I’ve asked folks why they steer clear of traveling to certain destinations, like Thailand or Australia, and most often, people cite the fear over the long flight as a chief reason (aside from the cost). Of course, 15 hour flights are not “fun”, but you can make it more bearable by keeping in mind certain tips – and I left out the easy ones (like packing a book, or your fave snack – but I highly recommend you doing both of those things as well!)
1)Whatever you do, don’t drink too much alcohol. I know, I know – this is not what you wanted to hear, but it’s true! You don’t have to avoid a glass of wine or a shot of rum – but you should stay clear of getting drunk, thinking you’d pass out and have a good sleep. Flying actually dehydrates you – as does alcohol – thus, you’ll end up having a pretty restless sleep, and wake up feeling both groggy, and extremely thirsty. It’s just not worth it – enjoy the free wine the airline usually provides, and wait to throw down until you land – the drinks will be better anyway 😉
2)Don’t dress too lightly – Maybe you’re flying to Tahiti, so you come dressed in shorts and a tank top. I literally see this all of the time – but do you know what else I see? Those same folks freezing once the airplane reaches its flying altitude and the air is freely moving about the cabin. I tend to dress in layers, because it’s always easy to remove the sweatshirt, and socks, should the cabin stay normal room temperature, but more often than not, you’ll be glad that you didn’t come onboard wearing only a tank top – hoodies are also great for tuning out noise and light. Oh, and please bring close-toed shoes…if there’s ever an emergency (though unlikely) you’ll be grateful that you’re not tripping over your flip flops.
3)Don’t pack your medicine in your checked luggage – I tend to be a bit more cavalier on this for short 2-4 hour flights. However, for any flight longer than 5 hours, I put all of my medicine in a small toiletry bag, and pack it in a book bag. We all could see firsthand how cramped the economy seats have gotten – hour 8 of heading to Sydney, Australia, is not the time for you to realize that you forgot to take your birth control or Valium. As much as I like to pack everything into my checked luggage (if I even decide to check luggage), I make sure this is not one of those items. I even take it a step further – I don’t pack prescription medicine into the bag I place over head – only in the bag I put under my seat. I know, trust issues, right? But, I’ve heard stories about folks dipping into someone else’s luggage on long haul flights or accidents happen and you don’t have access to your overhead luggage – especially if it is maybe 2 or so rows away from you. I like to minimize these risks and keep my medicine right by my side (or feet, so to speak).
4)Don’t forget to use the bathroom immediately before the flight – I can only share my experiences… before a flight, I flush my body out with water all day (literally). I don’t drink anything except H20, and I drink it all day long. Of course, this also means I use the bathroom all day too. Then I pop in to use the restroom again, right as they start checking in first/business class customers (no worries they’ll call my name there, LOL). By then, I’m fully hydrated, and I don’t have to use the restroom – so usually, I can wait about 5 (sometimes even 6) hours before having to use the restroom on a flight, even after drinking water with the meal service. If you have a window seat, your aisle companion will be very grateful! Personally, I tend to do this because I simply hate using those small, cell block sized airplane bathrooms – and I know you do too.
5)Don’t forget to leave the USB wires for your phone and iPad out so that its easily accessible. I’ve flown via Norwegian Air, Air Tahiti Nui, KLM Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa, Qantas, etc., and they all have individual USB ports. Most are connected to the televisions (or close to them), but a few are located under the arm rest (sneaky right?!) No need to resign to the fact that your phone will be dead upon landing. I usually put my on airplane mode, + Power saving mode (thank you Samsung), and leave it charged in during the flight. This has saved me a few times when I had to make emergency calls or look up something critical upon landing at my destination.