How to survive a long flight

Getting to that perfect holiday retreat or business meeting sometimes means having to persevere through a long-haul flight. Take a look at our tips on how to survive a long flight and feel rested when you touch down at your destination.

Your next long-haul flight doesn't have to be uncomfortable. Image credit: izusek/iStock
Your next long-haul flight doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Image credit: izusek/iStock

Learning how to survive a long flight requires planning and practice. While air travel has brought even the most remote parts of the world within easy access, the biggest cost of visiting cities on the other side of the world is having to sit in a plane for hours on end.

Take a look at our top tips for surviving long flights.

Wear loose, comfortable shoes

The pressurized airplane cabin and having to sit upright for long periods of time can cause your feet to swell. Anticipate this by making sure you’re wearing loose, comfortable footwear. This goes for your clothes too, as wearing layers and loose-fitting clothes can make all the difference on a 12+ hour flight.

Walk around the plane periodically

Sitting in one place for hours on a long-haul flight can put you at risk of developing blood clots in your legs, otherwise known as deep vein thrombosis. The best way to avoid this is by getting up and walking down the aisle periodically throughout your flight. Drinking plenty of water and wearing loose clothes can also help you avoid this condition.

Have a chauffeur booked and waiting for you upon arrival

The last thing you want to do after a long flight is to have to search around for a taxi or other ground transportation to get you to your hotel. Booking a reliable Blacklane airport transfer in advance ensures you’ll have a driver waiting for you when you exit the baggage claim area. Why not also take advantage of an airport concierge service, which will help you fast-track immigration and customs, provide baggage assistance, and help you reach your Blacklane chauffeur with ease.

Book a Blacklane chauffeur service to make leaving the airport a breeze. Image credit: BlacklaneBook a Blacklane chauffeur service to make leaving the airport a breeze. Image credit: Blacklane
Book a Blacklane chauffeur service at your destination to take you to your hotel. Image credit: Blacklane

Pack for the flight

Yet another of our travel tips for long flights is to make sure you stow a few things in your carry-on bag to help make the long flight easier. These might include your favorite pillow, earplugs, an eye mask if light bothers you, or a blanket.

Bringing a few things to entertain yourself during the flight is also a good idea. You can’t be certain you’ll enjoy the movie selection on board, so why not bring a book, your e-reader, or earphones, so you can watch downloaded content from your phone.

Make sure you pack a charging cable. You don’t want your “entertainment system” to run out of power halfway across the Pacific Ocean.

Take your own entertainment as a back-up. Image credit: asiseei/iStock
Take your own entertainment as a back-up. Image credit: asiseei/iStock

Bring food and water

Staying hydrated on a plane is essential since the recirculating air can have a dehydrating effect. And, while most airlines provide food and beverages, bringing your own snacks, such as unsalted nuts and fruit, and a large bottle of water can help you keep hydrated while in the air.

Start the flight rested

This may sound obvious, but too many of us arrive at the boarding gate tired after working late trying to get affairs in order. If you’ve packed at the last minute or tried to spend some quality time with the family before jetting off, you might find you’re exhausted before you’ve even embarked on the long air journey. Being rested means you’ll be able to get to the airport early and board the plane stress-free.

Choose your seat wisely

Not all airline seats are created alike, as any seasoned traveler can tell you. Get stuck in a middle seat or a seat that doesn’t recline on a long-haul flight and your experience will be much less enjoyable than that of the person in the bulkhead or aisle seat. Since each airline places their seats in a slightly different configuration, even on the same aircraft, sites like SeatGuru can be invaluable in helping you identify in which seat you’ll be the most comfortable. The best seats generally go to those who book their seats early.

If you’re not able to secure a good seat in advance, check in early and ask the agent about changing seats to a more desirable location. Last minute cancellations could free seats that may have been reserved earlier when you checked online.

Say no to alcohol on the plane

Having a cocktail or two on the plane may seem like a good idea, especially if you are traveling for pleasure. However, not only does alcohol affect most people more in the pressurized airplane environment, but the long flight will intensify the effects of alcohol.

It’s not just alcohol that can cause you problems en route. Drinking coffee, soft drinks, or eating chocolate, can act as a diuretic and cause you to become dehydrated.

Ask about an upgrade

The best time to ask for an upgrade is when you check in at the airport. You’ll generally pay less at the check-in counter and your upgrade might even be free, especially if they know that your section is oversold or if there are empty seats in the next section. Check in early for best results.

Flying around the world doesn’t have to be a grueling experience. Learning how to survive a long-haul flight by arriving at the airport rested, packing a few items to keep you comfortable during the flight, and making plans for someone to meet you when you arrive can go a long way towards making an otherwise tiresome flight into something enjoyable.