“There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.” – Orson Welles.
As I’ve done a lot of travel lately, this quote made me smile. So I made a list of the top things to bring with you on a long haul flight to make it a little more comfortable. Note: Comfortable is a relative term here – long-haul economy class flights are never actually comfy!
5) Sleeping aids, and not just little masks and earplugs. Take sleeping pills if you want, or try more natural ones like melatonin – but don’t test them out for the first time if you have to do ‘real life’ things at the other end. They might make you really drowsy!
Pills not your thing? Much to my delight, I just discovered they will give you free beer on long flights. Knock one or two back and pass out for six hours.
4) Comfortable clothes. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen staggering around airports in high heels. Don’t do it! There’s the flight, plus 2 hours before jetting off, plus the security lines, plus getting out at the other end. Wear sensible things – it’s already bad enough being stuck in one of those teeny tiny seats for hours. I usually wear leggings, a tank top, a cardigan or jacket, and comfy boots.
3) Charged electronics. It’s so frustrating to settle down into your seat, reach cruising altitude, then turn on your iPod to find you forgot to charge it. Make sure you charge it the night before! Some long-haul flights do have outlets for plugging things in…but not all of them.
2) Reading material – I recommend a Kindle, despite my hate for e-books. They’re perfect for long flights because you have thousands of books at your disposal. And if one sucks, you can swap it out immediately. E-books are awesome for long flights (especially if you have techie friends who will get you thousands of books for free…)
1) Patience! You’re going to need this one repeatedly. You’re stuck in security lines and your connecting flight is leaving NOW? Patience. You’re 6 hours into your flight and it feels like it’s already lasting forever? Patience. You’re finally at your destination…and they’ve lost your bags? Patience. When you realize you have to re-do the whole long trip to get back to wherever you came from? PATIENCE!
A few other things that probably help:
- Not over-packing your carry-on (I actually injured myself from a too-heavy bag)
- Drinking lots of water
- Bringing cash for your destination, gum, and sunglasses
- Traveling alone so you don’t have to deal with anyone else’s misplaced passport/baggage/sense of humor
- One of those neck pillows – they work!
- Being petite so you can actually fit in the seat
Any other tips for making those awfully long flights a little more bearable? Also, if you’re doing long-haul flights, check out the Top Six Ways to Beat Jet-Lag.
“I did not fully understand the dread term ‘terminal illness” until I saw [London airport] Heathrow for myself” – Dennis Potter