Ok, maybe surviving your flight isn’t quite the right term. You have a 4’999’999 million in 5 million chance of doing that, after all. Nope, we mean turning what can be a stressful, sometimes traumatic time into something ‘as smooth and comfortable as possible’ (said in the dulcet tones of your pilot for this article). Achieve this flight based nirvana, and your holiday or business trip will benefit from your fresh, well rested self emerging from the cabin bleary eyed but on top form. Here’s how to achieve it; our 5 IDEAL tips for surviving long haul flights.
TACKLE JET LAG PROACTIVELY
Here’s something productive to focus on during your flight; hacking that inevitable jet lag of yours. Indeed, there are tricks that you could employ on long-haul flights to help you reduce jet lag on arrival at your destination. If you’re lucky, you might give it a swerve altogether.
Counterintuitively, considering there’s a big blue light emitting screen on the back of every darn seat, but countless studies suggest that avoiding this type of light can eliminate the effect of jet lag. If you have the willpower not to watch reruns of the Office for half a day in the air, then eye masks are a great tool in avoiding light; available from duty-free stores before you board.
When flying long distance, getting some much-needed rest is important if you’re to put your best foot forward and stride confidently straight into holiday fun off the flight. Catching some Zzzs on the flight, then, is essential. As well as that mask, some earplugs can help you shut off from everyone around you will help, as well as coordinated use of supplements such as melatonin, which helps you adjust to a new time zone succinctly.
TREAT YOURSELF WITH TIME
Though the question of when exactly to arrive prior to your flight seems to be almost tribalistic among frequent travellers, in our humble view, getting to the airport nice and early is a great way to ease into the journey. Give yourself time to grab something to eat, perhaps have a (yep, just one) beer, and don’t let that pace quicken above a canter. You don’t want to be boarding the plane flustered and sweaty, if you’re going to be in that mindset (and clothes) for the next however many hours.
The same goes for parking. The last thing you want to be doing when there’s a departure looming is to be searching for a parking space. Instead, try to arrange one in advance; most decent airports offer this service. Should you be parking at Newark airport, for instance, then you can secure a space at a reasonable price and take the stress off your journey.
GIVE YOURSELF SPACE
Oh, the joy of learning that the seat next to you is unoccupied as you prepare for takeoff. We’re buzzing just thinking about it. Sadly, this is a rare occurrence, so you need to do everything you can to make your little area of the plane as roomy as possible for the flight.
It’s a schoolboy error to place any carry-on bag under yours or the person in front’s seat. Doing so will take up that all important stretching out space. Instead of getting up more times than your neighbour will tolerate, just to grab something from the overhead locker, prepare a small waist bag and fill it with your essentials, like earphones, phone cable, wipes and an eye mask. Job done.
STRIKE THE RIGHT BALANCE, BOOZE WISE
The temptation of the Tanqueray trolley is so often impossible to resist – ‘just a couple of these and I’m set’. But overindulging on board can lead to some serious dehydration, with air conditioning blasting and the gin jacket warming you through. Even worse outcomes could be in store, so watch your consumption and don’t lose your head.
Indeed, for the aerophobic, it can be especially tempting to reach for the booze in the airport, pre-flight, to calm those nerves, but this can be problematic as counterintuitively it can lead to increased anxiety. What’s more, a low-pressure cabin and that dehydration we mentioned, particularly when drunk, which can lead to nausea and being even more fearful; a toxic mix, we think. Stick with water.
You’ve made it this far without losing anything – bravo! Now you have to negotiate the primary physical barrier to your excitement, before the metaphorical one spent in the air.
The security gate can give even the most law abiding citizen the heebie-jeebies, so it’s best to be prepared sartorially. We’ve all wondered whether or not we really have to remove our belt and watch, but more often than not, you do, so wearing trousers which don’t require being kept up is a good idea. Loads of fiddly bracelets and earrings which set off the alarms are also obviously a mistake. Shoes which slip off easily are big embarrassment savers; the last thing you want to be doing is bending down to untie shoelaces, queue at your rear, when you’re not wearing that belt.
And make sure you pack a comfy spare set of clothes for the flight itself, so you can really kick back and relax.
Want to go more in depth into getting your journey just right? Check out our 6 IDEAL inflight hacks to make your flight experience more comfortable over here. You can thank us when you land.