Surviving Long-Haul Flight Trips

In the last two decades, there has been a movement toward more streamlined, cost-effective long-distance operations. There are thousands of long-distance flights every day. Although, depending on the entire length of the trip, a single airline will often only operate the same long-haul route once or twice a day.

A significant share of all flights on international routes like Emirates and Qatar Airways are long-haul. Long-haul is a distance of more than 2,200 to 2,600 nautical miles (4,100 to 4,800 km), although there has yet to be an international consensus on this. Any flight length in between is considered medium-haul.

Long-haul flights are becoming more widely available. And that's especially significant for the travel enthusiast with global exploration aspirations. The nonstop flight from New York City to Singapore takes 18 hours and 40 minutes and is one of the world's longest scheduled passenger flights.

The passage of 18 hours while sitting still may be tedious for anyone, no matter how much of a couch potato they may be. However, seasoned travelers recognize that though the real fun comes once you land, the thrill and travel experience begins on the aircraft ride.

Here's how to pass the time relatively comfortably.

Find a Comfortable Personal Space

Making sure you're cozy is priority number one. The most annoying aspect of flying for extended periods is being confined to a cramped cabin for hours on end. They are an actual test of one's physical endurance. Therefore it's crucial to take every precaution to ensure one's comfort, from the seats one chooses to the clothing one wears.

Casandra Karpiak, the proprietor of Savoteur and a syndicated travel writer, suggests that you reserve your seats in advance and spring for the extra legroom if you can afford it.

“For me, the most important thing on a long-haul flight is comfort, so I dress accordingly,” she says. “I wear stylish but comfy joggers with an Arcade belt that won't dig into my abdomen and my Dēp Slēpwear Hoodie with a built-in eye mask that is an absolute game changer for long haul travel.

“It helps block out noise and light and regulates my temperature, a common problem on planes. I keep myself hydrated with Flightfūd, which also helps minimize the effects of jet lag.”

What is more, consider investing in a pair of compression socks for your flight. As soon as you step off the plane, your legs will thank you for wearing compression socks to promote blood flow.

Find a Routine That Works for You

Flying for long hours makes it difficult to focus on a single task the whole time. There's no way to sleep or binge-watch movies for that extended time. You can better combat boredom with the “a little bit of this and that” technique.

Karpiak has a routine that she follows on all her long-haul flights. She states that she usually starts with a movie or two, depending on how long the flight is. She adds, “I eat a full meal and then do a task that I don't enjoy doing at home, like organizing and deleting photos from my phone. It takes a surprising amount of time, and because it is a boring task, it usually makes me sleepy after eating.

“Then I'll put my earplugs in, adjust my neck pillow, pull my sleep hoodie with an eye mask into place, and drift away.” You can better prioritize sleep when appropriate by setting your watch to the landing time zone.

According to Alex Gillard, wildlife photographer and founder of a nature and wildlife travel company, it would be helpful to take along a lumbar pillow. If you cannot sleep in an upright position, no matter how luxurious the neck pillow is, get yourself a lumbar pillow.

“I find that the worst part of sitting for that long is the strain on my lower back and a memory foam lumbar pillow works wonders,” Gillard says. Getting up and taking a walk around as often as possible, say 5 minutes at a time, should also be part of your routine to avoid stiffness and soreness.

Bring Gum Along

Another great tip, according to Courtney Newton, the founder of Disorderly Drifters, an adventure travel blog, is always to bring along gum in case the person next to you has bad breath. You can offer them a piece. Gum also helps kids or other people not used to flying that have problems with their ears adjusting to the changes in pressure.

Avoid Seats Near the Toilet

Inevitably, passengers on a long-haul flight will need to get up and use the restroom. To enjoy your flight in peace and quiet, you should avoid sitting near the toilets. This will be a major distraction if you're trying to get some rest on the flight.

However, if you're the type of traveler who frequently uses the restroom and prefers to avoid wandering the plane in search of your seat, choose a section closer to the toilet.

“I actually prefer seats closer to the bathroom,” Newton says, “because I make sure to drink so much water. Long haul flights are typically on huge planes, and I lose my way back to my seat easily, especially after a nap.”

Little Alcohol

Newton notes that a common mistake travelers should try to avoid is getting drunk too early on the flight or at the airport before the flight. It makes for a miserable rest of your long flight. While a few drinks may help you unwind and get shut-eye, drinking too much alcohol can worsen jet lag symptoms. The high altitude of the airplane also amplifies the impact of the alcoholic beverage.

Bring Your Favorite Food or Snacks

Plane food has a reputation for being subpar, so if you want to avoid being hungry and grumpy the whole flight, it's best to bring your own snacks. If possible, eat something before boarding the plane.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


Amaka Chukwuma is a freelance content writer with a BA in linguistics. As a result of her insatiable curiosity, she writes in various B2C and B2B niches. Her favorite subject matter, however, is in the financial, health, and technological niches. She has contributed to publications like ButtonwoodTree and FinanceBuzz in the past. In addition to ghostwriting for brands like Welovenocode, Noah and Zoey, and Ohcleo, amongst others.  You can connect with her on Linkedin and Twitter.