom and stretching. Not wanting to sit next to a restroom is a pretty obvious one (smells and a constant flow of people standing in line), and I like to be near the front of the plane so I can be one of the first to get off when it lands!
Packing for the flight
Beyond my luggage that I check in, I always pack a backpack with my carry-on essentials.
My long haul flight essentials are a neck pillow, my cell phone charger, my cell phone, head phones, ear plugs, my Chromebook, an extra pair of clothes, a toothbrush, a book, and card games.
It’s a good idea to carry high value or essential items (in my case – my phone, charger, and Chromebook) with you. In case my flight gets delayed or is an overnight flight, I also carry my toothbrush and an extra pair of clothes with me (also a smart move in case your luggage gets lost!).
If your luggage does get misplaced for more than a day, which can be a nightmare on long haul flights, keep in mind that you’re normally entitled to some money for more clothes (varies upon airline).
What to wear
Comfort is king on long haul flights. My go-tos are comfy pants (think workout or yoga pants), a shirt, and a jacket or sweater. Flights can get really cold so I bring the jacket or sweater to layer over my shirt, as well as a pair of warm socks. Shoes wise, I opt for breathable sneakers so that I’m able to hit the ground running once I land.
How to entertain yourself
As someone who needs to have something to do, I’ve put a lot of though into how to entertain myself. Before flights, I download podcasts, music, or games on my phone. I also usually pack a book to read, and card games if I’m traveling with someone else. For overnight flights I bring Benadryl (an allergy medicine) that helps make me drowsy but isn’t a sleeping pill.
During the flight my favorite thing to do is just veg out – there aren’t many times I have uninterrupted hours to watch TV and movies, so I take advantage of that.
Additionally, I’ll listen to podcasts or music, write, read, play games on my phone, play card games, sleep, and I try to frequently stretch. I also usually treat myself to a glass of wine (just don’t have too many)!
After a long haul flight, it’s not unusual to feel a bit grubby. What helps me feel a bit better is if I drink plenty of water before and during my flight (dehydration is real!), let my skin breathe by not wearing makeup, and wear comfy clothes. For overnight flights, I also try to keep my night time routine of brushing my teeth and using a makeup wipe to clear my skin.
Do you enjoy long haul flights? What are your tips and tricks?