If you’ve ever been on a truly long haul flight (at least 10 hours), then you know they can be pretty torturous. The first few hours won’t seem much different from your experience on a short and medium haul flight. However, things start to deteriorate quickly as the hours continue to pile on. Boredom, sleep deprivation, dehydration and deep-vein thrombosis.
Fortunately, long haul trips don’t have to be miserable. One option would be to charter a plane (to see examples of charter options, visit https://www.chapman-freeborn.com/en-US/). However, if you are flying via a commercial airline, the following tips can make your day-long de facto imprisonment in a metal tube a lot more bearable.
1. Entertaining Distraction
It can be difficult to sleep for 15 hours straight especially if you are flying coach. If you’re lucky, you may do 4 hours. How do you burn up the remaining time? One of the first things people will think of especially if they are going on a business trip, is work. Sure, writing proposals and filling spreadsheets may burn up an hour or two but it does little to really calm you.
If you want to escape the crippling boredom, consider books, movies and headphones. Something that takes you on a virtual journey elsewhere and draws your mind away from all that’s around you.
2. Bring the Right Gear
On short to medium haul flights, you can get by with the in-flight entertainment. On long haul flights though, the more gear you have with you, the better. That includes noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, eye masks and neck pillows.
You’ll have to factor the limits on your total carry-on luggage but many of these relatively small and light items shouldn’t make a big difference. Your mind and body will be grateful for these small comforts when you are on a 15-hour flight surrounded by an annoying seatmate, crying children, the permanent engine noise and seemingly endless pilot announcements.
3. Be Well Rested Before
People who haven’t done a long haul flight before will probably think it’s a good idea to immerse themselves in work and physically exhausting activities so they can sleep on the plane. It doesn’t take long for them to find out (albeit too late) that a long haul flight isn’t the best place to get restful sleep.
As intuitive and attractive getting on a flight while extremely tired might seem, you’ll be in for a rough time given the ease with which your sleep will be disrupted. Instead of subjecting yourself to 15 hours of sleepless torture after a hectic day, take time to rest well before the flight if your circumstances can allow it.
If you do catch one or two hours of sleep while airborne, let it be more of a welcome plus than a desperate necessity.
4. Minimize and Secure Carry-On Luggage
Checked baggage costs are encouraging more flyers to carry-on more stuff to the cabin. This is a smart move on short and medium haul flights. On long haul, it could be the cause for an exasperating journey. Anything placed below the seat ahead of you means less space for your legs and a more cramped travel environment for 10 hours or more. It is self-defeating.
Another thing you need to be on the lookout for with carry-on bags is theft. A long haul flight gives an unscrupulous traveler enough time to study you and zero in on the location of your valuables. They’ll wait for you to sleep than move in on their target item.
Pack your valuables deep within your bag where it would take someone plenty of searching to find them. Keep small important stuff such as cash, credit cards and your passport, in a shirt pocket or money pocket that’s underneath your outer clothes.
The above tips are invaluable but certainly not the only ones that can make your journey better. Sleeping aids, choosing the right seat, drinking plenty of water and staying physically active are more ways to handle a long haul flight. The important thing is to know which techniques you need to apply under what circumstances.
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