The world is getting smaller and smaller every day. Long-haul flights to distant destinations for business or pleasure are increasingly popular. There are more aircraft, more airports at destination, and more people willing to spend half a day or more in the air. It’s just easier and cheaper than it used to be for long-haul flights. Unfortunately, the experience of traveling halfway around the world can very often be a stressful and exhausting affair, especially for the uninitiated or unprepared. It doesn’t have to be. Just follow this guide for a stress-free long-haul flight and you can sit back and enjoy the whole experience!
Step 1: Do your homework:
A little homework will definitely help you find the right airline for you. The internet is a great resource in this regard, but be aware that you are a local travel agent who can have a wealth of customer experience with various airlines.
You might want to know who will offer the most legroom, how good the food is, and how famous their customer service is.
Most airlines now offer some sort of in-seat entertainment like the Singapore Airline’s Krisworld system (still great) and I especially enjoyed the Japanese airline’s onscreen camera views. allowing you to see forward from the nose of the aircraft or downward wherever you fly. These systems are a good way to kill a few hours of any flight.
Of course, the price is important and the shopping really pays off. Don’t be afraid to go directly to the airline and check out any specials they might have, as well as using high street agents and the internet.
Step 2: Airport time:
You will usually need to check in 2 hours before your long-haul flight although it will always pay to arrive a little earlier than that as most people will arrive in the queue at this time. Better to spend 3 hours sitting in the departure lounge with a good book than to stay in the queue!
Of course, the sooner you have a chance to secure a good seat. Many airlines are now introducing services on their websites that allow you to reserve seats, order meals and check-in through automated express check-in systems; the best way to do it by far.
Step 3: Enjoy the flight:
On a 19 hour flight, it is important to stay busy. The obvious solution is a good book. I always start a book a few days before I fly so I’m already “in” before getting on the plane, ensuring a pre-planned slice of escape.
These days we are fortunate to have in-vehicle technology to keep us entertained, these often include the latest blockbuster movies, video games, and all manner of TV shows and in-flight information. However, I still find the faithful book to be the best way to kill time.
The holy grail of long-haul flights is getting quality sleep. Air quality, light sources, noise and cramped upright seats are certainly not conducive to falling asleep. An Ezysleep inflatable travel pillow, for example, is designed to solve the problem of supporting your neck in an upright position, but there are other things you can do. Earplugs and an eye mask can help manage light and noise, so combine them with your travel pillow for quality sleep.
If the food is not up to par, make sure you are prepared with healthy snacks and plenty of water. It might be free, but alcohol and coffee are very dehydrating and it’s the last thing you want in an already arid environment. Stick to water and fruit juices.
Above all, enjoy the flight! Enjoy this time away from cell phones, boss and traffic and relax. You are 40,000 feet from everything, take advantage of it!
Step 4: Stay Healthy:
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a constant concern for long-haul travelers. Although extremely rare, it is a very dangerous condition. The condition is avoided by ensuring that the blood flow around your body continues to move.
Do the exercises advised by the video and in-flight magazines, walk regularly in the kitchen, the toilet or just in the aisles and drink plenty of water.
Step 5: Avoid jet lag:
The best way to avoid or minimize jet lag is to start planning during your flight. Set your watch to your destination time as soon as you can, and do your best to sleep when it’s dark where you’re going, even if that means missing meals on board.
Keep drinking this water so you don’t get dehydrated when you land. When you get to your destination, don’t hit the hay right away. Try to stay awake until evening, and you’ll give yourself the best chance of adjusting to your new time zone quickly.