Fourteen hours? Sixteen? On a plane in a tiny little seat? Unless, you’re flying business class, and even then, a long-haul flight might seem a bit daunting. Planning ahead and packing a few essentials will go a long way for a comfortable flight, no matter how long it is. Look at this time in-between time two destinations as a perfect opportunity to unplug from your email and texting addiction.
So recline back and enjoy your long-haul flight with these tips.
Planning ahead is key
The worst thing you can do for a long-haul flight is to not ahead. A 14-hour flight is not one you want to wing. Instead, consider how you want to make use of your time. Do you want to sleep, do you want to go on a movie binge, or do you want to try to get some work done? Or do you want to do it all? You can if you plan and pack accordingly.
Have all your essentials handy
Make sure you have a bag that will fit comfortably by your seat with everything you’ll need for the flight: jacket, pillow, eye mask, laptop, book, water, snacks, kindle, iPad—whatever you’ll need for a long-haul flight. Having this mini bag within your carry-on that’s just for the flight means you won’t have to dig into your suitcase throughout the flight to find what you need.
Consider your seat
If you want to work on your laptop while you’re flying your best bet is probably exit row seats, bulkhead rows, and aisle seats that offer a bit more arm space—and don’t have seats in front of you reclining on top of your laptop. Or maybe you’d prefer a window seat with no one next to you. If all else fails, getting to the gate early and a smile can get provide a change to a better seat. You don’t need to be in first class to be comfortable, but you should absolutely try to get the best seat possible for a long flight.
Especially for long flights, what you’re wearing will dictate how comfortable the flight is. For long-haul flights consider getting compression socks that help blood circulation in your legs, and always wear something you can sleep in. Wear soft, stretchy clothes, and layers for the varying temperatures, planes are known for. Try not to look like you’re wearing your pajamas, but dress smart-comfy. Also key is wearing shoes that you can slip on and off easily.
Charge up your electronics
There’s nothing worse than getting on a long flight and realizing your seat is the one that doesn’t have a working outlet. And even if there is one, it can either be painfully slow or inconvenient to use. So do yourself a favor for your sanity and fully charge up your phone, laptop, and any other electronics before you get to the airport. That way you can use your time at the airport for something else other than sitting on the floor charging all your devices.
Download everything you’ll need
Even if your flight has WIFI, it won’t be fast enough to download everything you need. This means if you plan to work, download any materials you’ll need and make sure any notes you need are saved—not in your email you can’t access. Maybe you want to download a movie or music—whatever you’ll be doing with your time, make sure it’s all downloaded ahead of time when you have fast WIFI.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
For long flights, drinking water is essential. Any flight will zap you of hydration, but a long-haul can seriously dehydrate you if you’re not drinking enough fluids. And we don’t mean the little liquor and wine bottles, which will doubly dehydrate you. Bring your own water bottle to the airport and fill it up by your gate. Most airports now all have the bottle fillers at the water fountains.
Make friends, or at least be nice
You don’t have to talk for hours with the person next to you. In fact, we hope you don’t get someone next to you who tries to talk to when you just want to stare out the window in contemplative silence. Especially on a long flight, it’s wise to be pleasant and kind with the person next to you. This way they’ll be no passive aggressive fights over the armrest (we think the kindest thing is to give it to the middle seat) and your seatmate won’t mind moving for you in the middle of the night to use the restroom. And of course, be extra kind to your flight attendants who will be waiting on your need.
We all have different ways to get through long flights. What do you do to prepare?