If you’re anything like me, enduring a flight longer than four hours is near impossible. As aircrafts become more advanced and uninterrupted long-haul flights become the norm, travelers are finding themselves increasingly more uncomfortable. That’s where we come in. Have a grueling 18 hour flight from Newark to Singapore coming up? Check out our tips and tricks for surviving (and ~thriving~) during any long-haul flight.
Stay Hydrated. Staying hydrated when flying is extremely important. Did you know that the humidity on planes is 20%? This humidity alone will make your mouth, skin, and eyes dry out. We suggest packing saline nose spray and eye drops in your carry-on bag to alleviate this irritation mid-flight. Drinking plenty of water is also key. We cannot stress this enough: drink water! Staying hydrated will help discomforts such fatigue, headaches, bad breath, and aching muscles and joints. As tempting as those in-flight cocktails might look, we suggest skipping the alcohol and doubling up on your water intake. Trust us, your body will thank you later.
Keep Germs At Bay. Being in a confined space for hours on end with no fresh air isn’t ideal for avoiding germs. It’s important to take precautionary measures to keep the inevitable germs at bay. We suggest bringing a disinfectant with you in your carry-on bag and wiping down your seat, tray table, seat belt, arm rest, and any other surface you might touch during the flight. We also recommend taking a supplement such as Airborne. Taking a tablet the day before your flight and the day of before and during your flight can help boost your immune system to hopefully keep those airplane germs away.
Stay Active. Staying active while flying might sound hopeless, but trust us, moving throughout your flight is vital. Side effects of stagnancy during a long flight include decreased blood flow and a higher chance for blood clots. Standing and walking around every few hours will help prevent these side effects. The aisles are your runway, so go ahead and practice that catwalk – your body will thank you later! Plus, some airlines are now providing in-flight exercise videos showing different movements to increase blood flow while sitting. If these are provided on your flight, we recommend taking full advantage.
Bring Some Entertainment. You’re on hour ten of fifteen. You can’t sleep. You’ve already eaten all your snacks. You grew tired of catching up on work and answering emails. You’ve seen all of the in-flight movies offered. Your row-mates are snoozing away and… you’re bored. This is a situation that requires preparation, folks. Long flights get boring and we have some thoughts. Maybe you could buy, or *gasp* rent, a book or two. Download a few movies to your phone, iPad, or laptop. Download a series that you’ve been meaning to binge-watch but haven’t had the time to (we all know how fast a good binge session goes by). Dip your toe – or hell, dive – into the podcast world. Nothing passes the time faster than a juicy true crime podcast. Just make sure you come prepared with your own entertainment.
Get Some Sleep. Ah, sleep. The elusive resource of productive business people everywhere. Sleep can be one of the biggest hurdles for passengers to overcome during long-haul flights. In fact, according to London-based firm JPA Design, sleep is the top reason people upgrade seats and is considered the highest priority for 70% of long-distance passengers.
During long-haul flights, each time zone that you pass through screws with your circadian rhythm. Your biological clock is disturbed when you’re in the air, and that is where jet lag begins. We recommend setting your clock to the local time that you are heading to. This will help to keep your circadian rhythm on track by letting you know when you should eat and sleep.
Sleeping is particular for everyone so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the ol’ “I can’t sleep on a plane issue” that plagues so many. We urge you to figure out what works for you. Try using a sleep eye mask or ear plugs. Test out different neck pillows to find one that works for you. Invest in some noise-cancelling earbuds to block out the plane sounds. Whatever it is, we urge you to try your best to get any amount of sleep during long flights. Missing even a few hours of sleep and the lingering jet lag will make work difficult on the other side.
While new cabin LED lighting, high-quality bedding, and noise-canceling earbuds are helping reduce some of the issues passengers face when flying long-distance, there will always be outliers. We hope these tips and tricks help keep some of the discomforts at bay for your next long-haul flight.
Have any suggestions for how to survive a long-haul that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
With contributions from: Samantha Seymour