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12 Essentials For Comfort On A Longhaul Flight

I was recently out for dinner with a friend who had never heard of Seat Guru. She was moaning about how many flights she needed to take to get from Melbourne to Cuba and wished she knew what seat to book on each plane.  I was incredulous that despite all her globetrotting she’d never stumbled across this incredibly useful website. Which means there’s no excuse for getting lumbered with a terrible seat by the loo or without a proper recline.

 
Flying medium to longhaul in economy is an uncomfortable experience. But there are some things to you can do and items to pack, which can make the journey easier. Firstly check whether you can prebook a specific seat. If you book through a travel agent, they may be able to request this. Certain levels of airline loyalty schemes entitle you to pre-book a seat.  Or you can pay extra to book a seat when you book your ticket.  The second step if you haven’t booked your seat, is to make sure you check-in online! Keep an eye on check-in, for some airlines it is 48 hours, for some it is 24 hours.  It’s worth staying up late to get that seat!
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Lower your expectations for every flight and then it can only get better. Assume everyone around you will be smelly, noisy and encroach on to your space.  Here’s what I pack in hand luggage to make my flight a better place:
 
    • Eye mask.  I steal as many Cathay Pacific soft business class ones from my husband as I can. Etsy are full of eye masks with clever slogans, including this one I’m buying for my dad!loading-eyemask
    • Flight Pillow.  The J-Pillow is the best travel pillow I have ever tested out. It is so comfortable and works well if you prefer to sleep on your side. Or particularly good when you have Mesdames Jetlag & Mayhem laying all over you and have to sit uncomfortably upright.  If you’re thinking about purchasing one, please consider buying through my affiliate link!

  • Comfy shoes.  Pick ones that are easy to take on and off for endless trips to the toilet (is that just me or does everyone feel constant need to visit loo in anticipation of seatbelt sign going back on?)
  • Flight socks. I just love ’em, especially the bright red Virgin ones! I put them on as soon as I get onboard.
  • One of my latest in-flight comfort discoveries, the Fly LegsUp Hammock.  This product really Is brilliant and enables you to squish yourself into your own ‘flat bed’.  Check the link for the full review. Bear in mind it will only work if you have a seat with a tray table in front of you.  If you’re looking for more tips on how to keep kids comfortable on a longhaul flight, here’s a post I wrote on the very lengthy subject!
  • Ear plugs. With the advent of quiet planes like the 787 Dreamliner, this means you can hear more rustling and general noise. I usually use the complimentary ones they dole out in the pack.  Halfway through the flight I have a panic that one has moved through my ear canal and towards my brain. Then I realise it’s in the crease of my neck!
  • Dettol wipes. There are so many germs on the plane it’s disgusting. Wipe down your tray table, seat and armrests as soon as you get on board.
  • Scented lip balm. This doubles up for me as an ‘air freshener’. If there are bad smells pervading through the cabin, I brush it across my nostrils and also my lips.
  • It’s important to stay hydrated throughout a flight and you may not get easy/fast access to water.  If you can, bring your own water bottle and fill it up just before you get on board (may be tricky for the US/Australia if there’s a secondary liquid check).
  • I have a large selection of ‘flying trousers’ aka colourful pants I wear onboard.  They are so comfortable and lucky enough they have been on trend over the past year.  I highly doubt I’m rocking the best looks in fashion but I refuse to go back to jeans!
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  • Pashmina/cardigan.  Plane temperatures fluctuate from desert hot to arctic cold. Keep snuggly with layers.
  • Pharmaceuticals… Not for everyone and speak to your doctor about any risks/concerns. I’m a nervous flier (surprisingly given the amount I fly). If I’m not with the kids, I usually take either valium for a day flight or an Ambien on an overnight flight. If I’m with the kids I usually just stick to wine 🙂

What are your tips for keeping comfortable on a longhaul flight? Or are you like Mr Jetlag who can fall asleep anywhere!

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1 comment

  1. Tamain Carling

    Also request a seat at the back section of the plane….9 times out of ten the back section is half empty and you can often get a while row to yourself. This has worked for me on about 70% of flights.

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