Tips on how to make a long haul flight more comfortable

We’ve all been there: standing in the queue, waiting to board on a 10+ hours flight, thinking with horror on how uncomfortable we will feel trapped in the metal tube, with limited leg space and sharing our personal space with a few hundred other people.

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However, flying doesn’t have to be uncomfortable! Here are my top tips on how to enjoy a long haul flight:

Bring a long scarf

The overall temperature on a plane will be somewhere between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius. However, because we are sitting down and don’t move too much, we will feel the air to be much colder. The low humidity in the cabin also contributes to feeling cold but also to drying our skin so we should always carry a moisturizing cream with us on long haul flights.

Even if there will be a small blanket to cover ourselves when we sleep, it will be too probably too small. This is why I recommend bringing a long scarf, in case you get cold. Long scarfs are great because of the numerous ways you can wear them: around your neck, around yourself as a pareo, you can use them as beach throws and as blankets on planes or cold buses.

 

Choose an aisle seat

I always choose an aisle seat when I fly, long haul or not. Sure, the view from the window is beautiful but when you are on a long haul flight, especially on the day ones, you will be asked to close the blind anyway. When I can’t sleep I like to walk around the plane, to get my blood moving and prevent blood clots. Also, I prefer not to bother other people if I want to go to the bathroom, which can happen several times during a 12 hours flight.

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Most of the people will sleep on a long flight and if you have a window seat you can feel bad waking them up if you want to go to the bathroom or just move around the plane. Plus, when you have an aisle seat you can stretch your legs much better after the meals have been served and nobody else is walking around anymore.

 

Pack some treats

Why not treat yourself while you fly, to sweeten the journey and make it pass faster? I like to pack a few snacks and chocolates in my carry on and have them after dinner is served. I always find the dessert in the main meal to be so small so I bring my own.

I can recommend you Lily O’Brien’s luxury dessert collection, an assortment of the world best desserts recreated in scrumptious mouthfuls of chocolate. There are six delicious flavors in a box of chocolates: Raspberry infusion, Banoffee Pie, Hazelnut Torte, Key Lime Pie, Creme Brulee and Passion Fruit Posset.

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Which one would you like to try first? I’ll confess that even if all of them are delicious, I have a soft spot for Creme Brulee!

 

Invest in a good travel pillow

If you are like me, the pillow you get on the flight is useless and it makes more harm than good. I usually put it behind my lower back, as support, as I use my JetComfy pillow to sleep in a natural position and avoid neck pain. There’s nothing worse than arriving at the destination with neck and back pain.

There are many great travel pillows out there that will offer your neck support and help you sleep better while being in a seated position. I have only tried JetComfy with which I am very happy and I recommend, but the selection is quite large, you should look for the one that fits your body type.

 

Dress comfortably

The more comfortable you are dressed, the better you will feel on a flight. My suggestion would be to bring pajamas and a pair of flip flops, and change as soon as the plane has reached the cruising altitude. I move quite a lot of when I sleep and if I wear jeans while flying then my moves would be restricted. If I wear a dress then I wouldn’t feel comfortable with the other passengers, especially if I’m sharing a row with men. So I came to the conclusion that changing into a comfy pajama is the best solution to sleep without any worries.

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Because of the pressure of the cabin and the high altitude, your feet will suffer as well, swelling. This is why I always bring a pair of flip flops with me and take my trainers off. Without saying, in order to do this you should always make sure that you are wearing clean socks and that your feet are washed.

 

Drink plenty of water

Dehydration is one of the most common things that will happen to your body when you fly. On a plane, the humidity is set to around 10%-20%, which makes the air very dry, causing your body to dehydrate.

A dehydrated body is weak in fighting viruses and this is the reason why many people get sick after flying. Due to the air recirculating through the cabin, it is enough for one person to be sick for the viruses to spread easily to other passengers.

Try and drink as much water as you can and avoid coffee, tea or alcohol as they also contribute to dehydrating your body.

Did you know that if you drink enough water on a flight the jet lag won’t feel so bad?

 

Disclaimer: This post has been written in collaboration with Lily O’Brien’s, the luxury chocolatier. As always, all comments and opinions in this article are my own.

Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.

42 Comments

  1. I always carry treats because my ears give some kind of vibration while I am on a plane. It hurts bad. This even helped some more tips which I will use in future.

  2. Before I used to love flying because I love to do a movie marathon or just finsh a book. Now ofcourse with a toddler is hard. Luckly I was still breastfeeding my daughter last time we flew so she was using my breast as a dummy…for 12hours!😫 But atleast she was calm.

  3. I don’t think I could ever be so many hours on a plane. Even though I think I will have to do it sometime, cause I want to go in some places around the world. I hope I won’t freak out for being that much time in a “tube” above the clouds! Your advice was really helpful though!

  4. I hear you; while I have never been on a long haul flight and do prefer a window seat I think that I too would choose an aisle seat on a long haul flight as like you said it would be nice to stretch your legs. A long scarf would be ideal to bate the cold as well! x

  5. I travel often and let me tell you, your tips are spot on! I always wear comfy pants and a tshirt, with a hoodie zip up and always pack a scarf, because it is a blanket disguised as an accessory!

