Ways to Ensure Comfort on Extended Air Trips

XcelTrip|4 min read|Sep 13, 2023

Ways to Ensure Comfort on Extended Air Trips

These tips for long flights can significantly enhance your upcoming trip.

Whether you’re embarking on a seven-hour flight to Europe or facing the challenge of the world’s lengthiest 19-hour journey, lengthy flights can often be monotonous, uncomfortable, and draining. The inconveniences associated with long-distance travel can range from minor annoyances like troublesome seatmates to more serious concerns like the risk of deep-vein thrombosis, which should not be taken lightly. A poorly planned trip can not only spoil your day but also leave you feeling less than your best for several days afterwards. Fortunately, there are several straightforward ways to significantly improve your experience during a long flight.

Here are some tips for long flights.

  1. Secure your tickets in advance

It’s evident that the sooner you book, the higher the likelihood of securing your preferred seat — it’s as straightforward as that.

2. Opt for rear seating

If you don’t have a preferred seat (or the front seats with extra legroom are occupied), consider sitting towards the back. It might be noisier, but if everyone else is vying for front seats, your chances of having an empty seat or two next to you improve. Monitor the seat map before your flight to spot any available rows you can claim at the last moment.

3. Utilize your frequent flyer miles for an upgrade

If you possess them, make use of them. You’ll appreciate the luxury of reclining in a first-class seat, enjoying Champagne, and pretending to savor caviar. And if you don’t have the miles, this is the time to indulge in a top-tier first or business-class seat.

4. Invest in premium economy

Unfortunately, we don’t always accumulate enough miles. Premium economy, a step above regular economy, might be slightly pricier, but the advantages — priority check-in, extra legroom, comfortable seats — typically outweigh the cost.

5. Attempt a complimentary upgrade

It’s worth a try, isn’t it? Arrive early, travel alone, dress well, and wear your most winning smile. If you have elite status with the airline, your chances of securing a last-minute upgrade are higher.

6. Prepare for time zone adjustments

There are various steps you can take before your flight to prevent or minimize jet lag. Adjust your sleep schedule in the days leading up to your flight (try a few nights with bedtime at 4 a.m. or 7 p.m., depending on your flight time). Additionally, plan your flight to arrive during daylight hours, make the most of layovers, and, most importantly, ensure you’re well-rested before departing. Trust us, staying awake for the 24 hours before your journey, assuming it will even out upon arrival, is not effective.

7. Complete your check-in early

The last thing you want before a lengthy flight is to rush through a crowded airport or risk missing your flight altogether.

8. Relax before arrival

Enjoy a pleasant breakfast, visit the gym, read a book, or take a leisurely walk. It’s crucial to unwind before embarking on your voyage.

9. Avoid excessive carry-on luggage

You’ll need more for a long-haul flight compared to a short one, but overpacking isn’t advisable. Keep essential items in your personal belongings, ensuring they’re always within easy reach.

1o. Remember to bring your own pillow

A travel cushion is an essential item to carry when embarking on long-haul journeys. Nearly all airports offer them for sale, and appearing somewhat unconventional is a minor sacrifice to prevent neck strain.

11. Ensure you pack an ample supply of facial masks

Face coverings are still obligatory on flights, so make sure to stash multiple masks in an easily accessible location for convenient replacements.

12. Noise-cancellation headphones can be your newfound companion

If budget constraints prevent you from acquiring them, high-quality earplugs can effectively block out aircraft noise or noisy fellow passengers.

13. Fasten your seat belt on top of your blanket

If you intend to nap during your flight, make certain that your seat belt remains visible. In the event of turbulence, the seat belt indicator will illuminate, and flight attendants may come by to verify everyone’s seat belts are fastened. Concealing your fastened belt under your blanket may result in them waking you for inspection.

14. Include an eye mask in your essentials

An eye mask proves particularly valuable if you’re travelling during daylight hours or desire some rest before the cabin lights are dimmed.

15. Dress appropriately

Opt for loose, comfortable attire your aim is comfort, not impressing others. Be sure to pack layers for when the temperature drops, as having a cardigan or sweatshirt at your disposal is always wise.

16. Strive to unwind

Do whatever it takes practice meditation, enjoy calming music, and engage in breathing exercises not only will it promote better sleep, but it’s also beneficial for your mental well-being.

17. Travel blankets serve a purpose

Select a blanket that isn’t overly bulky (remember it must fit in your carry-on), but ensure it provides enough warmth for when the plane’s air conditioning is in full swing.

18. Download backup movies onto your tablet or laptop

In-flight entertainment systems aren’t always dependable. They may occasionally malfunction, and in such cases, you’ll appreciate having an alternative activity at the ready.

19. Charge your devices

The last thing you want is for your iPad to run out of battery just an hour into an 11-hour flight. This is especially critical if the in-flight entertainment system isn’t operational.

20. Stock up on podcasts

Gathering a collection of podcasts can be more energy-efficient than watching movies, and they frequently provide a more absorbing experience compared to music. You can easily occupy your entire flight by listening to podcasts alone.

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