Covid-19 has taken a massive toll on the travel industry. It has undoubtedly put a damper on everyone’s travel plans in 2020. However, with encouraging news about development of Covid-19 vaccines and start of human trials of the same, international travel may soon resume 🙂 We’ve seen many people lose out on their summer vacation plans because of this, but not for long!
A long-haul flight can be pretty tiresome sometimes. If you don’t know what ‘long-haul flights’ are, they’re basically any flight longer than 7 hours. Usually this category involves international flights, however, some domestic flights in large countries can come under this umbrella. Why are long-haul flights so bad, you ask? Well – the constant sitting, lack of WiFi and limited area for movement could contribute to this attitude.
But don’t worry about all these pain points – we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll go through 9 super-important tips for your first long-haul flight! Some of these may come off as a no-brainer, but those are the ones we tend to overlook and forget first. With this list, you’ll end up a long-haul flight expert. So, let’s jump right in to some tips for your next long haul flight in post-covid times.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Well, this comes as no surprise – comfort over style is good for all kinds of flights. However, it’s especially important for long-hauls. Always remember to dress in loose clothing, made out of a breathable material like cotton. You need to be able to move around, be free and as unrestricted as possible. Often, people might opt for one-pieces (like dresses), but we advise against that decision. Flight air conditioners are quite unpredictable, and are (more often than not) on the too-cold side of the spectrum. Dresses mean that your legs are exposed to all that cool air, allowing them to get stiff and maybe even cause an injury if exposed for long enough. Jumpsuits may be an option, but a good sleeved tee and jeans/track pants should do the trick.
And always carry layers! The best way to protect against the chill is to layer up. Jackets are imperative, especially if you plan on getting cozy and catching some z’s. If you feel too hot, you can always just unwrap yourself by a layer, and you’re good to go.
Good Seats Are SO Important
Trust us, you really don’t want to get caught with a non-reclining end-of-flight seat for 10-11 hours in a row. Reserving a seat beforehand (especially on a long flight) is worth the trouble, and even more so if your flight is at night. You can even come early to the airport and reserve a seat then, if you are not able to do so online. Leg room is one of those commodities that one can never have too much of, so this is something to consider when choosing seats. The seats near the emergency exits have the most leg room, however, in case the unlikely case that the aircraft has to land on water , be ready to snap out of that slumber and activate the emergency exits!
Some people prefer aisle seats, and some prefer windows. But no-one – and I repeat, NO-ONE likes that crammed middle seat with no elbow space and no privacy. This is probably something to keep in mind as well. If you’re the kind of person who loves to enjoy the view on an airplane, window seats are for you. Alternatively, you might value your bathroom breaks more than this – aisle seats are best in this case, as you don’t have to keep excusing yourself every time you get up. The middle seat is okay if you’re travelling in a group or with family.
Stretching and moving around is also a good idea on long-hauls, as your body tends to stiffen up. Back muscles can take a toll with all that sitting, so make sure whichever seat you’re in, you can get out of easily! We recommend some good ‘chair yoga’ – you might find that your seated arrangement doesn’t deter the will for some good asanas!
Food = Life, Especially On A Long-Haul!
Everyone loves food. And most people eat a snack at least once in the span of 4 hours. Imagine doubling that time, but only getting a packet of salted nuts as compensation? ‘Hangry’ is probably the best way to describe it. Carry your own food – but remember to not stock too many liquids or liquid-like foods (eg. curries). This might not even be allowed on the flight, and you’ll have to dispose of it before you begin eating itself.
It’s also important to think about what kind of food you’ll be eating. If you are spending the next 10 hours sitting (as compared to working out, playing or even walking around), you’ll have to change your diet a bit. To suit this new seated marathon, make sure to go light on your meals. Heavy meals include higher-energy foods, which you won’t burn on the flight. It will keep you awake, and may not allow you to rest well enough before landing. Sometimes, we may not have a choice, as meals are pre-planned and we have to eat what’s available to us. In this case, remember to bring your own food, and maybe some fennel seeds as well. They’re known to aid in digestion, and also act as a mouth freshener – killing two birds with one stone!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Hydration goes without saying. Drinking water is something you’d need to do even on ground, but it’s even more important when you’re 30,000 feet above sea level. Mouths are more likely to get parched, and you can’t even carry more than 500ml to quench that thirst! However, here’s a tip – carrying your water bottle is still a good idea, even if half-filled. Ask the air staff for a refill, instead of using the paper cup method which they give you. You’ll get more water in that way, and you don’t have to keep bugging them for water either!
International long-haul flight services include drinks. These may include alcohol, or be restricted to teas and juices. Either way, it’s a better idea to stick to good old water for the most part. This is because it has the highest water content out of all (belaboring the obvious), and has the least sugar content out of all options. This means you’re less likely to get a sugar rush, or even a general sugar high and its inevitable low that comes right after. Although, if you are a nervous flyer, the alcohol option might be a good temporary choice, as it acts as a sedative. However, it does dehydrate, so beware. If you want some variety, teas like green tea are good for hydration instead.
BYOE – Bring Your Own Entertainment
Some long-haul flights have in-flight entertainment. This includes a back-of-the-seat screen – with movies, songs, and sometimes even games. But it might not be the best idea. Why? Because if you’ve gone on some before, they tend to have similar movies in stock. The music is not terribly updated, but if you are ok with having any old song play to pass the time, then you’re in luck.
Many streaming services like YouTube and Netflix offer download options – and our advice is to make the most out of them. They offer a more personalised approach, as what you’re downloading is what you truly want to watch. Offline music is great too, and you don’t even need a streaming service for this – just a few gigabytes of phone storage. It’s more likely to keep your attention, and even help you learn some cool new stuff, who knows?
And entertainment doesn’t only have to be digital. If your carry-on space permits, a good read is all you need. Reading lights are installed on all airplanes, so your flight was literally made for this! We don’t recommend card games or games with many moving pieces, though, as these might get lost on the plane… Only to be found by the cleaning lady, a lone, isolated Monopoly chip in the oasis of fluorescent floor strips.
Can You Have A Mini-Bath Here?
The quick answer to this is, yes. You can. And honestly, you should. Carrying good travel hygiene products are very necessary, especially on a 7+ hour journey across the globe. Wet wipes, deodorant, cotton pads, sanitizer and even a toothbrush and paste are some essentials on our list.
Why, you ask? Well, sitting for so long has its risks. You may be sweating, you may be sitting next to some folks with strong body odour, or you may just not want to inconvenience anyone with your bodily situation. Often, airplane food doesn’t suit us, and neither does being in the same place for hours on end. Freshening up makes you feel not only physically better, but mentally relieves us of some stress even if for a minute. And a flight shouldn’t have to get in the way of your skincare routine, now does it?
Speaking of which, it’s advisable to go as bare-faced as you can. Makeup is not a good idea for long flights, as it tends to cake up and smudge. For both men and women, moisturizing is a must, as the AC tends to dry out skin – even under a warm jacket.
Toilet tactics may also be a good area of expertise to know about. The best time to use the loo is right after the seatbelt sign is switched off after takeoff, or in the middle of the flight. The end is absolutely the worst, as you risk catching the toilet in a mess, or not catching it at all (due to seatbelt signs). Make sure you carry ample amounts of toilet spray and/or sanitizer with you just in case.
And just like that, we’ve come to the end of our article on tips and tricks for a long-haul flight. We hope you enjoyed reading all the spunky tips we had to offer. If you’d like to book your visa, travel insurance or SIM cards before flying out, remember to contact Visa2Fly! We’re always here to help 🙂