How to Survive a Long Haul Flight
You’re so busy getting excited about the holiday itself that you’ve forgotten to consider the flight you’ll need to take to get there. And it’s a big one. The thought of an 8-to-15-hour flight can be daunting but long-haul doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Here’s our checklist to make sure you survive your long haul flight.
Before you fly
– Be smart with your airline choice. On long-haul, particularly if you’re travelling with youngsters, good service can make a real difference to how stressful – or not – your journey is. Check reviews online.
– Book your seat in advance. If you like extra leg room, go for an exit seat, or if you prefer to get up and walk around the cabin a lot during a flight, choose an aisle seat. If you’re stuck on the inside of a heavy sleeper (especially a stranger), things can get a little tricky if you have to wake them to get up!
– Pay attention to the airline specifications on bag dimensions and consider that you want to maximise your leg room, so bringing on as little as possible is advised. Think in-flight necessities only. If you’re travelling with kids, read on below: your agenda is somewhat different…
Our grown-up carry on essentials include:
– Earplugs and a comfortable eye mask, a water bottle, headphones, a tablet, book or e-reader, snacks, and a small bag of essential toiletries including moisturiser, lip balm, toothpaste and brush, and deodorant.
– Don’t forget your chargers and an extra battery pack. Try and charge up devices before you go but if you have your cables and battery pack, you can always reboot on board.
Health and comfort
– If you tend to get chilly, bring an extra sweater. Perhaps you like to nap with a pillow, pack a travel one and ensure you can get as comfortable as possible. If you’re a fan of the inflatable neck pillow, don’t forget to pack it.
– We recommend comfort over style for long-haul and would suggest layering light, soft clothing.
– Many people like to slip their shoes off and just wear cosy socks on board. Be aware that your feet may swell during the flight so soft shoes with adjustable fastenings/laces are preferable for arriving at the other side.
– If you normally wear contact lenses, it’s advised that you switch to glasses for your flight to avoid dry eyes or any irritation building up.
– It’s rare that you get 8 – 15 hours of uninterrupted time so make the most of it! Perhaps you want to race through some pressing work that’s been on your desk? If so, do that at the start of the flight then settle in for relaxation after.
– Bring an assortment of activities whether it’s your e-reader or book, podcasts or downloaded movie, make sure you have a few things to occupy your attention. Many long-haul operators have impressive in-flight entertainment channels which you can check before you fly – now could be the time to line up all those new movie releases you’ve missed recently.
– Don’t drink too much alcohol. It can be tempting, but alcohol on board can leave you feeling pretty rough on a long haul. Enjoy one or two and then leave the rest for when you land.
– Stay hydrated! Drink as much water as you can. Flights leave you dehydrated and it is thought this may contribute to jetlag – leave your water bottle beside you as a reminder to keep topping up.
– Keep moving. Short, frequent strolls around the cabin help you keep your body active throughout the flight and ward away any risk of DVT (blood clots due to inactivity). At the very least, try to rotate your ankles, feet and toes regularly to keep the blood pumping.
Flying with families
– Flying with family is never stress-free and the fear of your child being badly behaved or crying on a flight can be overwhelming for parents in advance of long-haul. If you can, try to keep your child’s sleeping pattern as normal as possible – the sneaky nap in the airport may seem like a good idea at that moment but if it knocks the rest of their routine out of whack, you might regret it.
– Don’t travel without your little one’s ‘special’ things, perhaps it’s a dummy or a blanket, whatever they need to relax and sleep, make sure you bring it on board. Always try to have a spare in your nappy bag.
– For babies and toddlers, make sure you have plenty of nappies and wipes and at least two changes of clothes in your travel bag. You’ll also need to consider what you need for sufficient sterile bottle feeds to last the journey (and include generous allowances for airport time either side too) and bring your own baby food, especially if your baby has any special dietary needs.
– Sore ears due to changes of pressure are the most common cause of discomfort in little ones. The motion of sucking on a dummy or, for bigger ones, a lollypop (just this once) on takeoff/landing can help to clear their ears.
– Unfortunately, you’re likely to become your children’s in-flight entertainment manager to alleviate any tantrums or tears from tiredness or boredom. This is where a loaded bag of tricks is essential. Bring puzzle books, kids’ comics, sticker books, pencils and paper with you.
– There are lots of travel-size versions of classics like Battleships, Guess Who and Connect Four which can be a lifesaver and card games like Uno and Happy Families are small, light and easy to pack.
– Pack charged-up games tablets and sound excluding headphones for older children. Make sure you’ve downloaded enough programs and games (that do not require wifi) to keep them occupied for hours.
– And finally, the all-important snacks. Pack up a snack box for each child, especially if they’re picky eaters and unlikely to appreciate any in-flight catering. Don’t forget the effects of sugar on your child (be sensible here) and remember their water bottle too. Bear in mind too that you may not get fed immediately you’re on board so this snack box can also fend off the hunger after a long wait in the airport.
Lots of tips to bear in mind if you’re planning a long haul flight alone or with the family. We hope they come in handy!
Abbey Insurance Brokers
Whether you are staying local or jetting away to the other side of the world, our team of Abbey experts are available to answer any questions you may have about travel insurance. Contact us on 08000 66 55 44 or request a callback.