I feel that this is something that every Australian has perfected because, let’s be honest, we’re all the way down South and the only way in and out of the country is by plane or boat. Basically, Australia is geographically isolated and the fastest way to travel the other side of the world still takes about 24 hours. So naturally one does develop a few coping mechanisms to get through such a long transit.
Here are few of my tried and tested tips on making that long journey:
1. Choose the right airline to fly with
If you’re anything like me, I can stand being a bit uncomfortable on a plane even if the service isn’t amazing if its only for an hour – after all I wanted the cheapest fair! But flying long haul I’m a bit more selective with who I fly with, purely because I want to be (relatively) comfortable. It also helps to look up an airline on a website like SeatGuru where you can view the aircraft seat maps. If you’re taller you may want to pay a bit extra to sit in the exit row or maybe you just want to see how many seats are squeezed into their economy class.
I’m tall, about 173cm (5’8″), and I’ve never been too uncomfortable seated in economy. My boyfriend on the other hand is 190cm (6’2″) and needs a bit of extra leg room to be comfortable. My personal choice for long haul airlines from my experience is Qantas and Emarites. Qantas has an impeccable safety record in its 90 years of operation and the high level of service I encountered with Emarites has definitely made a positive impression on me.
Choosing the right airline can solve half of your long haul woes before you even get on the plane!
2. Stay hydrated
Drink that water! The air conditioning and cabin pressure can make your skin feel pretty dry. By not drinking enough water on the plane you’ll walk off looking and feeling tired. After I pass through security at the airport I buy a big bottle of water and drink that as well as the water they offer you during meals and refreshments. I also pack a bit of moisturizer that I rub into my face and hands to help me feel hydrated and fresh. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine if you can because they only dehydrate you quicker.
3. Keep yourself entertained
There is nothing worse than sitting in silence, in complete and utter boredom on a flight. It only makes the hours drag. I make sure I pack enough in my carry on to keep me entertained. I usually take:
- a book/e-reader
- magazines I purchased in the airport
- Sudoku puzzles (can’t get enough of them)
- decent pair of headphones and some music
- note book and pen
Sometimes I don’t even use everything I packed but I like to have a choice. Also if I’m lucky to be on a flight with in-flight entertainment I’ll watch a couple of movies.
4. Be respectful of others
You are not the only one that would be uncomfortable. In fact I would say the majority of passengers start to get irritable and uncomfortable about half way in but you’re all traveling to the same place and its going to take the same time as everyone else. The same goes when boarding the plane. You’ve checked in, you’re at the gate, you’re waiting in line to board, the plane won’t go without you. Besides you’re about to be sitting down for a whole day do you really want to be the first one on sitting for the longest?
5. Watch out for smells
My next point goes without saying but you’ll be surprised by how many people ignore it. Be mindful of odors. I don’t want to smell someones smelly feet or B.O as much as I don’t want to smell that toxic overdose of perfume. There are ways you can feel somewhat refreshed without showering. Packing face wipes in your carry on and the Colgate wisp on the go toothbrushes help and while it is not as good as a hot shower and a change of clean clothes, it will help you be more comfortable.
6. Wear something comfortable
The cabin pressure can do funny things to your body like making you feel bloated. So keep those skin-tight jeans of yours in your bag. Your feet tend to swell too so don’t do what I did, wear tight boots, took them off during the flight, then had to really squeeze my feet back in again.
Those in-flight exercise cards aren’t there for no reason, you need to move! Stretch your arms, roll your ankles around, walk up and down the aisle, go to the bathroom. You’re sitting in the one cramped position for a very long time you need to get the blood pumping through your body. You will only feel sore and lethargic when you step off the plane if you don’t move around.
Overall, I love flying. I think I have a good system and can be quite comfortable if I have enough to keep me occupied. Let me know your long haul survival tips in the comments below!