Five flight survival tips

Five tips to make the most of long haul flights and arrive feeling rejuvenated and ready to go.

Five flight survival tips

For many people, flying can be daunting. Whether or not you have a fear of flying, the prospect of being cooped up on a plane for hours on end isn’t exactly exciting.

So how can you make long haul flights as hassle free as possible? Here are five tips to ensure you arrive at the other end feeling rejuvenated and ready to go.

1. Seat location is everything
This goes for all flights but especially international ones. Your seat can make a massive difference. Most airlines will allow you to manage your booking online and choose your seat as far as a week before your departure.

Think about whether you would prefer an aisle seat or a window – we’d avoid a middle seat at all costs. If you like to sleep for most of the flight, a window seat will keep you from being disturbed. However, if you like to move around or have easy access to the toilet, an aisle seat will be better with the added bonus of some extra space.

In addition, look at the seat map and think about where you want to sit in relation to the toilets, exit row seats and baby basinets. Remember, turbulence is also often more noticeable at the back of the plane.

2. Plan your attack
Before you fly think carefully about how you want to approach the flight. Do you want to sleep most of the way? Do you prefer to watch movies? Do you get very hungry if you miss the meals?

Clearly, the more sleep you have the more, the more rested you'll feel when you arrive. However, it’s worth taking into consideration the time zone of where you are going – you don’t want to be wide awake when it’s everyone else’s bed time.

Make sure you have everything you need to enjoy your flight as much as possible. If you want to sleep, think about sleeping tablets, a neck pillow, eye mask and ear plugs. If you want to make the most of the entertainment system, take a good pair of headphones or a great book to keep you occupied.

3. Avoid C.R.A.P
Please note the full stops in the above – we promise we’re not swearing. C.R.A.P stands for caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol and processed foods. Obviously you are at the mercy of what the airline offers foodwise, however, there are still some steps you can take to feel as fresh as possible upon arrival.

Flying is very dehydrating and caffeine and alcohol only exacerbate this. If you want to enjoy a drink, make it earlier in the flight (it will help take the edge off), as downing cups of coffee or alcoholic drinks will leave you feeling tired and wired when you land.

Similar advice applies to consuming sugar and processed foods. Take a look at the meal options well in advance and select what you think will best suit your body. When in doubt, stick with some version of protein and vegetables to fuel your body for the flight.

4. Stay hydrated
One of the best things you can do for your body on inflight is to keep up your fluids. Forget all the various options, water is your savior for remaining hydrated. Studies show that a high level of water consumption may even combat jetlag. Force yourself to drink water every hour or two.

Don’t forget about the rest of your body either. Make sure you pack a good moituriser, hand cream and lip balm in your carry-on bag and use them regularly. Your skin and lips will thank you for it.

5. Move it or lose it
While it’s tempting – particularly if you like to curl up and just sleep – to stay in your seat, this won't benefit your body. Wear flight socks to reduce the risk of swelling and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and get up every hour or so to walk around the cabin.

Finding some space near the toilets to swing your legs, do some ankle circles and neck stretches will keep your blood flowing and limit the likelihood of you landing with pain from being crammed in a confined seat for hours on end.

What’s your tried and tested tip for making the most of a long haul flight? 


    To make a comment, please register or login
    7th Mar 2015
    Don't take sleeping pills. Can cause DVT cause you stay vey still for too long
    7th Mar 2015
    Wearing compression garments such as Skins or 2XU, (especially compression tights male or female applicable) will reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. Wear the compression garments at least two hours before your flight and keep them on for at least two hours after arriving. Compression tights will also limit muscle soreness if you will be walking a lot during your holiday, reducing the number of forced rest days caused by tiredness. You will obtain more value from your holiday by doing so. MrPhysio+ Healesville
    fish head
    7th Mar 2015
    Just back from UK flying Emirates. My only complaint was the seat reallocation which occurred in Dubai which left me in a section of the plane that I didn't want and in a bank of 3 across with a long slog to toilets. This in spite of booking my preferred seat and confirming it before boarding.I gathered we had a mixed Emirates/ Qantas load to fill the plane and we were issued with fresh boarding passes when we passed Security Part 2. There is a system - until someone meddles with it.
    9th Mar 2015
    I've been lucky enough to fly overseas on many occasions, mostly for business, by now for pleasure - from 8 hour 'jaunts' to 26 hour 'slogs'. Sleep eludes me .....but on my last trip, using noise-cancelling headphone 'cans' I had the best flight of my life. Slept for the first time ever inflight and bounded off the plane like a gazelle! Even the customs guy asked me which flight I'd been on - as I obviously didn't belong in this 'weary travellers' line!. So, will NEVER fly without them, now. Even if you don't sleep with them I believe they allow your central nervous system a break from the loud, continual spine-jangling drone of the engines....and passenger noise, too. (FYI.....Large headphones that cover the ear, rather than the smaller ones, apparently work better, according to experienced business traveller who recommended them to me as we flew into Denver, Colorado)
    25th Mar 2015
    Remember to use saline nasal spray regularly. Keeping the nasal membranes moist will help you avoid the cold virus that often follows flying.
    18th Jul 2016
    Don't take sleeping tablets, in the event of an emergency evacuation you would become a liability to yourself and other passengers. It could make the difference to survival.
    22nd Jul 2016
    Wrap your passport in aluminium foil so it can't be scammed.
    Don't turn up to the check in area too early because they will just send you away and you will have to stand in the queue all over again.
    Avoid jet lag by not eating on the plane and plan your world trip going west not east.
    Get as much daylight in the country of destination as possible.
    Do sleep before your flight.
    Do drink lots of water.
    Do moisturize your face, irrigate your eyes and nasal passages with saline or some other substitute.
    Find a way to rest will your head tilted in the forward position.
    Hope you are sitting next to somebody nice.
    24th Mar 2019
    I can survive most of the traveling problems except for one, when the front seat backrest incline all the way down... that’s the one they should do something about, not much on business class, I’m referring to economy class

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