While your dream holiday might be waiting for you on the other side, there’s no getting away from the fact that long haul flights can be a drag. The thought of sitting in the same seat for hours on end, keeping spirits high and entertainment up, is enough to give even seasoned travellers pause.
A bit of clever preparation and smart thinking, though, can ensure that long haul flights are a decidedly smoother experience. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips to help make sure your next lengthy journey is a comfortable and maybe even an enjoyable one!
Before you go:
1. Buy connecting tickets
Long journeys often mean multiple flights – and with them, the potential for some serious stress. Navigating new airports is a tricky task at the best of times, never mind under tight time constraints, while making alternative plans in the event of missing a connection is a headache nobody wants to have.
Whenever possible, book from your point of departure to the very last destination of your trip; this way, your chosen airline will include your connecting flight in the booking, provide assistance if the clock is against you, and make arrangements for you if there’s a hiccup along the way.
2. Check-in online
You’ll be spending enough time stationary once you’re on board, so a queue before takeoff is the last thing you need. Check-in online, and you’ll simply need to drop your baggage before heading towards the departure gate. You’ll also have the chance to line up some of the finer details of your flight, like your meal preferences and where you’d like to sit.
3. Choose your seat wisely
Jumping out of your aisle seat every time someone needs to stretch their legs is no way to start a holiday! Book your seats ahead of time and be smart about it; a spot that gives you the best chance of a relaxing flight, and not too close to busy areas like the toilets or the galley. If you’re taller, this is the time to think about extra legroom, too; it’s a long way to go with your knees against your chest.
4. Take advantage of the baggage allowance
Most airlines have a checked baggage allowance of 20kg or more, offering the chance to leave your heavy stuff at the check-in desk. The bags you bring on board should be for essentials only; not only will this save your back and shoulders when it comes to walking through the airport, but it will make getting settled on board a lot easier too.
Of course, what you might classify as ‘essential’ is entirely up to you – but here’s a handful of items you might want to consider:
- Ear plugs are a godsend when it comes to getting some quiet – with some specifically designed to combat ear popping.
- Is there a particular kids toy, game or item that keeps your little ones transfixed for hours? However long you find the journey, to them it’ll seem like an eternity; something well suited to passing the time will be very useful indeed.
- Bring a change of clothes and extra layers – useful for wrapping up to drift to sleep or changing things up before you disembark.
- Travel-sized amenities such as hand sanitiser, face wash, and a toothbrush, will help you stay fresh throughout the journey.
- Travel pillows exist for a reason; if you’re hoping to nap your way through, they’re your best bet to help. Pro tip: position the pillow with the gap at the back of your neck to ensure you eliminate potential strain.
5. Enjoy the entertainment
One of the saving graces of long-haul travel is the in-flight entertainment; most airlines pull out the stops with blockbuster movies and must-see TV available on demand. It’s the perfect time to sit back and wade through a film franchise, or finally binge that show everybody’s been talking about! If you want to get ahead of the game, you’ll often find the current line-up on your airline’s website.
6. Comfort is key
Getting comfy, and especially comfy enough to get a bit of sleep might take a little work on a plane, but it is possible. Loosen your shoes, as your feet will swell over time. Get into the comfiest clothes you can and use whatever combination of blankets/cushions available.
7. Take a walk
Being seated in a cabin for hours on end isn’t great for body or mind, so be sure to get up and walk up and down the aisle every now and then – this will help support blood flow.
A long flight can be tough enough without feeling anxious– and if you’re a nervous flier, keeping cool and calm can be a challenge. From mindful breathing and meditation techniques, there are a million and one different approaches that people will swear by; it’s worth doing your own research to see if there’s something that suits you.
There’s one trick that will work for absolutely everyone, though – and that’s telling a member of the cabin crew. They’re veterans of long-haul flights, who’ve seen and heard it all before, and will likely have helped hundreds of anxious passengers in the past. Let them know if you’re nervous, and they’ll likely check in on you throughout the flight, offering friendly reassurance and their own expert tips to make your journey as comfortable as possible.
Now that you know our top tips for long-haul flights, we hope you enjoy your flight.
Planning your next trip? Why not get a 20% discount on single-trip and multi-trip travel insurance through Aviva Direct.1
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