Pinning down the actual definition of what a long haul flight is can be difficult. Some airlines define the difference between short, medium and long haul based on distance. While other airlines determine it based on the aircraft. However, I think most of us can agree to spend more than a couple of hours flying can get uncomfortable.
There are of course certain routes that you cannot avoid long haul flights if you choose to travel by air. Routes such as Australia to Europe or North America, or Europe to North America. While there is nothing that you can do about the seats. There might be a couple of things you can do to make the flight a little more bearable. Below is a couple of things I consider when travelling long distances.
The speed with which you seem to dehydrate when flying is the thing I dislike most. Ultimately the only way to avoid this to some degree is to keep up the fluid intake. However, there are often some objections around the idea of hydrating when flying.
Objection 1: Water Is Expensive At The Airport
The most common complaint many people make about drinking water on a flight is the price of buying it at the airport. Of course, the security restrictions stop you from taking a bottle of water with you. Leaving the only option to pay the premium price once you have passed through security. Even though I agree the price is often high, I put a much higher value on my health. If I have to pay $4 for a bottle of water I can buy anywhere else for $1; I will do it.
Objection 2: The Bathroom
Sometimes it is a case that you end up with a window seat, and it is too difficult to go to the bathroom. So the idea is to drink less water to save the trip. I don’t want to get into the details of it, but I book or request an aisle seat. That makes it easy for me to drink all I need and use the bathroom when I have to.
Objection 3: I’m Not Thirsty
I try and drink on a regular basis if I feel thirsty or not. I have heard it said that by the time you feel thirsty you are probably already slightly dehydrated. There is also the thought that often a feeling of hunger can be a need to drink. So consider having a drink before looking for another snack.
So that is the first thing I do is drink water and as much as I need. If you don’t want to pay the price for water at the airport, consider carrying an empty water bottle with you. Consider taking an empty bottle from the water you have purchased before. Even though I cannot see why it would not be allowed, at least if security say no, you have not lost anything valuable.
There is a fairly wide consensus that the seats in aircraft are not comfortable. Maybe the ones right up front in first class may be acceptable. But for most of us, we only get to look at those as we head towards the back of the plane.
There, unfortunately, is no ideal solution to magically make the seat more comfortable. However, some ideas might help just a little.
- A blow-up neck pillow. Easy enough to carry, just requires a little bit of air to blow it up.
- A foam neck pillow. You may need to find extra space to take this, but it can be a little more comfortable.
- Try rolling up a jacket to use as a pillow; this does work better if you are in the window seat.
- If it is the sitting part, consider getting a small foam cushion to bring along.
The good news is that unless you are travelling on a very frequent basis, you only spend so much time in the seat. Leading on to the next point.
From the very first long haul flight I took, I made a point to get up and move semi-regularly. Keeping yourself tucked into the seat for the whole flight will see you feeling it when you get up. You will take longer to get moving when you finally get up.
If the opportunity is available, I will get up and walk up and down the aisle, once or twice. I just try and avoid doing so around meal service times. If you are drinking water and need the bathroom, this does help get you moving. Plus where possible I request an aisle seat, this makes it easy to get up and move, even if just in the one spot.
No matter where I am flying, I always either wear a jacket or carry one with me. While you might be travelling between two hot climates, the temperature in the aircraft can be cooler.
Carrying a jacket if flying from a hot to cold climate can also save space in your luggage. To date, I have never been stopped from carrying my jacket in addition to my carry-on bag.
Survive The Long Haul To Enjoy The Destination
There you have it a couple of tips that I hope will help you on your next long haul flight. But even if that flight is still uncomfortable, just remember it is only for so long. Just sit there and think about your destination and not where you currently are. Getting your mind off the uncomfortable seat may help more than trying to make it something that it is not.