  6. These are some really great tips, Joanna. I travel often and I make sure that my flight pamper kit is always on hand – pillow, blanket/shawl, moisturizer, gums/mints, some snacks and a few more tidbits. 🙂

  7. I always book a window seat so I can put my feet on the wall, my legs are too long for the aisle I always get knocked! My go to plane outfit is leggings, a comfy top, flip flops and my favourite jumper. I’ve done plenty of long haul flights and I think I have it down to an art!

  8. Good tips, I always feel asleep whenever the plane starts to take off. Hehehe probably I just get to use it, But I always prefer window seat though because I don’t want to be disturbed.

  9. I wish I read this article before . When I was a seamen 10 years ago , once a year I have to take long flight to Europe and back home . That’s was very boaring , especially when we comeback to work . But when going home everything seems to be beautiful .

  10. Very helpful tips! Always long flight is so tiring and being comfortable in such a squeezed place is a great task. Travel pillow with comfortable dressing is my first priority.

  11. Waterbottle and isle seat are the first things I check for a long haul flight. I can’t really eat during the flights, but a few bites of good quality chocolate is never a bad idea.

  12. Thanks for sharing these travel tips. I wholly endorse and practice many of them. I worry about my circulation when traveling for long periods so I always prefer an aisle seat. Once, I was stuck in the middle seat on a flight from Japan to NYC and it was horrible because there was an old guy on one side (who I didn’t want to bother too much) and a girl on another side who slept through the entire flight. Many times, I had to climb over her, which was embarrassing and awkward, to get to the toilet or to stretch my legs.

  13. Great tips! I tend to bring snacks that won’t melt, but those chocolates sound scrumptious! I am also a sucker for creme brulee, but have a soft spot for Key Lime Pie! Drinking water is key! Staying hydrated also helps with jet lag. I like to make sure I have a variety of things to do on the plane, not just sleeping and watching a movie. I bring books, coloring books, and my notepad to write thoughts down.

  14. I actually dread long haul flights simply because I can never sleep! I totally agree with the aisle seat, I always need to use the toilet too! Good tip about the long scarf, I always get cold on planes.

  15. I prefer window seat so that I can tilt my head and put my legs on the wall. I will make sure to carry chocolates and drink plenty of water next time. I do 19 hours of flying every 14 months or so. By the time I reach the destination, I get super crazy!
    Love your tips. 👍🏼

  16. I haven’t been in a flight ever. Honestly, I am a little scared about it due to all those horror stories about jetlag, ear problems. But after reading this, I think I won’t be scared anymore. Thanks a lot for these tips!
    Regards: Veethee

  17. Thanks for the amazing tips! Whenever i fly i opt for an aisle seat, so you got me on that suggestion! Apart from that I feel that your suggestion of investing in a good, comfortable travel pillow is really important! I have got many neck aches after a flight when i wouldn’t carry one!

  18. This post came just at the right time, as I am about to take a flight which will be 15hrs!! I am not looking forward to it at all. You are so right about having an aisle seat, so you can wonder aroud, I am always getting up and wanting to use the restroom. You just reminded me to, to pack my travel pillow.

  19. This is a great tips for me. Aisle seats, scarf and reading books is my best essential for me every time I traveled. Loved this post!!

  20. Awesome timig! My next long flight will be in 4 weeks. Time enough to prepare. For my first long flight I brought all kinds of things I didn’t need (they were provided in the plane). Won’t do that again! Dress comfortably is so important! I’d say one of the most important things! You have to sit in that outfit for hours. And sometimes also sleep. A scarf is definitely something I’ve never brought on a flight but now I will.

  21. Great tips! I always choose an aisle seat on long flights, I really don’t get when people want a window for so long!! I’m about to take a 17 hour flight in September so these were some great reminders :). I must remember the treats!!

  22. I hate long flights too! These tips are so practical and doable, which I love. I especially have to think about choosing an aisle seat, because my initial choice is always the window seat. I have to remember the tip on drinking water too; it’s no wonder I always feel lethargic during flight!

  23. These are some really practical tips which are totally bang on.
    I always used to opt for window seats but now am definitely going to go for aisle seats, at least for the Long haul ones.

  24. I do most the things you have said. I also take a bottle of water on board with me. The last coupld of times Ive flown long haul I left the travel pillow at home and took my actual pillow off my bed! It looked a bit funny as a carry on but it was so worth it!!

  25. Great tips. Thanks for sharing. I also choose an aisle seat coz i move around a lot and don’t want to disturb fellow passengers..
    Water for sure..needs loads of it. So i carry an empty bottle and get it filled by the flight attendants, so that i don’t keep calling them. And of course a good book to read..

  26. I don’t mind long-haul travel, as long as I’m wearing warm socks, comfortable clothes and have a warm blanket, I’m set! We have another long-haul flight coming up, I think bringing chocolates is a great idea 🙂

  27. Great tips on making a flight much more doable! I’m definitely going to be bringing a scarf (a long one too) because you just never can tell with the temperature on the plane or whether there is even blankets available. Those Lily O’Brien chocolates look so good…love assortment. I tend to always bringing a meal or snacks with me, plus several books (or ebooks) so I’m not bored.

  28. I ALWAYS bring a moisturiser on flights with me. I’ve been known to pop on a sheet mask or two as well! I find cabin air so drying, I feel like a dinosaur when I get off the plane!

  29. Such good advice! I always bring a scarf and some cosy socks when I am flying long haul. Means I can walk to the toilet without having to put on shoes. I also pack a toothbrush and some toothpaste as well because it helps me feel a bit fresher as we land! x

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