29 Aug How To Survive A Long-Haul Flight
Long-Haul flights are exhausting. If you haven’t travelled outside of your own continent it is not easy to know how to prepare. After taking a lot of long-haul flights through the years, I have learned the hard way of what to do and what not to do. Here are my best tips on how to survive a long haul flight.
Depending on where you go but, long-haul flights are usually cheaper the earlier you book. Between 6-3 months before departure. Everything is cheaper the earlier you book, especially if you decide to add another luggage. On my last flight, I wanted to add another 20kg luggage few days before it ended up costing almost $300. So I skipped it and needed to decide on what not to bring.
Select a seat
It sucks sitting in the middle with people that sleep all the way and you need to wake them up because you need to go to the toilet. I personally like to sit in the aisle because I can get up at any time and walk around as much as I want. You might be able to assign the seat while checking in at the airport. But if you want to be sure you get an aisle seat, window or near the exit, you should assign it beforehand on long-haul flights.
Add extras to your booking
Low-budget airlines often don’t offer free meals of entertainment on your flight and you need to add it to your booking. Once flying from Norway to the US. I didn’t add meals beforehand. And I needed to buy a sandwich while flying, which was a lot more expensive and just one meal. You can, of course, bring your own meal, but make sure it lasts all the hours and it might not be a lot cheaper. Some airlines have premium meals that are better than the basic ones.
Bring your own water bottle, many airports have water fountains to refill your bottle with cold water. Bring an empty bottle to the airport as you can’t bring liquids through the security check. This will save you the money on buying water at the airport. Don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendants for water during the flight.
Make sure you pack extra shift like underwear etc. Bring your normal daily essentials like face wipes, antibacterials, and your favourite snacks. It is no point of being uncomfortable just because you are on a plane. Skip the bra and skip the eye make up is my best tips on being comfortable on such a long flight. Use comfortable clothes that you can also sleep in. If you can, adjust to the new hours in terms of when to eat and sleep.
Even though you should stay comfy you need to respect staff and the people around you. Don’t hit your screen, have your feet reaching the one in front of you or scream at the flight attendants. You are all under the same roof and are gonna spend some time together. Stay cool.
Bring your own entertainment
Most of us bring a laptop in the hand luggage. It is a good idea is to save some movies on it or something else to do like editing photos, writing blog posts etc. I love the idea that Netflix had made it possible to download to watch it on your phone/pad with the app, all of this is offline of course. The only downside with this is that it takes lots of space on your phone. I only got to see the half of season of Orange Is the new black because I didn’t have more space on my phone.
Mark your bags
Even though they put stickers on your suitcase it can get lost. Once I took the wrong bag and that person took mine because it was the same type of bag. Luckily I marked it with my phone number so he contacted me right away before I went home with the wrong bag.
After travelling with a huge backpack with lots of camera stuff I have learned that a heavy backpack is not a good idea as a hand luggage. Why? because if you have many stopovers you need to carry it on your back, many airports don’t have a trolley for hand luggage and also not many places to sit. On another hand, all airports are suitcase friendly. Instead of using a backpack it is better to use a small suitcase as hand luggage.
Bring an extra small purse within the hand luggage
You might not use all the stuff you have in the hand luggage, like camera lenses etc. I pack my most important stuff in a smaller purse like headphones, travel pillow, lip balm, sleep mask and earplugs. This makes it easier where you don’t have to open the head lockers all the time.
Short layover after a long-haul flight?
On my last flight to Ecuador, I had only 70 minutes to make my flight. Including closing time on the gate, it was basically only 30 minutes. I was prepared before I arrived at Frankfurt airport and I knew which terminal I would land at and the one for departure, checking what gate it was the day before for the same flight. I saved a map of the terminal and was ready to run. Knowing it was a huge terminal.
This is risky if you book all the tickets individually. If you book it all in one with a company you are ok. They will put you on the next flight if there are cancellations. That doesn’t mean you can sit down and eat with a clear conscience. If you have two hours between flights you are secure. You can’t gamble that it will be on the same terminal. Many airports are huge, especially in Europe or the US.
If your booking has a very short layover and you are concerned, you can always ask the flight attendants on the flight before. They have info on who and how many are going to catch connected flights. With delays, they can contact the airport workers on the ground to get a people to pick you up and get you to the next flight. If you miss your flight and you have bought it together, just contact the airline at the airport and they will get you on the next flight available. When flights are delayed more than 3 hours you can get compensation. For more, check out this article.
Hand luggage must-haves for a long haul flight
Have you been on a long-haul flight? How was your experience?