Smart Ways To Make Long-Haul Flights More Comfortable

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures/Up in the Air

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures/Up in the Air

Do you spend a lot of time on planes flying long distances? Or are you preparing for your first long journey in the sky? We know flying, especially long-haul, can be pretty uncomfortable, but many seasoned travelers have come up with useful tricks to ease the journey as much as possible. Some of them might even make you enjoy that 15-hour flight! Read on for some of the best tips out there to make long-haul flights as manageable as possible!


Dress Appropriately

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Airport and flight attire is a real thing, and you might want to avoid anything that makes you feel constricted in your clothing. Skip the jeans and formal shirts, even if you are traveling for work. Instead, bring a dedicated flight outfit which should consist of soft and stretchy pants, a loose t-shirt, a warm jumper for the air conditioning (even if traveling in the peak of summer), and a scarf for extra warmth. Clothing really makes one of the biggest differences in how comfortable your flight is. Make sure you get it right!


Always Get There Early

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

Most people know that you have to get to the airport really early, although the exact time varies. Some argue that’s it has to be 3 hours before boarding, while others say that it’s more. Either way, you have to do this to avoid any unforeseen catastrophe, from a slow parking lot trolley to long security lines.


Use Lounges If You Can

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

Frequent flyers should really start taking advantage of the lounges at the airport. Some people use their American Express Platinum card to do so. There are several airports around North America where you can enter for free just for being a cardholder. Some lounges charge a fee, but it might be worth it in the end.


Make Sure That There Are No Delays

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

While you cannot control everything that happens with your flights, you can still rely on statistics. The fact is that you should really buy an early morning flight because they are less likely to be delayed. There’s an unspoken rule that the later you travel, the higher the chances of flight deferrals.


Layer Up

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Image Credit: Unsplash

This tip just highlights the importance of dressing comfortably for that long-haul flight. Expert tip - layer up! Layers are great for travel, as climates can change rapidly, and airplane temperatures tend to go from freezing to boiling within a matter of minutes. Be prepared! If you bring a lot of layers, you won't freeze if it gets too cold, and if it is too hot, you can also use the extra clothing as pillows or blankets.


Pick The Right Shoes

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Just like clothing, shoes are also an important part of your flight outfit. You want to steer clear of heels or chunky boots, as chances are you will need to rush to your gate or through security at some point. It’s very likely that you will need to take your shoes off once you are on the plane to get comfy, so don’t bring ones that are complicated to take off and put back on. Aim for breathability and lightness.


Check-In In Advance

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Eliminating as much stress from your journey as possible is vital. This is why you should check-in early, and avoid queuing up at the airport because of that. If you have luggage, you will simply need to drop it off at the desk, and off you go to security. This will give you more time to check out the stores or charge your phone one last time. Don’t forget to make use of the airline app for check-in too. Most airlines offer this seamless service now. 


Never Drink Anything Fizzy

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

We all love Coke and other sodas, but if you are in for a long flight, it’s best to avoid them. The simple reason is that carbonated beverages make you swallow a lot of air. This gets into your digestive tracks and will come out eventually as burp or farts. Additionally, if the pilot moves to different altitudes, the air could expand causing you pain.


Take Morning Flights to Avoid Turbulence

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Image Credit: Pexels

Unfortunately, some people suffer from terrible motion sickness. While there are many medications they can take, it’s best to follow this tip as well. If you can choose the time of your flight, pick the morning. Turbulence happens because as it gets hotter, air rises up. This is also what happens with storms and strong winds. They are likely to happen later in the day.


Pick The Right Seat

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Picking the right seat on a plane is an art in itself, and for different people, it might work differently. It highly depends on your personal preferences, but there are some general tips to keep in mind. For example, if you know you like to stand up and stretch often, you might want to opt for the aisle seat instead of the window. On the other hand, if you know you are most likely to sleep through the majority of the flight, definitely get yourself a window seat. The back seats also tend to be less packed, as airlines fill the planes up from front to back. If you are looking to snag that three-seater just for yourself, book the last seat on the plane.


Bring Cash With You

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

We know that nowadays there are ten million apps plus credit cards to pay for everything. However, it’s important to carry small bills in dollars or euros. You often need to tip valets or other services, and cash will come in handy. You can even purchase from in-flight things with some cash. Also, when you arrive at your destination, withdraw some local currency at the ATM.


Make Sure That Your Bag Comes Out First

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

After a long flight, the last thing you want to do is to wait for your bag to appear on the carousel. It’s hard to avoid something like that, but there’s a bit of a trick. If you’re one of the last people to check-in, your bag will automatically be at the top of the pile. Basically, it’s last-in, first-out.


Check For Freebies

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

We have already mentioned that being nice goes a long way towards getting a better service. However, frequent flyers will tell you to bring gifts for flight attendants. Just something simple like a chocolate bar. This will ensure that you get the best treatment and even some free stuff along the way.


No Babies Nearby

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

While you might not be able to avoid a flight with a baby on board, you don’t have to sit right next to that family. On a long flight, there’s a huge chance that babies will start getting fuzzy and cry. Therefore, make sure to sit somewhere far from the partitions. These are the only places where parents can set a bassinet. Therefore, most parents will be close to those spots.  


