As a frequent flyer, I’m not new to the challenges of long haul flights. I have experienced running from airport to airport to catch my next connection, long delays, not being able to shower for a day or two and being stuck in a plane with cramped seat for long hours and wishing it will be over soon. There were days I wished I could have done or prepared things better so I could have had better flying experience. But it’s in the past now so all I can do right now is write about my past experience so you guys reading this can avoid making the same mistakes that I did (you’re welcome ;)). So here are 7 long haul flight tips for a better flying experience.
1. Wear skinny jeans
Please for the love of your legs, avoid wearing skinny jeans for your long haul flight. I made this mistake on my flight from Manila to Belize. It was a 42-hour grueling flight with 3 connections. I couldn’t feel my legs anymore when I arrived in Los Angeles from my connection from Tokyo. My legs felt so bloated that my jeans felt so unusually tight I couldn’t move my legs. I had to massage my legs for the entire duration of LA-Belize flight just to ensure my blood was circulating on my thighs and legs properly. And with you cramped up in a very small place, wearing tight jeans makes it worse.
So these days, I’d go for comfortable leggings or loose pants. I don’t wear shorts or skirt either on my flight because it tends to get really cold on the plane (or sometimes the country that you’re flying to).
Just like skinny jeans, if you love your legs, just avoid it. Aside from the fact that you will do a lot of walking on airports or running if you’re trying to catch your connecting flight, wearing high heeled shoes won’t help you either during an emergency. So throw on a comfortable pair of shoes before your legs hate you! And if you have compression socks, then bring them and your legs will thank you.
3. Not bringing toiletries and extra clothes
Make sure to pack a small size of toothpaste, a toothbrush, mouth wash, wet wipes or sanitizer. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than feeling dirty (or bad breathe) in all those flights. And try bringing face moisturizer as well because the dry temperature inside the cabin makes you look like you’re older than your age. Just make sure they are within the liquid limit you can bring on your carry on.
And bring extra clothes. I don’t think you will smell really bad after almost a day or two of traveling but it’s better to be safe than sorry. What if your seatmate accidentally spills the wine on you? Or worse the airline loses your luggage?
4. Not bringing a scarf
The thing about scarves is that it has lots of uses. You can use it as a shield from the cold for one. Although some airlines provide blankets, it is good to have extra protection just in case. Aside from that, airports are normally cold too and you can’t bring the blanket outside of the plane obviously. It can also be used as a fashion accessory, instant skirt or dress and if the provided pillow (or the lack their of), is not enough, then you can also use it to lay your head on. Or in my case to cover my face while sleeping because you’ll never know when you droll!
5. Wear jewelry
I learned this the hard way as well. If you are flying, make sure you don’t have many accessories or jewelry with you. Aside from the fact that it’s very inconvenient to take them off during security check or you might lose it accidentally while sleeping on the plane, it can also be a reason to have security personnel to tap you on places that they shouldn’t tap as well (tip: if ever you wear a necklace, turn your pendant around to your back so they won’t pat down on your chest)
I’ve seen people just throw away those biscuits after a meal. Which is a waste, first and foremost. And for someone who missed dinner once on a red-eye flight, I was thankful I didn’t throw the packs of biscuits/ cookies I had from previous meals. Why? Because it was a red-eye flight and everyone was sleeping to be bothered by my hungry stomach. Also, for someone who has a Masters in catching up flights, there are times that you can’t even stop to get food between connections. And those small cookies are what saved me before I could get my meal on my next plane.
7. Drink so much alcohol
I get it. Sometimes, when you’re stuck inside a plane and can’t sleep or simply bored, you resort to drinking. I must admit I’ve done it a couple of times. But drinking while you’re on air makes you drunk faster because of the lower pressure on the cabin. And we know that when we’re drunk, it affects our motor skills or even our decision-making skills.
Although I had a good time from my Bangkok-Addis Ababa flight with my seatmates and we drank 3 small bottles of wine each, I felt that I couldn’t make it anymore to my next flight to Cape Town afterward. I felt really sick because of the wine that I felt the entire floor was moving.