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If You Read One Article About Long Flights, Read This One

Have you ever woken up on a plane with your headphone wire embedded in your face? Were both your legs asleep? Did you check the in-flight map and realise there’s still six hours of flying left? Did you nearly cry a little? If you can say yes to some or all of these, then you need to read this guide to surviving long flights with your sanity intact.

As someone who works in the travel industry, I’ve had plenty of experience with headphone face implants and dead legs. Fortunately I have now perfected my routine for long-haul flying, and with these six essential tips, you can too!

1. Comfortable Clothing & Layers

I like to travel comfy, so jeans or anything else that is tight-fitting and makes me feel like I am being squeezed are a NO-NO. Leggings or loose fitting joggers and a vest top with an oversized jumper are perfect.

If you get hot then you can easily remove your jumper and hey-presto, you have an extra pillow! But let’s be honest who has ever been on a hot flight? Layers give you more options to control your temperature – use them wisely.

2. Overnight Hotel

I always like to book an overnight stay in a hotel near the airport, or actually on the airport grounds. It gets me more excited as I get to start my trip that one day earlier, plus you can relax before that long flight in the morning without the hassle of travelling to the airport.

However, here is a little tip that not many people are aware of – nearly all long-haul flights allow you to check in the day before, which is a great way of avoiding queues on the day. Of course don’t forget that you will have to take your PJs back through check-in the next morning, so make sure you have enough room in your hand luggage.

Handy tip – take a normal sized toothpaste for your holiday and a travel sized one to use in the overnight hotel.

3. Food

First things first, what are you taking to eat? As soon as I step foot on a plane I get really hungry. I have no idea why but I could honestly eat throughout the full plane journey. I now like to pack a little picnic so I have snacks.

Having some alternative food options is an especially good idea for families with young children. Airplane food isn’t always the best and if the kids don’t like it they’re going to be very hungry and grouchy on that long flight!

I usually pack hard boiled sweets for take-off and landing, as I find this helps with cabin pressure and with easing the pain when your ears pop.

4. Upgrade

If you can, try and upgrade your seats to extra legroom or even premium, just for that added comfort. I always book extra legroom just so I can sprawl out and get comfy, for me this is a must.

However if you cannot afford to splurge, then at least pick your seats before you travel. This way there is no fighting at the check-in desk to avoid bring stuck with the seats that no one else wants.

5.  Sleeping Kits

These can be bought in a shop at the airport, but to save money buy before you travel. The kits usually consist of a U-shaped pillow and an eye mask, some also come with ear plugs if you’re lucky. If not, consider getting these too, as they help massively to block out engine noise and excited children.

If you plan to sleep on the plane and wake-up bright-as-a-button at your destination, don’t have too much caffeine in the airport before you fly. Remember too that your body temperature will drop slightly when you fall asleep, so pull a blanket over you even if you don’t think you need it, then hopefully you won’t wake up shivering.

6. Entertainment

Most flights these days have seat-back entertainment, making long flights that little bit easier to bear. Unfortunately not all aircraft’s do, and those that do might not necessarily be showing anything to your taste. The wisest choice all round is to take your own entertainment with you.

I recommend a portable DVD player with plenty of DVDs, an iPad or tablet with plenty of games, or just load-up your phone with as many apps as possible that will still entertain you in ‘aircraft mode’. Candy Crush seems to be the most played app out there and is extremely addictive, you can easily spend hours playing this game alone.

So whether you’re travelling to Florida Mauritius or any other long haul destinations available at, why not try-out these handy tips. Tell us in the comments below – what are your top tips for travelling long haul?