Over the past few years I’ve taken many flights. In one trip to Asia I took 15 and as I work as a flight attendant I do hundreds of short haul ones a year.
Flying long haul is classed as a flight longer than 6 hours in duration. The longest I have taken is back from Hong Kong to London Heathrow which was just over 13 hours.
I have a few tips and ideas to try and make the journey as smooth as possible. It can be tiring and challenging being stuck inside a metal tube for hours but to reach your destination it is well worth it.
Brush your teeth! I always carry a toothbrush and toothpaste when flying. Especially long haul. It can be one of the ways to help you fall asleep as it gives your body a sense of routine and of course when you wake up its an instant way to feel fresh again. I also carry wipes, deodorant and moisturizer to freshen up before getting off the plane.
Hydrate! I cant emphasize this one enough. Drink water, water and more water. Flying really dehydrates your body, affects your skin and eyes.
Alcohol! Try and save the first alcoholic drink til you reach your destination. Alcohol dehydrates you and it effects you more in the air. It also makes you need the toilet more. If you really want to crack the first drink on the plane then try to go for a dry white wine or a spirit like gin or vodka with a diet mixer. Low carbs are going to help you feel less bloated. Beer is the worst choice here.
Caffeine! Flying long haul your body is already going to be lost with the time zones. Try to avoid caffeine. This will also help you to fall asleep easier, its hard enough being sat upright and with the sound of the engines.
Be friendly! This is not really a tip, but smiling at the flight crew, being polite and friendly to the people around you can make your journey better. Often I give the crew a token of gratitude, be it some chocolates or biscuits. Just as a thank you.
Headphones! Take your own. Often the inflight ones aren’t great. If you’re sat near the engines some noise cancelling ones can really help you to enjoy the film or music you are listening to.
Sleep! This is one I really struggle with. I can give tips being take an eye mask, earplugs and a neck pillow to assist you with drifting off. However for me personally none of these really help. Normally now I just try to battle through. On my flight to Thailand in November last year I got about 45 minutes sleep. Try to wear loose clothing and choose your seat, maybe a window one so you can lean. I always opt for an aisle seat just because I like to stand up and stretch and I don’t like to disturb people if I need to use the bathroom.
Food! Take your own snacks. Often on a long haul flight you get food straight away then before you land. It’s a good idea to try and eat at the times you would at your destination. I try to eat low carb on plane journeys and choose items that don’t make the cabin smell.
Ask for special meal, if you want to receive your food first! I often choose vegetarian or vegan options when I’m flying.
Jet lag! This is a tough one. I always find travelling west from Europe I don’t have a problem on the way or the way back. But travelling towards Asia from Europe a few times I’ve really had a problem with jet lag. Especially if I arrive in the morning. I try to stay awake all day and then go to bed at around 22.00. In Hong Kong I literally woke up again at 01.00 then couldn’t sleep again til 05.00 and woke back up at midday! This lasted for the first 4 days of the trip. On the way home I don’t seem to have a problem with it. I don’t really know the successful way to deal with this I’ve read many ideas on the internet but none of them seem to help me personally. If you have any ideas drop them in the comment box!
Wearing a mask! This has become a new normality after the recent covid-19 pandemic. It’s not the most comfortable thing to wear during a flight but it’s the rules now. Before you fly try a few different types of mask, see which one feels better on your face and that you feel fine wearing for several hours. Of course they will need to be taken off to eat or drink but be considerate of the people around you and put it back on when you are finished. Don’t wait for a flight attendant to have to ask you.
A few small points to leave you with, I don’t really agree with taking sleeping pills. I tried it on one flight and my body felt so sluggish when I got off the flight and for the first few days of my trip.
Are you a nervous flyer? I’m well aware many people have this fear. Flying is so safe, the first thing to think is do you worry when you get in your car? If you don’t then flying is so much safer than being on a busy motorway. Turbulence poses no risk to an aircraft, granted it can be uncomfortable but the plane can withstand it.
If you have any tips to help fellow flyers have a better journey pop them in the box below!