With the summer ahead the hot travel season is here! For me, it means jumping on and of planes flying to remote places sometimes just for a few days. But no complaining here. I love to travel and, yes, like you I travel economy. Especially on a long haul flight, this can be quite a challenge. Small seats, crapy food, and noisy neighbors. Before I became a full-time blogger I used to work for an airline so it seems only fair to share some of my insider long-haul flight tips with you.
Long-haul flights and how to survive them
Yes I know it sounds boring, but it will save you a lot of stress. If possible reserve your seat asap. The space in coach class has become less and less over the years and there is also a huge difference between airlines. You can check SEATGURU for the seat pitch and width. So if possible book your seat ahead and yes I'm more than willing to pay for a seat at the bulkhead or in comfort class.
Join the airport club
Traveling long distance can be quite nerve-racking so all the time you can save on the airport is precious. Check if your airport has an airport club where you can become a member of. It often means you can also use special parking areas, fast check-in, and business class security checks and special lanes at passport control. If you travel often this is such a game changer. Privium is the one I use for Amsterdam.
Pack a sleep kit
Being on a flight for more than 10 hours you better try to get as much sleep as possible. Wear comfortable clothes, shoes with enough space for your expanding elephant feet and always bring a big scarf, neck rest, sleeping mask, and headset to block the annoying airplane noise. And even better that talkative neighbor 🙂
Make sure you eat well before entering the plane. Never ever rely on the airplane food. PLEASE. Chicken or beef and a sticky bun. What more can I say? Some airlines like KLM offer a select meal service. You have to pay for this, but at least you can eat like you are in business class. I usually bring some oatmeal crackers just in case the food is really ugly or a make a quick stop at McDonald's before boarding.
Bring your own (empty) water bottle for refill. Hydration should be your number one priority on a long flight. Some airlines are very generous with giving out water bottles, but this is not always the case. And go slow with alcohol on board. Better not to drink at all, but otherwise just stick to one bedtime glass of wine. Alcohol hits you twice as hard in the air!
I will not even begin to explain about the cleanliness on board an airplane. So bring your wipes. Baby wipes, disinfectant hand wipes, facial wipes. Whatever makes you happy. Take it from an expert but please clean your table, armrests, touch screen tv, onboard phone and basically everything you have to touch. You may thank me later 🙂
Yes, snowstorms happen, fog appears out of nothing and airplanes sometimes have to divert. So bring your own survival kit holding an extra pair of underwear, a t-shirt, basic makeup, and some Advil just in case. And while you're at it, bring some snacks and deodorant too. Nothing is worse being stuck in an airport with no facilities where you have to stay the night.
I try to not work onboard. I really like to use my flying time as me time. But it wouldn't be the first time the entertainment system on board wasn't working. So prepare. Fill up your E-reader, take some travel magazines, your favorite music, and some crossword word puzzles to kill the time.
Join the flight club (no not that one)
If you fly the same airline over and over it really helps to sign up for their reward program. Saving points can earn you free baggage, special discounts and at the end of the year enough mileage to get an upgrade!
And last but not least; Be kind to the crew on board. If you think being on a long-haul flight is hard don't forget to remember the crew goes from one jetlag to another. So be kind, be polite, listen and smile. It might even get you an extra glass of wine or a better seat 🙂
Hope you like my insider's list of long-haul flight tips! What do you do to make a such a long flight more comfortable? Drop me a note and let me know!
With love and light,