Ask About Seats Again

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Image Credit: Unsplash

If you didn’t manage to get the seat you wanted when you were checking in, don’t worry, there might still be hope. Even if the check-in system showed a full flight, the agents at the gate will be able to tell you if there is a free place in the end. You might get lucky and score an empty row seat, or even better, an exit seat with plenty of legroom. Always ask, you never know!


Better Not Use Any Ice

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

People like their drinks cold, and it’s refreshing on a plane. However, you might want to avoid asking for any on your next flight. Aside from the fact that more ice means less beverage in the glass, these cubes were made from the water tank. Sadly, the tank might not be sufficiently cleaned.


Always Leave the Air Turned On

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

It might be cold on the airplane, but that can be resolved with some layers. However, it’s important to keep the air vent going because it creates sort of a force field over you. This means that with the air on, you can avoid contracting diseases from other passengers. Additionally, it helps avoid dry skin.


Bring A Travel Kit

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Make your long-haul flight comfortable by stocking up on all the things you find useful. You should also add some small luxuries to your onboard travel kit. Toothbrush, deodorant, or hairbrush might be some of the essentials, but don’t forget about a sleeping mask if you are a light sleeper, earplugs for noise, small perfume or essential oil for comfort, or your favorite face cream for pampering.


Pack Extra Socks

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Something that should never be missing from your travel kit is extra socks. You will get sweaty while traveling, and there is nothing worse than stuffy socks that feel like you’ve worn them for three days straight. Simply bring an extra pair of comfy socks for the plane, and change them immediately as you board. You will feel fresh and comfortable right away.


Pack Snacks

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Image Credit: Unsplash

You might think there will be enough food on board, but trust us, there never is. Long-haul flights get boring, and sometimes the only thing to do is to eat. Bring your own snacks that don’t take up too much space and will last you the whole journey. If you can, try to pick the healthiest thing in the supermarket snack aisle. Organic energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, or even chopped carrots or peppers make great and nutritious snacks that are easily packable as well.


Never Sleep During Takeoff or Landing

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

Some people fall asleep as soon as they get on the plane, but no one should really do that. The fact is that your ears cannot regulate pressure while going up or coming down at such speeds. So, we recommend doing something to avoid injuries such as chewing gum and maybe using some plugs. You can also take some antihistamine to ease the effect.


A Handy Way of Getting Some Peace

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

Unfortunately, some people have to take their children on a plane, and things can get noisy. However, you don’t have to put up with their behavior. All you need is a pair of silicone earplugs so that you can sleep on most of the flight. Some people love noise-canceling headphones, which are great for music too.


Hydration Is Key

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Plane air is notoriously terrible, and you will get severely dehydrated if you don’t keep up with your fluid intake. To combat the dry and air-conditioned air, make sure you have enough to drink and to drink regularly. Long-haul flights always offer water, so you can ask the flight attendants for a few cups every hour, even if food service is not passing by. It’s important to try and avoid alcohol, coffee, or a lot of sugar, as these tend to dehydrate you even more, so best stick to pure bottled water.


Always Pick the Seats at the Back

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

If you don’t have a regular preferred seat on an airplane, we recommend choosing one at the back, and there’s a very simple reason for that. Sometimes, it might be a little noisy because the flight attendants are working, but you get better service. You might even get offered more things because they have a rule not to walk around with special stuff as there is not enough for everyone on board.


Avoid All Family Routes

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

If you get a chance to choose a layover or connecting flight, we sincerely advise you not to choose common family routes. For example, any flight that goes to Orlando might have a lot of families on vacation to Disney World. You can’t always avoid them, but it’s best to try if you want a decent rest on the plane.


Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle

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Image Credit: Unsplash

One of the best tricks out there for plane travel of any kind is to bring your own reusable water bottle or coffee cup. As flight attendants will very gladly fill it up with water or even coffee or tea if you ask, it is the best accessory to have with you. You won’t have to wait for food service to pass by in order to ask for the drinks, and you can enjoy a warm coffee for the duration of the flight. 


Bring Movies

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Yes, long-haul flights do have entertainment on board, but the quality of the screens tends to be terrible, often taking away from your movie viewing experience. If you own a tablet or if you are traveling with your computer, simply stock it up with some of the movies or TV shows you would love to watch, and you will have your own personal entertainment system. No passenger announcements will disturb your movie watching anymore.


The Trick To Find Cheaper Flights

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

For some reason, if you check the same flights several times on your browser, the prices will probably go up. This has something to do with the cookies on your browser, as these companies know that you want to buy them. Therefore, it’s best to always browse and purchase using Private Browsing or the Incognito window.


Emphasize That Your Bags Have Something Fragile

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

Anyone that has flown knows that bags go through hell, and you really shouldn’t keep any valuables inside your checked baggage. However, if you absolutely have to put something in your bag, place a piece of paper with the word “fragile”. This will ensure that people will handle it better at least. Sometimes, it might even be on the top of the pile.


