Tips for comfortable trips – Surviving a long haul flight without being wrecked



he biggest gripe concerning long haul flight is undoubtedly the time and discomfort factor; alas we can do little about the speed of flight but we can however exercise some control over our own comfort and well being. First let’s look at a few good tips that did not make the top ten.

Avoid coffee

This is very good advice. We all know that the evil bean keeps us awake and makes us irritable.

Don’t drink alcohol

Well that’s a tricky one, all things in moderation is the motto. Some people find a couple of drinks relaxing and are able to fall blissfully asleep for virtually the whole journey. But generally the advice must be avoid copious amounts of alcohol; it’s a depressant and also dehydrates the body.

Wear an eye mask and ear plugs

Some may feel a little self-conscious about donning a mask; but it certainly could help you rest and relax. As for ear plugs, maybe substitute these for small earphones with music of your choice.

Wear pressure socks

Seems to be a sensible idea considering the risk of deep vein thrombosis, caused through long periods of immobility. Although the socks can be more than a little uncomfortable, tight and often difficult to get on and off. Nevertheless they are definitely advisable for people who are less mobile.

In the majority of cases simple exercise should suffice for most travelers.

Sit near the plane’s wing

By sitting near, not on, the wing of the plane you should experience less effects of turbulence. (lucky travellers in an Airbus A380 hardly feel any turbulence, hence this is the favorite aircraft for business travellers)


Let’s now move swiftly on to the top ten tips for a more comfortable long haul trip. A top ten in no particular order.
  • Engage with other passengers. Share stories and experiences; make the flight more of an adventure. Do what we humans do best, talk engage and laugh. Conversation will cause time itself to fly! OK perhaps not for everyone.
  • Engage with airline staff; be polite, flattering and of course compliant. You may be surprised what little ‘extras’ may come your way.
  • Bring an MP3 or similar player and earphones; essential should you have over boisterous companions. Music soothes the soul and drowns external noise. These days you can even watch a film on your phone!
    You can buy headphones with electronic anti-noise function to subdue external noises, also means you can turn the sound down. Be guided by the airliner’s rules as to use of electronic equipment.
  • Eat and drink sensibly. Maybe a light snack, cheese and biscuits an apple or maybe a sandwich (pack my own). Overeating can tend to make you feel bloated. Find out exactly when meals are available during the flight so you can plan ahead. It has been proven that the digestive system works more slowly and differently during flight, so go easy.
  • Drink water – well that’s always sound advice wherever you are. Staying hydrated makes sense. The effects of dehydration are potentially dangerous. So make an effort.
  • Wear clothes you feel comfortable in. Traveling long haul is tiresome enough without a belt or bra trying to throttle your organs. Wear something loose and comfortable … it’s not a fashion show.
  • Try to book an aisle seat. You may very well disagree with this one, surely a window seat is the best option? As much as you may like the view always go for an aisle seat for one very good reason … you will not be hemmed in. You’ll be able to get up and go to the loo or stretch your legs at any time without having to scramble over other passengers. Furthermore if the seating is arranged in three rows then always go for an aisle seat in the centre row. This means that both you and one other accompanying passenger will have direct access to an aisle. This cuts down the odds of you being regularly clambered over.
  • Exercise. Stretch those leg and arms, you can do that without getting out of your seat. Occasionally get up and stroll to the loo or galley. It is important to keep that blood flowing.
  • Try to sleep. This for many people is extremely difficult. You can of course take a sleeping tablet, but beware too much sleep can heighten the effects of jet-lag. Ask for a comforting neck pillow. Sleep if you can, don’t eat or drink too much, relax and take it all in your stride. (At the end is a special tip, or ‘trick’, that may also help you sleep.)
  • Lose yourself in a good book, or magazine. Maybe try a crossword or Sudoku.
  • Always take a 50cc aerosol can of spring water. Use it occasionally to moisten your face; a great way to freshen up. Makes the other passengers wish they’d thought of the idea!
  • This is a little known ‘trick’, before trying to sleep brush your teeth. May sound odd but it really can work. Probably a subconscious association with bedtime and sleep. Try it!

However you chose to alleviate the discomfort of a long haul flight always remember that others may be adversely affected by your actions. Think not only of yourself but also bear in mind the comfort and well-being of your fellow passengers.

Happy and comfortable hauling!

Read also

Surviving a Layover on Bangkok Airport

Top tips to prevent Jet Lag after a long haul flight


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