Tips for a Long Flight

In our ever increasingly global world long flights are becoming more common place. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, flights of eight, ten, and even more hours are here to stay. Long flights can lead to boredom, fatigue, and general irritability. But, here are 10 tips to help you have a good long flight, and help fight the negative effects of being in the air for extended periods of time.

Get Comfortable, Before You Fly There’s nothing worse on a long flight than finding out you’re stuck in a seat that doesn’t fully recline, you have no extra room on either side of you, and your seat is lacking in all amenities. This unpleasant situation can be avoided by choosing your seats as early as possible, and taking advantage of the airlines seating chart.
Most airlines that offer long flights have an online seating chart. These charts offer much more than aisle or window information. The savvy traveler can uses these charts to find seats with extra leg room, more reclining space, and amenities like power outlets and extra arm room.

Rest Up Before the Flight A long flight can be a grueling experience, and while there is ample time to sleep on the flight few people can sleep soundly or for extended periods of time with the turbulence and noise that are common on long flights.
The best bet, if you can manage it, is to rest up the day before and then try to get a good nap in before your flight. Of course if your flight is a morning flight all the better, just make sure you get a good night sleep before heading to the airport.

Ask for the Perks Most long flights have perks beyond the meals and drink cart runs. These could range from the free beer and wine offered on most trans-Pacific flights to unlimited coffee, tea, and soft drinks to extra pillows and blankets.
Each carrier is different, and almost all offer perks designed to keep passengers comfortable on long flights. The key is you have to ask for them.

Consider Tipping Your Flight Attendant Slipping your flight attendant a ten or twenty dollar tip is something savvy travelers do routinely. The flights are long for the travelers, but they are also long for the flight attendants. A tip offered at the beginning of a long flight will, most certainly, give you friendlier service, and may also give you easier access to unadvertised perks, or sometimes can lead to an in-air seat upgrade.

Choose a Flight with Entertainment Options Most long flights today have either movies shown to the whole cabin, or more likely, the built in personal entertainment centers. Most of the personal entertainment centers today go beyond a few movies. You will often find games, TV shows, music videos, news, and more. Checking with the airlines before booking your flight, and choosing flights with personal entertainment centers can make for a much better experience on a long flight.

Entertain Yourself Even with the many entertainment options available on modern long flights you may find yourself wanting to read a book or magazine, play better games, or even get some work done. Bringing an iPad or similar device can offer a great addition to onboard entertainment, and are generally easy to carry. Tablet computers also allow you to bring many more eBooks, audio books, and magazines than you could any other way. You can also pre-stream video from YouTube on some devices.

Get Up and Stretch Your Legs Sitting for extended periods of time is not good for your body. It causes your metabolism to slow down, can cause muscle cramps, and for some people cause blood clots in their legs. Sitting in one spot for hours on end, only getting up to use the bathroom, can also make you irritable. On all long flights is best to get up every couple hours and just take a stroll around the cabin. For safety make sure you only do this when the fasten seatbelt sign is switched off.

Strike Up a Conversation Not all passengers want to spend fourteen hours talking to you, but there’s a very good chance some of the people around you, or strolling around the cabin, are up for some short conversations. Conversations can often be a great way to pass the time, but care should be taken not to monopolized the conversation or the other person’s time. And, if you find yourself in the company of a long talker, a bit of turbulence or a trip to the restroom is usually enough to cap off a conversation.

Don’t be a Pest A Boeing 777-300 can hold more than 300 passengers meaning the flight attendants have a lot more passengers to take care of than just you. It’s often best to refrain from asking for something every few minutes. Even if you tipped your flight attendant you’ll easily wear them out, and make yourself look like a jerk, if you continuously pester them for small thing. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, or things to make your trip more enjoyable, just remember there are a lot more passengers than just you.

Start with a Positive Attitude Of course none of the other tips will help you have a good long flight if you go into the flight with the wrong attitude. The flight will be long, it’s something you have to accept up front and prepare yourself for. Starting with and keeping a positive attitude will help you accept the long flight for what it is, and make the best of the situation. Just remember, it’s much better to be on a long flight of ten or more hours than it would be to be trying to cross the same distance on a sailing ship like people had to do in the past.