Commercial flights are often categorized into short-, medium- and long-haul flight by commercial airlines based on flight length. Many airline companies use air time or flight distance to measure flight length as there is no standard means of measurement. Although opinions differ, a typical long-haul flight lasts for over 5 hours. During a long-haul flight, you’re flying through multiple time zones, there’s no shower and if you’re booked in the middle seat in economy class; you’re going to be exhausted.
So what’s the best thing to do? Follow our top tips and long-haul flights will be a breeze.
- Pre-Book Your Seat
- Check in Early
- Dress comfortably
- Bring a pillow
- Pack your own accessories
- Bring Your own Entertainment
It is very important to choose the seating position you are most comfortable with before the flight so that your seating comfort will be assured for the duration of the flight. Some airlines charge for this privilege, others build it in to the cost of a ticket. Regardless, I would always recommend pre-booking your seat for long-haul travel. Whether you’re an aisle person (for easy access), or a window person (for views and something to lean on), it’s essential to ensure you don’t spend 24 hours battling for elbow room in the dreaded middle seat. You can also check that you’re not sitting right opposite the toilets.
Avoid stress and set aside plenty of time to get to the airport, taking possible traffic jams into account. Being one of the first in the check-in queue also gives you a wider choice of seats (if you haven’t already pre-booked) and with all the extra time you have at the airport, you can start your holidays early with a spot of shopping, a leisurely meal or by testing out the champagne bar.
You’re going to be wearing these clothes for a few hours, so there’s no point being uncomfortable. You’ll be far happier in comfy, loose-fitting clothes and soft, worn-in shoes than skyscraper heels and a figure hugging dress.
Unless you’re in business class, sleeping sitting up is unavoidable on a plane, and it usually comes hand in hand with neck ache. Long haul carriers normally provide a half-size pillow, but if you bring your own you’ll be much more comfortable. Use a neck-supporting pillow to avoid stiffness, or take the pillow from your own bed to give you a little reminder of home.
All the fancy people in business class get their own amenities kits, with things like eye masks and moisturiser and the like, so why not just pack your own? Earplugs are invaluable for ensuring you get some decent sleep on board. There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep only to be constantly disturbed by chatting passengers, loud coughing or crying babies. They might not be the cheapest option but bring noise-cancelling headphones and you’ll sleep in blissful silence, whatever’s going on around you.
To avoid stiffness and the increased chance of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) that comes with sitting still for hours on end, make sure you get regular exercise. We’re not talking running or weightlifting, but simple circling with your arms and ankles, or a short walk up and down the aisle to get the blood circulating, will help avoid any aches and pains.
If you’re not 100 per cent sure that your flight will have entertainment on board, make sure to pack your own, in the form of a phone, a tablet or a laptop loaded up with shows. It can also be a chance to catch up on all those novels you bought and never read! Choose a good title, immerse yourself in another world and the time will fly.