6 More Tips For Long Flights
This article is a bit of a sequel to my previous post: 7 Tips for Surviving Long Flights. Since posting that article, I've been on several more lengthy flights. I began thinking of other things I hadn't mentioned initially, so I decided to compile them here for another round of helpful flight tips:
1) Change of Clothes
This is one that I follow most religiously... Always bring a change of clothes in your carry on. First of all, it's always nice to be able to change into clean clothes after being on a plane and feeling so gross from being in the same seat with the same air for so many hours. Most of the flights I've taken to Europe have gotten there early enough in the morning that our hotel rooms were not ready, so being able to change clothes was the best we could get for several hours.
Secondly, it's nice to at least have one change of clothes if your luggage gets lost and you're stuck without it for a few days. Of course you can always go buy some replacements, but it's nice to know you'll be covered for at least one day if your bag ends up visiting the wrong country!
It sounds silly, but when you're 10 hours in on a 15 hour flight, your body is going to be anxious because you've been sitting so long, and sore because you haven't moved. I usually try to wait until most of the plane is sleeping so that I don't get too many skeptical looks, but hey... they're the ones missing out! Don't forget to stretch your shoulders, back, and neck when you limber up. Your legs aren't the only ones that will be suffering after being unused for so long.
If you decide you want to stretch, I would suggest going to someplace out of the way, like the front or back of the plane or by one of the bathrooms. You'll just be in the way if you decide to stand up right in the middle of the aisle and stretch. Everyone, flight attendants especially, will appreciate you keeping the isles clear.
3) Pick Your Seat Wisely
Not everyone wants an aisle seat and not everyone wants a window seat. (I don't think I know anyone who actually prefers a middle seat...) Getting the type of seat you want can make or break a long flight. I would highly recommend getting the app on your phone for the airline you're flying with so that you can see the seat map ahead and pick your seat when you have that option. Additionally, you can go to the attendants at the gate if you have a seat you'd like to change. If there are other open seats they are usually willing to help you move around a little. (Keep in mind that they can't do much if the plane is full, but it's always worth asking.)
If you haven't flown on a long flight before and you aren't really sure which seat you will want think about these things:
- Do you like to sleep on planes? If you sleep on planes easily you might want a window seat to lean against. You're also less likely to need to get up to go to the bathroom if you're sleeping.
- Are you tall/do you like a lot of leg room? If either of these are true, you're probably better off with an aisle seat. The ability to stretch into the aisle and get up to walk around would benefit you a lot.
-Do you have a small bladder? This is usually what gets me. If you know you're going to need to get up several times on an 8 hour flight, do yourself and everyone else a favor and sit on the aisle to minimize the number of times you have to ask the others in your row to move for you.
4) Puffy Clothes
This is a combination of optimizing the space in your checked bag and surviving long flights. If you have some bigger pieces of clothing like sweatpants to sleep in or an over-sized sweater, consider wearing it on the plane to save space in your luggage. I also like to wear things like that to give myself layering options when the temperature fluctuates. I'm always burning up by the time I sit down, so I shed a layer or two pretty quickly... But shortly after takeoff I find myself freezing and adding them all back.
Another option for these puffier clothes is to carry them on and use them for a pillow/blanket. On my last trip I forgot my travel pillow, so I took my coat out of my checked bag to roll up and use as a neck pillow. (Bonus points for that one because I ended up using it as a blanket on the flight back!)
5) Download Content
Depending on the airline, you may or may not have some decent content from the in-flight media selection. Either way, I love to use long flights as a chance to catch up on my latest Netflix or Disney+ obsession. Also, if you don't want to spend 8+ hours looking at a screen, you can download other things like podcasts or music. There are also plenty of games or other activity apps that you can download to keep you busy while you're flying high.
This is also something I would recommend planning ahead for, because I inevitably end up waiting until I get to the airport to try to download enough content for several hours in a few minutes, with airport wifi that is slow and terrible. I would also suggest downloading more than you think you'll need so that you have options once you're in the air.
6) Small Amount of Luggage
The longer your flight, the more leg room you are going to want, so keeping your carry-on small or storing it in the bins above your seat will really help when you just need that extra few inches. If you're too shy to jump up in the aisle to do your stretching, you can still manage to do a little if you have adequate leg room!
On the other hand, you're also less likely to have to check your bag at the gate if you only have a small bag with you, because you can put it under your seat. I've had to check my larger carry-on for a long flight that had a smaller plane, and trust me... it was no fun! If you think you might run into this, play it safe and pack light.
Hopefully you find these 6 tips helpful for your next long flight! If you missed Part 1 of Tips for Long Flights, you can go here to check it out. Stay tuned for more tips in the future because I feel like every time I get on a plane, someone teaches me something new!