How to survive long flights

How to survive long flights

Long haul travel is a necessary evil for Australians. If you’re thinking of heading overseas, here are some handy tips to make your flight more enjoyable.

Take a second bag 

Feel like a jack-in-the-box getting things out of the overhead locker? Try packing the stuff that you’ll need during the flight into a smaller bag, which fits snuggly into your normal carry on baggage when you’re not on the plane, and store it under the seat in front of you. This is especially handy if you’re in a window seat.

Choose your seat wisely 

If you’re on an airline that lets you pick your seat, choose one that best suits your needs. If you’re a person who can’t sit still, choose an aisle seat so you can get up whenever you like. For those of us with long legs, a seat with extra legroom is essential. The additional cost of extra legroom may seem a lot, but it’ll be worth it.


With so much technology at our disposal these days, many of us don’t take the time to put pen to paper. It’ll help pass the time and give your eyes a rest from the TV screen. Have nothing to write about? Then why not try musing over what your holiday is going to be like, create fictional backstories for your fellow passengers, or write a better screenplay for Twilight (it shouldn’t be too hard).

Freshen up 

Before you arrive at your destination, take the time to freshen up a little. If the airline doesn’t provide you with toiletries, pack your own. Toothbrushes, toothpaste (less than 100ml), and moisturising cream to hydrate your skin are essential.

Upgrade the final leg 

This one isn’t possible for everyone, but if you have it in your budget then ask your travel agent about an upgraded seat for the final leg of your journey. You may need to make two separate bookings, but your aching bones will thank you in the long run. Depending who you fly, Premium Economy isn’t a huge extra expense.


Do you suffer from jet lag? The key is to not go to sleep as soon as you arrive. If your flight gets in at 8am, force yourself to stay awake for the whole day. It’ll be a long day, but it’s the easiest way to force you into the local sleeping pattern.

Drink plenty of water 

Since the humidity on a plane is low, except on some modern aircraft, it’s important for you to keep your body hydrated. Drink plenty of water, and try to steer clear of caffeinated drinks and alcohol, which will dehydrate you even further.

Buy noise cancelling headphones 

Buying your own headphones may seem like an unnecessary expense, especially if you’re unlikely to use them outside of air travel, but it will improve your in-flight experience immensely. They also double as great ear muffs to block out ambient noise when you’re trying to sleep.

Don’t assume the in-flight entertainment is good 

Most airlines have new or recent release movies available at the touch of a button, but when you’ve exhausted those options you might be left with little to watch. If you have an iPad or laptop, take some back-up movies to keep yourself entertained.

Take a neck pillow 

Neck pillows may seem daggy, but they’re great for economy class travel. Trying to sleep on planes that don’t have decent headrests can be a horrible. Just as you start to fall asleep, your head will flop and wake you up again. Steer clear of inflatable neck pillows, squishy beanbag ones are definitely the way to go.

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