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Surprisingly Easy Tips to Make Your Long Flight Very Comfortable

Sailee Kale Sep 19, 2019
Anxious about taking that long distance flight? Here are a few proven tips on how to make your long flight comfortable.

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Whether it's for business, pleasure or going back home after a vacation, a long haul flight can put a damper on your travel plans. The whole idea of traveling for several hours at a stretch can be annoying. Even frequent air travelers who are constantly on the move are not immune to the negative effects of long distance flights, the worst being jet lag.
Flying across the Pacific or Atlantic in long haul flights can be truly tiresome for most, since a majority of travelers fly economy. The hours seem to stretch endlessly and the seats seem doubly cramped, and your limbs and neck may start to feel rigid.
You are just about to catch a few hours of fitful sleep, when suddenly to your chagrin, the cabin lights come on, announcing that meals will be served shortly. So to make your time more enjoyable and the travel more comfortable, follow the mentioned tips.

How to Make a Long Flight Comfortable

Selecting your Seats

Nowadays, almost all long haul flights offer the facility to select a seat in advance. Some airlines may charge you a fee for providing the service, so confirm it before you select the seat.

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✦ There is always the lure of a window seat, but if you need to go to the lavatory often, select an aisle seat. Going to the lavatory if you are in the window seat means disturbing two more passengers on your way out. Aisle seats can give you some room to stretch your legs once in a while, but look out for people on the move.
✦ Seats near the emergency exit and the bulkhead seats provide more leg room. Be wary of bulkhead seats, they are often used by passengers with babies, with a bassinet attached to the partition, and are not the best seats if you are looking for some peace and quiet!

If you haven't made the seat selection online, check in early to get the seats of your choice.

What to Pack

Pack your carry-on luggage wisely. Here are some hints about things that you may need during your journey.
✦ Carry a couple of pairs of extra clothes with you, check-in baggage is prone to getting lost.

✦ All your important documents (passports and travel-related papers) and valuables like camera, laptop must be a part of your carry-on luggage.
✦ Keep a stock of medicines with you, ideally, pain relievers, antacids, travel sickness pills, or any other medications you are advised to take on a regular basis.
✦ Barf bags are available on board, but as a precaution, carry plastic bags with you, if you are prone to travel sickness. Take your motion sickness medication before takeoff for best result.
✦ Keep a few magazines, books, and your iPod with you. Most airlines offer very good in-flight entertainment, but you may get bored with watching movies, and books and music can come to your rescue, especially if you are traveling alone.
✦ Airlines usually provide blankets and pillows, but keep a sweater or some warm clothing handy, in case it gets too cold. You can carry inflatable neck cushions, to prevent the neck from becoming too stiff.

✦ Carry an eye mask along, it will help you fall asleep faster even with lights on.
✦ You can pack your favorite snacks like granola bars if the flight meals don't appeal to you.

✦ Always keep lip balm and a small bottle of moisturizer in your bag. Cabin air is extremely dry, and your lips and skin can get chapped in no time.

Inside the Aircraft

The first few minutes may seem enjoyable, but boredom begins to kick in as soon as you finish your first in-flight meal. So how to make yourself comfortable and enjoy the flight?

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✦ Watch movies and play virtual games, listen to music; on-board entertainment facilities can keep you occupied for quite some time.
✦ If you are one of the lucky ones who can sleep comfortably in a flight, then catch some Z's. Placing a pillow between your lower back and the seat can offer a lot of comfort and reduce backache.
✦ Aircraft cabins are well pressurized, and the circulating air is very dry, so drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated. But avoid alcohol.

✦ Eat healthy snacks which are high in fiber.

✦ The constant drone of the engine can cause ringing of the ears, so put cotton balls in your ears or use travel ear plugs.
✦ Do not sit for long hours at a stretch. Be on the move. Take a walk down the aisle every now and then. This prevents deep vein thrombosis, popularly called economy class syndrome, wherein clots can form in your legs leading to considerable pain and swelling. To avoid this condition, during long air travel, wear loose-fitting clothing and shoes.
✦ Some people pop a sleeping pill so they can sleep well during travel. My advice, if you have never taken a sleeping pill before, DO NOT try it on a long distance flight. It can be very difficult to fight off the lethargy and drowsiness of a sleeping pill, and you may feel the lingering side effects even long after you have stepped down from the aircraft.
✦ Ascent and descent are usually known to cause popping ear pressure, which can be quite a pain. To ease the pressure buildup in your ears, keep moving your jaw to the left and right, or chew on gum which increases the saliva flow and makes you swallow, effectively opening up the Eustachian tube.

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Traveling with Kids

A long haul air journey can seem daunting for people traveling with children. Twelve hours or more of travel with a cranky infant is enough to give nightmares to parents. To avoid boredom, here's what you can do.
✦ Carry a good and interesting collection of lightweight books (puzzle books, sticker books, and coloring books are a good option) which will keep your child occupied for hours. Some airlines provide coloring books, crayons, and a soft toy for their young passengers.

✦ Keep barf bags handy. Unlike adults, children may not tell you they want to throw up!
✦ Airlines offer special meals for children, so make sure you opt for them. If you prefer your kid not to have aircraft food, carry enough snacks with you, (along with disposable spoons, plates, and enough napkins) keeping in mind factors like break journeys, airport delays, and food spillage.
✦ Carry small toys which are not too heavy or noisy but which will hold a child's interest for a long time. Avoid toys with numerous small parts, like jigsaw puzzles.

✦ Do not forget to bring medications like acetaminophen, and cough and cold syrups. Any prescription medications will require the prescription as well.
✦ Some parents suggest using cough and cold syrups just to lull children to sleep, but using any medicine will cause drowsiness in the child. It can sometimes backfire making the child highly strung and hyperactive, and under no circumstance, would you want an overactive toddler on a long distance flight!
✦ To minimize the discomfort of ear popping, use pacifiers for infants, and candies/chewing gums for older children. An easy way out is to ask children to keep sipping water which eliminates pressure build up during ascent and descent.

✦ Pack enough diapers, extra sets of clothes, warm clothing, blankets, towels, baby wipes, formula, etc., for long journeys.
✦ If you have an infant, reserve bulkhead seats. The bassinets provided can be a real boon once the baby sleeps. Put the sleeping baby in the bassinet to get some reprieve.

✦ Older children can occupy themselves by resorting to the flight entertainment that caters specifically to young travelers.

Jet Lag

Undoubtedly, the worst part of international air travel. Crossing several time zones in less than 24 hours can be strenuous for your body. It can cause tiredness.
The internal body clock takes time to adjust to the new time in the new environment, and this doesn't happen overnight. Typically, our body takes one day per time zone to adjust. Everyone has their own methods to beat jet lag.
✦ If you are traveling east, try going to bed and waking up earlier than you usually do, and if you are heading west, stay up a little longer, and sleep late than your regular timing.

✦ If you reach the destination during the day, do not sleep till its night. This will help your body adjust faster.
Long distance travel can prove debilitating for your body, and totally zap you of your energy levels. Taking appropriate measures to make the travel more comfortable and enjoyable can ease some of the discomfort.
Some people opt for break journeys, and don't mind the extra travel time, as it gives them a break from the long journey, whereas others prefer nonstop flights and want the journey to end soon! Whatever you prefer, get enough sleep prior to your departure day. Try these tips the next time, and be assured you will not alight the aircraft resembling a zombie!