I have just done a long haul flight of almost 16 hours. To prepare I scoured the web for long haul flight travel tips and used my many years knowledge too. Here are my findings:
– Take a Toothbrush and Mouthwash
I wrongly expected Philippine Airlines to provide these, so unless you are sure your airline will provide a disposable toothbrush and toothpaste, take your own. After many hours of airline food this was our number one wish. The smallest size Listerine mouthwash would also be a great idea, you must put this any any other liquids in a zip lock bag.
– Take a good pair of earphones or headphones
There is a constant hum when flying and cheap headphones supplied on many flight simply won’t be clear. I take good earbuds but if you are buying then look out for noise cancelling headphones as they will help block out the sound of crying babies. I always keep a pair of foam ear plugs with me too to drown out noisy kids if need be.
– Book your seat in advance
This is so important as being sandwiched in between two other people for many hours could be a nightmare. If you can’t reserve specific seats when booking online give your travel agent or airline a call to reserve them over the phone (we did this recently and were recommended the best seats on the plane by the sales clerk.
– Join the air miles/loyalty programme
This is another must for me. The reason is that I have been upgraded a few times in the past to first/business class and I believe this is why. There is nothing better than seeing a fully booked flight board which you are not looking forward to, only to be told you have been upgraded at the last second. It is heavenly and I was guilty of jumping for joy and shouting out last time it happened at the gate. Also you can use air miles for discounted flights or if you don’t have that many you can sometimes use them to buy gifts (I bought most of my immediate family gifts using air miles last Christmas).
– Take some reading material
Sounds basic but it seems to be one many people overlook. When you take off and land you are not allowed to use electronic devices, including the in-flight entertainment. So it is essential to have something to do and a small magazine or book is perfect. I like National Geographic magazine as it is filled with amazing photographs and features boring stories which hall to relax me and prepare me for sleep.
– Take some electronic entertainment
You never know if your in-flight entertainment screen will be poor quality, broken or non-existent. So bring whatever you have, the more the merrier. I bought a trio of Apple products on the most recent flight including a iPod for music. I filled this with relaxing music which is a nice option to have. I brought an iPad Mini for games and apps, which is perfect for a quick use when tired. Also a Macbook Air for movies and work. My girlfriend just bought her iPhone which seems to fill her needs, she had converted a few movies on it just in case.
– The right clothing for flying
The right clothing for a long haul flight is probably pyjamas, but lets be realistic. You don’t want to look silly and you need pockets. Basically you want loose fitting cotton clothing which isn’t too tight around the waste. I wore jeans on my last flight and had to undo the belt and button, which was comfortable enough, but embarrassing when the stewardess saw it lol. Dress for comfort and take a long sleeve top for when the airconditioning gets too strong. A spare paid of socks different to the ones you are wearing may be useful too, because your feet swell a little.
Tissues for when your nose gets runny due to the airconditioning. A neck pillow is a very good idea to enhance comfort too, cheap ones will do fine. Mints to keep your mouth fresh. An e-cig if you are a smoker, or at least a nicotine patch. Electronic cigarettes were not allowed on my last flight but I used it anyway, they are no substitute in real life but really help curb cravings on a plane. A pen- you will always need to fill something in. Snacks- a few bags of peanuts, cereal bar and biscuits can curb those hunger pangs between meals, or replace a meal if you sleep through one.
-And Finally Make use of the Stewards
The plane stewards will often get you any drink you like during the flight. So don’t be shy and take advantage of this. I recommend 2 beers to help you sleep (or two wines), or tea when you want to perk up a bit (the coffee is usually too strong and will leave an unpleasant aftertaste). When walking around the cabin (which you should do every couple of hours) you can grab a water or other drink when passing the stewards station.
Update December 2017: Take a strong fragrance in case you are next to someone with smelly feet. I can not stress enough how bad a recent long haul flight was- I was sat next to the windows and a couple sat next to me. After a while the guy took his shoes off and it was intoxicating. I eventually swapped seats it was so bad. Therefore I now always have a strong perfume with me. I usually shop at Jizan Perfumes (click image below):
It doesn’t need to be a special fragrance, but just take anything which is strong enough to cover up any nasty smells, which you can apply to your neck. You never know if there will be other smells on the flight e.g. body odour or if someone vomits, so this is really an essential tip. An alternative to perfume in eucalyptus, which can can put under your nose.