15 Tips For Surviving A Long-Haul Flight in Economy
Last Updated on April 2, 2023 by Dana Berez
How to Survive A Long-Haul Flight
Whoever said, “life is about the journey, not the destination” probably didn’t think about long-haul flights, am I right? Being cramped in a chair for hours isn’t my idea of fun.
Thankfully over the years, air travel has become a lot more comfortable. At least the majority of long-haul flights provide some sort of entertainment, meals, and beverage service.
However, in this post, I am going to give you some extra tips on how to survive a long-haul flight and some long-haul flight essentials that will make the journey a lot more comfortable.
1. Workout A Day Before
Getting your body moving a day before a flight helps with regulating your sleep schedule, and will make sitting down for a long period of time more manageable.
If you normally don’t work out, don’t go overboard. A light yoga session, walking, or stretching will do wonders. The last thing you want on a long flight is a sore body.
2. Charge Your Electronics
If you plan on using your own electronics on the flight like headphones, iPad, Kindle, or Phone, be sure to fully charge them before you get to the airport/ plane.
While most planes do have outlets or USB chargers sometimes they may not work. Plus you’ll want everything charged so you don’t have to waste time on the plane charging your things.
This surge protector charging station from Amazon has 8 outlets and 4 USB chargers which make charging all your electronics in one place super simple!
You may also want to bring a cordless portable cellphone charger as well, so when you are on the go traveling you can still have a full battery.
3. Pick Your Seat Strategically
If you have the option to pick your seat, take it. While this may come at an extra charge on some airlines, it’s worth it to be comfortable. You’ll be there for a few hours, might as well pick a good one.
The last thing you want on a long-haul flight is a bad seat, like near the restrooms which can be very disturbing with people standing in the aisle.
If you plan on sleeping the entire flight, pick a window seat. When in the aisle seat sit, you will be interrupted by others getting up to use the restroom or walk the aisles.
However, if you are like me who finds falling asleep on the plane near to impossible and likes to get up multiple times during the flight choose an aisle seat.
Try to get the middle seat all to yourself. If you are booking in a pair, don’t book your seats next to each other. Have one person book a window, and another book an aisle seat leaving the middle seat open. That seat will get filled last, and chances are if not a full flight you’ll have no one in between you. I’ve done this many times, and it works!
Extra legroom goes a long way. If you are part of an airline loyalty program, use miles to upgrade your seat, if available. Otherwise, you can always pay to upgrade your seat, sometimes for a great deal.
Avoid choosing a seat near the bathroom. This area usually gets crowded with people waiting to use the restroom.
To stay comfortable, I’ve brought these yoga massage balls on the flight with me to use for an in-flight self-massage on my back, arms, and feet!
4. Download an Audiobook or Podcast
Airline entertainment has come a long way. Most likely on a long-haul flight, you will have a personal TV where you can catch up on your latest shows, or watch a new movie.
However, getting all that screen time always tires out my eyes. I like to listen to some entertainment instead of watching for some duration of the flight.
Be sure to download podcasts or audiobooks before you board the plane so they are already downloaded on your phone. The reception is bad once you board the plane, and you might not be able to download your favorites in time before taking off.
I like using Audible for my audiobooks. They have the most popular fiction and non-fiction books to choose from, and you can try it FREE for 30 days to listen to your favorite book on the plane. A great mind-blowing read or listen is Dark Matter by Blake Crouch!
5. Pack Noise Cancelling Headphones
I can’t believe I traveled so long without noise-canceling headphones. I tried them once on a plane and now can’t travel without them. The noise-canceling headphones cancel out the loud plane noise and you can actually hear your entertainment with clarity without raising up the volume.
They have become one of my Amazon Travel Must Haves for any flight.
Tip: Many headphones, like the Apple AirPods, have no cord and are only Bluetooth. Airplane TVs have not changed and still require the traditional headphone jack to connect to your headphones.
So if you only have Airpods, you can’t watch airplane TV’s with them. You need to get this Bluetooth wireless transmitter that connects any Bluetooth-capable headphone to the airplane TV without any cord!
6. Bring Snacks
When flying on a long-haul flight, the airline will provide one or two meals depending on the length of the flight. Typically you will receive one meal shortly after take-off and one just before you reach your destination. This way, if you want to sleep during the flight you won’t miss your meal.
However, it is always best to pack some of your favorite snacks just in case you don’t like the food provided or get hungry outside of the meal service times.
The biggest tip when packing snacks is to bring things that are odorless! This is a courtesy to everyone on the plane. Even though your garlic-grilled salami sandwich smells good to you, the whole plane won’t be thrilled.
