Recent studies showed that a long haul flight will be the most unpleasant, distressing and most uncomfortable 12 hours of your entire life (unless you’ve tried to drive right across London.) Alright, I made that up…but long haul flights are still a real bind.
So, here are a few tips to ease that pain quicker than you can say Cheap Plane Thrombosis.
Watch your Step
Airline toilets are gross at the best of times, but after a few hours of turbulence on a long haul they’re not a place you want to be in thin socks or bare feet. Always pop on a pair of shoes (ideally someone else’s) before a visit to the toilet, you’re feet will thank you for it.
Earplugs & Eye Masks
Some airlines supply the mouldable, foam earplugs in their passenger goody bags, but take your own just in case they don’t. Together with an eye mask, they’ll shut out the rest of the world for the duration of the flight – leave them at home if you like screaming babies, compulsive talkers and loud snorers.
Extra Eye mask tip: If you still can’t sleep, cut 2 holes in it to look like a tired and irritable super-hero.
Keep Fed, Keep Watered, Stay Happy
Listen to your body and eat and drink as required. Take along a few of your own favourite snacks to munch on in between airline offerings. If you’re planning to diet or quit smoking, start after your holiday, or at least after your flight. A recent airline smoking study showed that those who use nicotine gum or patches are far less likely to bludgeon to death ‘inconsiderate passengers’ with tightly rolled in-flight magazines.
Check your seat pocket and ensure you have a barf bag to hand. Although you may not suffer from air sickness, you may still be in someone else’s firing arcs. Giving Mr or Mrs Pukey a barf bag in those first few vital seconds will ensure a pleasant flight for you both.
Regardless of the airport and in-flight temperature and the climate at your current or final destination, dressing in layers allows you to put on or peel off clothes with the minimum of fuss to remain comfortable throughout your journey. In addition, more clothes on you mean more space in your luggage for duty free booze and fags.
Remain hydrated in a dry cabin by adopting at least a 1:2 booze/water ratio, and try to drink at least 8 oz of water every hour. It’s not compulsory to maintain the ratio by drinking the 4 ounces of booze each hour, though. Also, avoid overindulgence in diuretics such as tea, coffee and carbonated drinks.
Use Bottled Water
Airline regulations prohibit the carrying on board of bottle water (most of the time…), but it’s acceptable to board with an empty bottle with lid for the cabin crew to fill for you on the plane. It’s easier to drink from and store between sips than the undersized plastic glasses supplied by cabin crew, and by causing less trips up and down for the trolley dollies, you’ll be more inclined to stay hydrated.
Hold out on the Sleep
If unable to sleep through a whole flight, then put the snooze off until the latter part. Eat a snack, have a drink, watch a film, or read a book or whatever, then when sleep comes it’ll be both heavier and longer (and through the part of the flight where the novelty has worn off.)
Use the Cushions
A few well placed cushions will make for a more comfortable flight. Lower back pain can be avoided or at least reduced when placed between the lower back and the seat, and a couple supporting your head and neck will promote better sleep. If you need extras, either ask the cabin crew or pick up a couple of spares on your trip back from the toilet.
Don’t Rush to Leave
When the Fasten Seatbelt sign goes out at the end of the flight, stay put. Remain seated and stay relaxed by leaving all the others to flap, rummage for bags and stand half bent over seats and squashed in the aisles. Even the last one off the plane will probably still beat the bags to the carousel.