Staying comfortable on a long haul flight.

17/01/2012

So….the only thing holding you back from the trip of a lifetime is the flight. Fifteen (or more) hours can feel far longer than that it actually is, and you can be sure that the longer the flight, the fatter and smellier the person sat next you, the less recognisable the food and the worse the movies will be….. and that’s before you even think about jet lag. 


It is really not all bad though, well those bits kind of are, but there are lots of little things you can do to help the time at least pass more comfortably. The first thing is try not to get yourself over tired and strung out in the days leading up to your flight. If you are tired and stressed when you board your flight, the less likely it is that you will be able to relax and the worse you will feel when you arrive at your destination.

Wear supportive socks or tights, sorry but your feet will swell and you don’t want to start your holiday with swollen, painful feet. If you are lucky enough to have an empty seat beside you, put your feet up and stretch out, this will make such a difference to your overall comfort. If your flight is relatively empty don’t be afraid to ask if you can move to an empty row – particularly if you want some sleep, lift the arm rests and you’ve practically got a bed!  

Don’t sit still, if the seatbelt sign isn’t on then go for a walk. There are great viewing areas at the back of most planes and the aisles are actually pretty long when you walk them. There are other people milling about, you might even meet someone interesting! 

On very long haul flights for example to Australia and New Zealand you will be travelling for up to 35 hours, sometimes more, and up to eight hours of that is likely to be spent in transit lounges - take advantage of this time. Many large international airports have shower facilities to help you feel fresh; just remember your travel towel as you will have to pay to hire a towel otherwise. Also walk, take in the sights, visit duty free, just find an excuse to keep moving while you have the space. 

Take a travel pillow, they are tiny and won’t take up much space, but will change your travel experience. Getting comfortable on an aeroplane can be a total nightmare and 10 hours in, you will not be sorry for a little extra support. A travel pillow may also keep you sane while in transit. 

Put moisturisers and face creams into small bottles that you are allowed to take in your hand luggage. Your skin will get dry and feel horrible so a few home comforts will not go amiss.  Ear plugs are another little saviour, as you are unlikely to get any peace and quiet without them.  If you suffer from travel sickness, you may find relief in travel sickness waistbands , they are small and discreet and use acupressure on a specific point on your wrist to prevent nausea. 

The air conditioning will dehydrate you, so make you drink loads of water throughout your flight. Keep yourself hydrated, and by drinking lots of water you are forcing yourself to get up and move with constant trips to the loo. 

The number of people combined with the reconstituted air is a breeding ground for bugs and germs take your hand sanitizer and remember to use it.

Try and keep your sleep patterns as natural as possible to match your destination, that way your body clock will adjust more quickly to your new time zone. 

The thought of a long flight is far worse than the reality, and by making a few simple preparations you will get through it and arrive at your destination feeling ready to take on your new adventure.