If you mention that you’re jetting off to some far-off land like Australia or Abu Dhabi, usually the first thing out of people’s mouths is some variant of “that flight must be excruciating.” I get it. People hate being stuck in an airplane for longer than takeoff essentially. Time has this funny way of feeling as though it’s standing still when you’re on board an aircraft, so flights that are particularly long tend to be even more painful. Whether it’s the cramped conditions, the canned air or just sheer boredom that makes people dread flying time, we have some tips that will make your next long trip more tolerable.
1. Seat Selection
Although most people think that all seats in coach are terrible, you’d be surprised to learn that your seat assignment alone can make or break your flight. Being stuck in the middle seat on a long flight can be a difficult venture to bear since you won’t have much space of your own and you’ll have to bother someone every time you want to get up. But, if you get an aisle seat, you can stand up and stretch your legs whenever you need to without feeling as though you’re disturbing the people around you. Conversely, if you want to rest instead of stretch your legs, (and truly believe you can fall asleep on the plane,) snagging a window seat may be a better option. You’ll also want to take your location on the plane into consideration. The middle of the aircraft away from the bathrooms and the flight attendants stations is best. You’ll have more room and not be disturbed should you want to take a cat nap. Check out SeatGuru to find the best seat possible before booking your next flight.
2. Eating & drinking
People tend to get bored on long flights and often when people are bored, they overeat. Try to curb the snacking by packaging some small protein-rich snacks that will keep you full but prevent you from eating too much and feeling gross for the rest of the day. It’s also very important to stay hydrated during flights. The recycled air on board a plane is much drier than on the ground and will dehydrate you faster than you think. Ask for extra water when the flight attendants make their rounds or pack extra before you leave. And on that note, try to limit alcohol and caffeine since they will just zap your hydration that much faster, leading to headaches and even more irritability.
Chances are good that you won’t be able to sleep for most of your flight, regardless of how tired you are so definitely stock up on multiple entertainment options. You’ll want electronics, but also include a magazine or an actual paper book in case your iPad/laptop dies en route. You’ll probably also want to bring some music to listen to and a pad of paper and a pen in case inspiration strikes. And do your sanity a favor and try not to look at the time left for the flight. You’ll just make yourself crazy.
4. Stay Comfortable
This one seems the most impossible since who can really be comfortable on a long flight, but believe it or not there are things that you can bring that will help your comfort level. Pack things you’d want if you were spending the day on your couch. Bring your own blanket or sweater so you’re not shivering for 12 hours straight. Have a bottle of lotion and lip balm handy. If you’re planning on napping, or even if you just want to rest your eyes for a bit, pack a neck pillow or an eye mask and earplugs so you aren’t disturbed by the surroundings. Remember to get up and move around; stretching your legs does wonder for your mental clarity. And don’t forget to stay healthy! Pack hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes to clean off shared surfaces. You’ll thank yourself for that when you’re not sick a few days after your flight.