Amy Newberry on how to survive long-haul flights

Frankly speaking, long-haul flights are abominable. Absolutely terrible.

It’s strange because I can happily sit and do nothing for ten hours straight at home. But then again, when I’m home, I’m in the comfort on my own room with unlimited food and bathroom breaks.

The worst thing is trying to sleep. When I was younger, I use to sleep on the floor between my parent’s legs – much to the cabin crews’ exasperation.

U n f o r t u n a t e l y, I can no longer do that, so I’m reduced to sleeping with my neck in awkward positions which results in awful spinal aches.

Of course, I have very little right to complain as my dad works as a pilot which means special treats in the form of cheaper tickets in business class.

But if you are plagued by back problems or are extremely tall (I’m the former, definitely not the latter), long-haul flights in economy class are not fun.

Although, I do think part of the discomfort is due to mentality – you think you’re going to have a bad time so you do to some extent. However, there are tips and methods you can employ to lessen the discomfort during long-haul flights.

First, wear loose and light clothing. Bring layers if you have to but wearing thin layers is the key. Why? Because it can get very stuffy on the airplane, especially if you’re all packed like sardines. And no one wants to sit next to someone who’s sweating profusely.

Secondly, use the objects around you. What I always do during longhaul flights in economy class, which doesn’t have footrests is use the storing pouch stuck on the seat in front of me.

I rest my legs on the opening ledge which for some reason, helps me to sleep better. You could also use your fold-down tray table as something to lay your head on as it can be difficult to place your head in a comfortable position when sleeping.

Thirdly, stay hydrated. You will wake up with a dry throat without a doubt. Get a bottle of water before you go to sleep. Airlines may also provide small tubes of moisturiser in spongebags or the bathroom – take advantage of them. If not, you are permitted to bring liquids under 100ml in your hand-luggage.

Fourthly, bring wet wipes and makeup removers as a substitute for a shower. Often I feel gross during a flight and wish I could have a shower, but a quick wipe down suffices. Also, I’m surprised by the amount of people that don’t bring a change of clothes. Although it’s extra to carry, it’s worth it.

And finally, treat the cabin crew with respect and kindness. This isn’t limited to long-haul flights but for all fliers in any class. The amount of people I’ve seen mistreat the staff is appalling.

For some reason, people think they can treat the crew like servants and honestly, it’s so frustrating. You don’t have to act like you’re visiting the Queen but a simple smile and ‘thank you’ will go miles.

And that’s it from me. The summer holidays aren’t that far away so I hope these tips will come into use. Have a great summer and happy flying!

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December 2021
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