How to Make a Long-Haul Flight More Comfortable

While six or more hours cooped up in a stuffy airplane might seem like your worst nightmare, there are a few things you can do in advance to make your journey a more pleasant experience. Here, we’ll share the best secrets for arriving at your destination refreshed, relaxed and ready to enjoy your time away.

Julie Santos · 10th January 2017

Reserve Your seat

Whilst it may cost a few extra pounds to reserve a specific seat, it is money well spent on a long haul trip. If you’re travelling without children, book the rows next to the exits – these have plenty of extra legroom. You won’t be able to book these seats for children under 12 or anyone who is not fit/mobile because passengers in exit row seats may be expected to assist during an emergency.

If you’re not with your family and would like a peaceful journey, avoid the front of the plane. Typically this is where there are special provisions for babies on long haul flights.

Choosing an aisle seat will allow you to move around freely during your journey which is advisable, and you can also quickly access the toilets should you need to!

Bring Your Gear

Let’s face it – sitting still with nothing to do for six hours or more is pretty bad, wherever you are – so make sure you’ve brought your go-to gear to keep you entertained. You’ll appreciate every small comfort you can cram into your carry-on bag, whether it’s a soft neck pillow, an eye mask or ear plugs to help you sleep.

On the subject of ear plugs, if you’ve never flown long haul before, you might be unpleasantly surprised with the amount of noise you’ll experience. Constant announcements, the sound of the engine and loud passengers will all test your patience after a few hours in the air – not to mention the screaming child who isn’t enjoying spending several hours cramped up with nothing to do any more than you are.

Make sure you bring along your favourite devices – tablets, smartphones, e-readers and mobile phones are all allowed provided that ‘flight safe’ mode is used. A decent pair of headphones is also a wise investment and many airlines – British Airways, for example – allow you to attach them to their in-flight entertainment system. Some airlines provide headphones for free but these tend to be poor quality and will do little to block out the sound around you.

Board Well Rested

Although your neck pillow, eye pad, ear plugs and relaxing music might give you a little sleep, don’t expect to get a decent rest on a long-haul flight. Show up for your flight exhausted in the hope that you’ll sleep the whole way and you’re likely to be very disappointed.

If you’re planning on using a sleep aid to help you relax, make sure you try it at home beforehand. Sleeping remedies affect people differently – while one person may feel drowsy, another might feel more alert or even unwell. A long-haul flight is not a good place to try out something new – so test at home a few days before you go.

If you’re changing time zones, try to stick to the usual sleeping time in the new zone – this can help your body adjust and minimise the effects of jet lag.

Stay Healthy

Lack of humidity in the aircraft cabin can lead to dehydration so it’s important to start your flight hydrated and keep drinking. Rather than choosing water exclusively, choose some electrolyte drinks as well to help you achieve a good balance. A nose spray can also help keep your nose and throat comfortable and doing their job in fighting viruses and bacteria.

The combination of staying still for six or more hours and dehydration also increases the risk of a blood clot. For this reason, it’s important to keep moving on long haul flights – whether you stretch and do exercises in your seat or walk up and down the cabin regularly.  You should also wear loose-fitting clothing and consider purchasing compression socks for your journey which can help improve circulation.

Stay away from caffeinated drinks and chocolate before and during your journey – both of which can make you visit the toilet more often than necessary.

Finally, be cautious about cleanliness on the plane. Whilst you can’t do much about being confined to a small space with hundreds of other passengers, you can bring along anti-bacterial wipes for your tray table and ensure you thoroughly wash your hands before eating. Bacteria thrives in aircraft cabins with the toilet handles, tray tables, arm rests, seat belts, magazines and seat pockets all being areas for concern.

If you’re looking for ways to make an upcoming journey more comfortable and enjoyable, we stock a huge range of noise-cancelling headphones which will block out surrounding noise and help you enjoy your favourite music, podcasts and more. For our full selection of headphones, head over to our homepage or call our friendly sales team on 01925 768 250. 

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