Travel Surviving a Long Haul Flight: 5 Tips

Surviving a Long Haul Flight: 5 Tips

Enjoy the journey, not the destination; unless the journey is a long haul flight. 4-hour flights are barely tolerable. A 15-hour flight will push your tolerance to a whole different level. The strangers seated next to you who were initially fun to be around now seem weird and disgusting. And it can get worse; how about a frequently crying baby seated behind you?

You cannot do much to control how badly your fellow travelers will behave and possibly leave wondering about all the would-you-rathers on that apply to the situation. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your trip that much more bearable.


1.   Choose Your Seat Carefully

Don’t leave it until the last minute to choose your seat. Make your travel arrangements as early as possible so you can lock in your preferred seat well before the flight is fully booked. There’s no perfect seating location on a plane. Different people will prefer different seat locations.

Some love to sit above the wing, others prefer the aisle, then there are those who want nothing but a window seat. Look for a position you’ll be comfortable seating in for hours. It’ll make you feel relaxed and ensure those hours airborne pass by that much faster.

2.   Exercise Beforehand

You’re on the verge of spending a dozen hours or more seated. Even if you get up regularly to stretch or take a bathroom break, the overwhelming majority of the time will see you confined to a sitting position. It would therefore be counterproductive for you to spend the hours leading to the trip seated.

Instead, take time to stretch, walk, or work out in the days leading up to the flight. That way, seating will feel like a change from your usual routine and will be more tolerable. That being said, be careful not to overdo it. Pushing your body too hard during the preflight workout can leave you sore and with muscle pain that only makes seating uncomfortable.

3.   Dress for the Occasion

Frequent travelers know that attire plays a key part in the quality of one’s experience during a flight. This is all the more important on a long haul trip. Stay away from stiff shirts, inflexible waistbands and tight jeans.

That said, there’s no harm in having layers since the temperatures can fluctuate considerably inside the plane. Once you are seated, you can always get rid of outward clothes if it gets uncomfortably warm.

Sometimes people will dress formally because they’ll be attending a meeting shortly after they leave the airport. In this case, it would be better to pack a change of clothes that you can put on at the airport once you disembark from the plane.

4.   Carry Small Comforts

A blanket and travel pillow wont crowd your bags, but can make an enormous difference on a long-haul flight. It’s going to be difficult to catch some sleep if your head is slumped awkwardly and you’re freezing from the cold. A blanket and travel pillow will keep you cozy and warm creating the right environment for you to endure the seemingly endless hours inside the flying metal tube.

5.   Get Away from It All

One of the mysteries of flying is how hard it is to fall asleep on the plane as compared to the amount of noise and lights we can tolerate at home and still drift off. Whether it’s the irritating light from a nearby laptop or the animated conversation of the couple across the aisle from you, planes seem to be overflowing with things that are designed to make it impossible for you to find some peace and quiet.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can easily get away from it all if you make use of noise-cancelling headphones (or earplugs if you don’t fancy music) and an eye mask. The darkness and quiet will give you a conducive environment to get some rest.


There’s no denying that long haul flights can be pretty rough. The above tips won’t get rid of all the discomfort but they can make sure it isn’t a living hell.


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