How to survive a long haul plane journey
My longest long haul journey was 33 and a half hours from Hobart in Tasmania to London Gatwick.
We stopped off in Melbourne, Singapore and Dubai. We had 2 hours in Melbourne, an hour in Singapore and 5 hours in Dubai so for 25 hours, I was on a plane.
I didn’t have any experience with long haul travel and I’ll be completely honest, we weren’t prepared.
So here are a few tips that I’ve learnt to make it all that bit easier.
Wear comfy clothes
You don’t need to look your best, I normally stick to a black pair of jogging bottoms or thick black leggings, a vest with a long t-shirt over the top and a pair of trainers. Try not to wear anything constricting as you will regret it. I’ve seen it a few times where people have looked uncomfortable during a flight, I’ve even seen a few people unbuttoning jeans to make themselves more comfortable.
Use your hand luggage to its full potential
I always make sure that I have a few changes of clothes in my hand luggage just in case I don’t feel comfortable or just want to feel a bit fresher. Its normally a vest, t-shirt, jogging bottoms, underwear and socks. Nothing too bulky that will take up lots of room.
They are my go-to for nearly everything. Spill something on me, wet wipe will get it out. Messy food, clean up with a wet wipe. Touch something thats sticky and you aren’t 100% on what it is, wet wipe will make it go away. Feeling really hot, wet wipe over my face and kneck. Feeling a bit sweating, wet wipe is there to freshen you up a bit, at least until you get to the hotel and get a shower anyway.
I always get 2 1 litre bottles of water in duty free so that between drinks round on the plane, I will have something to drink. I get headaches when I get dehydrate so I like to make sure I have plenty of water.
If you are a nervous flyer, speak to the cabin crew
This is good if you are going on your own. I have been on 2 flights on my own and it was back in the day when I was scared of flying. I was already a bit of a wreck when I got on the plane but when most people had sat in their seats, I called for one of the crew. I explained to the nice lady that I was on my own and scared of flying. She said that even if it was during take off or landing, I should call for her if I needed someone and they would come sit with me. During the flight, a few of the crew would check on me which I thought was really nice of them. So it’s worth just letting them know and they can make sure your flight a little bit easier.
Myself and my husband have used flight socks a few times and we just found that they were more annoying than anything. We wore them going to Australia and going to America but didn’t wear them on either of the flights back. We just made sure that we did our in-seat exercises, got up to walk around as often as possible and stayed hydrated. My husband’s main problem with them is that because he has quite big legs, the largest size socks seem to fall down and the next size down keep cutting into him so they are uncomfortable. We have never had any problems but it doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t either. My mum wears flight socks on flights but a few days after returning home from Australia, she ended up in hospital with a blood clot on her lung. She had to be on warfarin for a year and has been told by doctors that she can’t go on flights that are more than 4 hours. So I would suggest getting them to see how you feel, you can always take them off.
Try to sleep
I know it sounds like a hard thing for some people to do but it will help if you can get some sleep during the flight. Not only will it make the time go faster, it will make you less groggy when you get to your destination. I think that over the 27 hours to Hobart, I only got about 2 hours sleep, I was scared at flying at the time, especially during take off and landing so I was feeling quite shook up with taking off and landing 4 times. Plus, the excitement of the trip, I just couldn’t sleep. I was absolutely shattered when we got to Singapore and my mum has a not so flattering picture of me sat on the floor in the airport looking like I was ready to kill someone haha. I’m not a happy bunny without sleep. If you have an overnight flight, some airlines give you a little kit with an eye mask, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, ear plugs and sometimes a pen. That’s what I got in my kit coming back from America with Virgin Atlantic.
Keep yourself entertained
If you can’t sleep, the last thing you want is to get bored on a long haul flight, especially as you are so limited as to what you can do and where you can go. Most long haul flights have entertainment as a standard, when we flew with Emirates and Virgin Atlantic, we had loads and loads of films and TV programs to watch, music to listen to and games to play on the little screens in front of us. If you like to know where you are in the flight, there is usually a map on the screens as well so you can see where the plane is, how fast you are going, local time, etc. This is good when you going flying over countries and can’t work out what you are seeing out the window. I like to download books and magazines onto my phone and tablet as well because sometimes it’s nice to not keep looking at screen and just have a good read. My husband gets bored very easily so I always buy some puzzle books to keep him entertained.
Unless you opt out of in-flight meals, you will get regular meals and snacks. A little tip, go online before your flight a pick one of the healthier options like low salt, low fat, gluten free, etc and you will get your meal serviced to you before everyone else. Try picking up some little bags of snacks like nuts, sweets, dried fruit, etc in duty free in case you get hungry between meals.
I found a great page on the Virgin Atlantic website with the exercises that I do, they will explain them a lot better than me, believe me haha. Click here for the link.
Since the Covid pandemic, going on a flight means having to wear a face mask for a long period of time unless you are exempt from wearing one. If wearing one for a long time sounds impossible, my best tip is to remember that you can take it off to eat and drink. Take some little snacks with you so that when you feel you are starting to have enough of your mask, you can take it off to have a snack or sip your drink. It made a big difference to me that I could have a few minutes with the mask off to take a few deep breaths while eating or drinking something.