How to survive a long haul flight and keep your sanity

  • 10 Nov, 2021
  • Will Davies
  • No Comments

Long haul flight tips

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 Long haul flight 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!

reusable water bottle

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…

Long haul flight tips

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.
Here some of our tips that you can follow:

  • If you’re wanting to have more legroom, you want to pick the exit rows
    If crying children seems like your worst nightmare, then you’ll be wanting to stay away from the front of the plane as most airlines will reserve those seats for parents travelling with little ones.
  • If you just like to move around the plane or want to ensure the toilet is nearby, you want to pick the aisle seat!

For most airlines, you can check-in at least a day before departure so check-in as soon as possible to ensure you get the best seat! However, do bear in mind, you might still have limited choice as some may have reserved some seats. If you’re travelling with your family and you’re worried about not sitting together, why not check out our guidelines and tips on how to avoid being split up on the plane?

If you’re travelling by yourself, it might be worth doing the opposite of what we stated earlier. You could potentially wait until very late to check-in because most airlines won’t have been able to sell most of their pricier seats. This could be great for you because those seats might be the only ones available at the last minute and you could get those for free! But this is a gamble so it may or may not pay off so think about it before trying this.

Long haul flight tips

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.

Alternatively, why not read a book instead? Maybe you have been wanting to read a book that’s been on your list for ages but you’ve not had the time. Well, now that you’re on a plane and you have a long journey ahead, go ahead and immerse yourself in a good book and before you know it, you’ll have reached your destination!

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.

movie list

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.



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).


Pack smart

If you want to ensure you have the best time on the plane, you need to make sure you have the long haul flights essentials packed. So try to keep some of these items in your hand luggage and you’ll be thanking yourself once you’re on the plane.

  • Moisturiser is a must because the plane can dehydrate your skin so it’s a good idea to pack some lip balm and moisturiser with you.
  • Your own water bottle, this way you can easily fill it up rather than needing to use a dozen of the small cups that the planes provide!
  • Gum! It will only keep your breath smelling fresh, but it is also really helpful in alleviate ear pressure on take-off and landing
  • A portable charger is a must to carry because the last thing you need is for your phone to die! Although a lot of planes nowadays do offer power outlets, you can’t count on it so come prepared with your own!

These are just some of the things that you might find useful to have with you when travelling on a long haul flight! You always add some of your own favourites to this list! Speaking of packing, why not check our tried and tested packing hacks? They will certainly help you pack better!

Long haul flight tips

What to wear on a long haul flight?

This cannot be stressed enough, wear the comfiest clothes you have available because skinny jeans might look good but they are definitely not a good idea! Try to wear loose fitted clothes, you want to be able to move around in them easily.
Wearing comfy clothes will also protect you against deep vein thrombosis which is a serious condition that can be formed when you’re sitting stiffly for long periods.
Compression socks are also your best friends because they are known to reduce swelling and decrease blood clotting. So make sure you have a pair with you because you’ll certainly be needing them on a long flight!

comfy clothes

We hope these long haul flight tips can really help you prepare for your journey. Now the only thing to worry about is Jet Lag, but fear not, we have got a helpful guide and tips on that too! We hope you have a pleasant trip and let us know any of your long haul flight tips too.

About Will Davies

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