Dress Nice To Get An Upgrade

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

Now, we’re not saying that this will always work, but if you get to the airport early, in a good outfit, and with a great attitude, you get some benefits. If you fail, you can also tell the check-in person that you’re on a honeymoon if you’re traveling with someone, of course. Who knows? You might get lucky.


Avoid Jet Lag by Jogging

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Image Credit: Pexels

If you’re going to a different continent, you might have to deal with jet lag. Everyone hates it, and most people think there’s no way to get around it. That’s where they are wrong. You can fight it off by jogging on the first morning of your visit, especially if the sun’s out. Its rays will help inform your body of the new schedule.


Prepping Before The Flight to Prevent Jet Lag

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

While we have already learned that you can try and get rid of jet lag by jogging early at your destination, you can also try to prevent it before the flight. In fact, you can start adjusting to a new schedule. You should also choose flights that arrive at daylight and get a good night’s sleep before you fly.


Podcast It Up

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Image Credit: Unsplash

If you are worried about your battery life, which can get depleted quickly if you are watching a video, go for podcasts. They barely eat up any battery and will keep you entertained for hours. You can download a few episodes onto your phone, and you will be set. Make sure to get a wider variety of podcast topics, as you never know what you will be in the mood for once you are on the plane.


Avoid Having Too Many Carry-Ons

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

Of course, if you’re taking a long flight, you might need a lot more stuff. However, you don’t need to have more than one carry -on at a time. The only exception might be parents. But, it’s always best to carry a light load at the airport. Minimize your needs and figure out what the most important things are.


Get Some Work Done

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

Unfortunately, long flights can be boring, and if you don’t want to sleep, you can entertain yourself in many ways. On the other hand, you can get some work done as well. After all, if your laptop is there, maybe it’s the best time to get cracking. Additionally, you will look like a cool businessperson while doing so.


Avoid Plane Blankets

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Long-haul flights tend to offer plane blankets and pillows to the passengers. But if you care about hygiene, you might want to avoid them. They rarely get washed and are repeatedly used by many people, so probably not the best choice for your health, especially if you are sensitive to these kinds of things. Just bring your own.


Be Friendly to the Staff

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

It goes without saying that you should always be polite to the flight attendants, or anyone in the service industry, for that matter. However, you can always go further than that and make sure that they know your name. You will most likely get special treatment, and both will have a good time by being kind to one another.


Strike Up a Conversation

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

While most people prefer their alone time on the plane, some frequent fliers actually enjoy meeting new people. If you find yourself near someone that likes to chat, you might get to know a rather interesting person. Of course, don’t bother anyone that’s not up to it. Go with your gut and spend a good time.


Prepare Your Angry Face

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

While some people are very friendly on planes, others prefer not to be bothered. Therefore, if you don’t want anyone talking to you or disturbing you, you better have an angry face ready. Most people will stop their naughty behavior if someone shoots them the “death glare”. And folks will know to stay far from you.


Be As Relaxed As Possible

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

There are many things that can go wrong while traveling. The flight might be delayed, you might get seated next to someone annoying, possibly something more catastrophic. However, these are things that you cannot change. So, it’s best to adopt a good attitude. Close your eyes, breathe, and accept what happens.


Getting on the Shorter Line

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

You might already know that the majority of us are right-handed. Well, most people will naturally go toward their dominant hand. Therefore, if you want to avoid long lines, you need to make sure that you go left if there’s a fork. Things should go much quicker.


Stretch

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Image Credit: Unsplash

We can’t stress enough how important regular stretching is on a long-haul flight! Sitting for a long period of time will wreak havoc on your spine, and you want to make sure you get it mobilized as much as possible. Stretching is also great for blood flow which tends to be constricted towards your limbs whenever you fly. You should be getting up from your seat every hour for a few minutes, doing some basic stretches in the aisle. Don’t mind the curious onlookers, they will soon join you too if you break the ice.


Turn On the Alerts on Your Phone

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

You might be able to get a lot of information about an airport from downloading a special app. Applications like Trak-a-Line will inform you whenever a security line gets too long. Additionally, you should always have other apps for traffic and more to make sure that you will reach the airport on time. It’s all about making the experience easier.


Be Polite To Everyone Else

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

While we have already stressed the importance of being nice to the staff, being kind to fellow passengers is as important as well. You might be going through a bad day or you might just be tired, but you don’t know what’s going on in everyone else’s life. It’s just better to be respectful to your fellow passengers.


A Beauty Tip: Use a Scarf

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

We already recommended the use of layers to make sure that you’re never too cold on an airplane, but this is another hack. If you want to avoid having messy hair by the time your flight lands, you can wrap it up with a scarf instead. Many women in older movies did this, and it’s the exact trick. Also, you will look very stylish too.

Long-haul flying can be daunting, and many of us dread spending such hours on a plane. But there are ways to make your journey more comfortable, and once knowing them, you should apply them without exception. Your flights will soon become painless, and you will start adding even more little hacks to your own trips soon enough. Make it personal, and make it enjoyable!

Sources: DrivePedia, Smart Travel, Mentalfloss, Travel and Leisure, Travel ChannelTravel Channel, Travel Channel, The Planet D, Business Insider

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