How to survive a long haul flight and keep your sanity

  • 15 Jan, 2020
  • Will Davies
  • No Comments

How to survive long haul flights

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, long haul flights are … well, not much fun, especially if they are frequent in your schedule. After all, spending any more than 6 hours in a (usually) cramped seat, surrounded by people you don’t know can feel like an extremely long time, but spare a thought for those who fly routes such as Dallas to Sydney, that’s almost a 17 hour flight NON STOP. If you’re planning on boarding a long haul flight anytime soon, then you’re going to need to know how to survive. We’ve put together some our best tips for you – Bon Voyage!

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!

Staying hydrated on a long haul flight is the key to all. According to a number of health experts, flying is a very dehydrating business and you should drink ‘more than usual’. It’s also recommended that you drink continuously, rather than downing a whole bottle when you feel really thirsty, as this will put more of a strain on your bladder and cause you to need to the toilet more frequently, fine if you’re on an aisle seat, always awkward when you’re in the window seat.

Staying hydrated will also allow you to get to sleep easier and assist with digestion, so buy a large bottle of water before you board.

Try to avoid coffee – not only will it give you an unwanted buzz, it will also dehydrate you rather than hydrate. Green tea however will hydrate and it’s said to help with jet lag – a win win!

Snacks on a plane

Who doesn’t love snacking? You’ll be pleased to hear that packing your own snacks is a better option than eating meals provided by the airline or buying ridiculously overpriced snacks on the plane! But you need to be careful, our bodies find it harder to digest whilst flying, so you don’t stuff yourself on chocolate and crisps, because you might regret it pretty quickly! Instead, eat smaller amounts of food more regularly and consider eating a meal before you board the plane. Making sandwiches before your flight is a great idea! Or, if like Franki you love a cheeky Nandos and your airport has one (Yes, Gatwick South does!) grab a wrap and take that on board instead! Just be prepared for the jealous stares from other passengers…

Nandos on a long haul flight

Photo Credit: Franki Napolitano

Upgrade seats

Depending on your budget, upgrading your seat is a great option and if you’re a frequent flier you can always use your air miles to upgrade. A lot of us don’t have the privilege of flying first class, but fear not, most airlines will allow you to pay a little extra for a seat that has much more leg room, is much comfier and some will recline.

Cue up your entertainment

Most airlines operating long haul flights will have inflight entertainment systems, but there isn’t always a great selection and if you don’t have individual screens, then you’re kinda stuck watching whatever’s on offer! Be prepared and come armed with a fully charged device (and an extra power source) loaded with pre-downloaded movies and maybe even a series you’ve been dying to start from your favourite streaming service.

Watching a film from a laptop
Photo credit: Mroach

Download lots of free apps and games

Storage permitting, why not download loads of free games and apps in advance to ease the boredom? Or bank on the fact your inflight entertainment system has them (on flights with individual screens only). Failing that, you could always hunt for a free Ebook or buy a book at the airport terminal.

Have a good old nap!

Time seems to fly whilst you sleep, I’ve taken naps that have felt like days before! The problem is not everyone can fall asleep easily on a plane. Many people make the mistake of boarding a plane dog tired, assuming they will fall asleep straight away and for the majority of the flight; sometimes this does work but more often than not something will keep you awake and the following hours will be living hell.

Bringing the right gear can help you out. Noise cancelling earplugs can completely block any background noise you’re likely to hear, eye masks block out any light and flight attendants are less likely to wake you if you are fashioning an eye mask. A neck pillow will keep your neck propped up nicely. It’s also recommended that you wear loose clothing and comfy shoes (but please don’t remove your shoes, especially if it’s warm…).

Many people worry that their possessions might be taken during their sleep, if this is something that bothers you then you have two options:

– Buy a small padlock that requires a code

– Hide your most valued possessions deep within your bag; that way anyone trying to steal would most probably wake you.

Getting a window seat is also a good idea if you plan on sleeping, you can use the wall as a rest and avoid drooling on the innocent person next to you.

Cat having a nap
Photo credit: GoodMami


How could I possibly exercise on a plane? Well actually it’s pretty simple and you won’t break a sweat. Airlines even recommend you engage in ‘in-seat’ exercises – 4 every hour in fact. These include:

– Rotating your feet in circles.

– Pointing your toes up in the air with your heels still touching the floor.

– Rolling your shoulders backwards and forwards.

Doing in-seat exercises will keep your blood flowing and will help in avoiding a DVT whilst flying (Deep Vein Thrombosis).

We hope we have given you some helpful hints when preparing for a long haul trip – how you deal with the Jet Lag is up to you though…!

About Will Davies

Interested in anything tech/marketing related, a football fanatic and I also love to get away from the British weather!

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