How to survive long flights? The journey is the goal – this is what many travelers know and believe. When you think of that saying, you’ll probably immediately think of a window seat on a train or bus driving through picturesque regions. Few people will think of a tight seat in a huge metal tube soaring through the heavens.
Tight and in very close contact with unknown people who, with a few honorable exceptions, are getting harder to tolerate as the flight goes on. I guess that’s why most passengers get up from their seat as soon as the wheels of the plane hit the runway, to the horror of the cabin crew. All because they want to get out as soon as possible.
Here’s a few tricks to surviving long flights.
- Choose your seat carefully. Some like window seats because the wall of the plane is the only intimate place you don’t need to share with others. Some like isle seats because they like being able to stretch their legs. The seats in the rows by the wings are least prone to feeling turbulence because they are closest to the center of the plane.
The first rows in the cabin are usually reserved for parents with small children, so if you wish to be as far away as you can from their crying, choose rows in the other part of the plane. Book your seat online or be at the airport when the check-in opens. The later you come, the worse the seat you can get.
Seats by the exit can be good because of leg room, but bear in mind that the space around them is where people wait in line to use the toilette, or stand around and chat, and that the kitchen is also usually nearby, where food is prepared and cabin crew hangs out.
- Watch what you eat
Airplane food is not something that will stick in your memory. Even in business class it is not very tasty, so many eat at the airport before boarding. In the meal before a red-eye, try to avoid deserts that give you additional energy you have nowhere to spend. Avoid food that disagrees with you or makes you bloated because this can be embarrassing both for you and the people around you. More sensitive passengers often carry nuts and energy bars. It’s better to snack on those every once in a while than eat a heavy and fatty dinner.
If you want to be served first, make sure you order something special before the flight, for instance vegetarian, gluten-free or something like that. Airlines offer various food adapted to different tastes or religions.
3) Drink smartly
Globetrotters will recommend avoiding alcohol and staying hydrated with water to alleviate jet lag. Alcohol can make you drowsy instantaneously, but the sugar entering your bloodstream can keep you awake. It’s also good to avoid fizzy drinks as the gases from them need to find their way out very soon. Tomato juice tastes better on a plane. The air on the plane is very dry so you need lots of fluids. Time your intake keeping in mind when you want to sleep. Many passengers carry empty plastic bottles that they fill up with water after the security check.
4) Record music
Something relaxing, chill out, soft jazz or similar instrumentals. This is the best remedy against the noise of the plane, snoring neighbors or crying children.
Sometimes you need to spend up to 16 hours in your seat, depending on the flight, so the clothes should be comfortable and soft. Always pick what is comfortable, even if it is not the latest fashion. If you need to, you can easily change at the airport. It’s good to take a scarf that can be used in all sorts of ways, including as a blanket if needs be.
6) And a few more details
Bring a face and hand moisturizer because the air on the plane is very dry.
Whenever you can, stretch, take a walk up and down the isle and do a couple of exercises. Take mints, they are the best thing for freshening up.
It’s good to take disposable hotel slippers so you can go to the toilette without having to wear shoes all the time. Long-term sitting makes your legs swell.
Take chargers for your favorite gadgets. Long-haul airplanes have USB ports.
Keep the phones on flight mode to prevent using up your battery looking for a network.
Some sleeping pills are good, but make sure you consult a physician first in order to have those that do the trick without unwanted side effects.
If you follow these suggestions, surviving long flights will get much easier.