Here are some of my favorite healthy snacks to pack on a long-haul flight:
- Granola/ protein bars
- Pop Chips
- Trail Mix
- PB&J Sandwich
- Yogurt (Keep Cold)
- String Cheese (Keep Cold)
- Homemade Sandwich (Keep Cold)
You can use these reusable snack bags to pack your items that you can reuse for more snacks on the go.
7. Stay Hydrated
The wine cart is tempting while on a long-haul flight (it’s okay, have a glass, or two) but be sure to mirror that glass of wine with a glass of water. Since there is a lack of humidity on the plane, your body is more prone to get dehydrated.
Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up right before you board. You can bring your favorite water bottle, or you can get this foldable water bottle from Amazon which saves weight and space in your carry-on!
Pro Tip: you can ask to have it refilled throughout the flight instead of wasting smaller plastic cups.
8. Comfortable Clothes
What you wear on a long-haul flight is key to your comfort. And now there are so many options for athleisure pieces, that you can actually look cute on the flight and be comfortable.
Planes are notorious for being freezing cold so it is important to be prepared.
I like to wear lightweight and lose fitting items on the plane. A long sleeve shirt and comfortable black pants work perfectly. I also like to bring a multi-purpose cashmere travel wrap that I can use as a scarf or blanket if needed.
Tip: Depending on the seasons, I like to change into my airport outfit right before boarding. In summer, getting to the airport, checking in, and security sometimes work up a sweat. So, I like to pack fresh clothes in my carry-on and change into them before the long flight.
9. Wear Slip-on Shoes
Yes, I’m that person who likes to take off my shoes on a long-haul flight, but I always keep my socks on! Bare feet on a plane are not okay.
That’s why wearing slip-on shoes will make your flight so much more comfortable. You can slip them off for the duration of the flight, but if you need to get up you can easily put them back on for trips to the bathroom or stretching your legs.
10. Stretch your Legs
During the flight be sure to stretch and promote circulation in your legs. Get and take time walking throughout the cabin.
Not moving your legs for a long period of time can cause them to get sore and achy. Wearing compression socks will also help with this and make your flight much more comfortable.
11. Get on New Time Zone
When flying on a long-haul flight, your final destination will be in a completely different time zone. And you might arrive somewhere that’s the complete opposite of your current time.
To make the transition more manageable for your trip, I like to set the destination time on my phone World clock and try to adapt to the new time a week prior. Whether that be sleeping an hour earlier or later, just to get my body used to the new time zone.
So when you get on the plane, check to see what time it is in your destination, and try to get on your new time frame so you can arrive fresh.
12. Get Some Rest
Getting some rest on the plane is always a good idea. For me, it’s very challenging to actually fall asleep on the plane so I like to bring these travel essentials to help me get comfortable.
This adjustable neck pillow can form into many shapes which makes finding a comfortable position so much easier.
I also pack a light-filtering sleep mask to block out light! This helps you fall asleep, even if the cabin light is still on.
13. Enjoy Me Time
Because you are literally in a seat for hours, with not much to do I find that it gives me the opportunity to do those things I never get to do. For example, I love reading books or journaling so I always pack my latest read, and a pen and notebook.
Whatever hobby it is for you, take advantage of the quiet relaxing time you have on the plane to do it. If sleep is your idea of relaxing, go ahead!
14. Pack a Re-Fresh Kit
Cabin air is extremely dry leaving hands, lips, and eyes desperate for some moisture. It is important to bring along some items to keep your hygiene in check.
Before I packed these items, my skin always overproduced oil and I left the plane oily and with a few breakouts (not cute).
Packing an essentials kit is essential when flying long-haul. I like to keep all these items in a stylish travel makeup bag for easy access during the flight.
The things you should include are:
- Eyedrops/ Eye Wipes: These BioTrue micellar cleansing eye wipes keep my eyes refreshed and cool and come in individual packets.
- Antibacterial Wipes: A pack of WetOnes from Amazon is great for cleaning your surroundings and sanitizing your hands.
- Hand Cream: This LO’ccitane hand cream smells amazing and keeps hands moisturized.
- Eye Mask: Rejuvenating eye patches (Works wonders and actually sticks to your face!)
- Lip Balm
- Facial Mist: Mac Fix+ Spray
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste
15. Long-Haul Flight Essentials
I have a full detailed list of 47 long-haul flight essentials you need to bring on a long flight to stay comfortable, help you fall asleep, and make your trip even more pleasant.
And Be sure to check out my other Amazon travel must-haves post for more packing tips and ideas for any destination.
Hope you enjoyed these long-haul flight tips to make your flight more manageable.
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