Long-haul flights can be frustrating.
The destination usually makes it worth it (if you’re travelling for pleasure, anyway), but until you get there, you’ve got to deal with having a tiny amount of space, and surrounded by hundreds of other people for hours.
If you’re living with a medical condition, it can be even more difficult.
So we’ve put together a list of things you need, to help you make it through the trip without you getting too annoyed with the person sitting next to you.
These are all things designed to keep you comfortable, safe, and entertained for the duration of your flight.
Don’t worry about looking your best for a flight. Nobody really cares.
Focus on being comfortable.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can get away with your pyjamas. But a shirt and tie should definitely not be considered.
Slip-on shoes and compression socks are also a great idea, helping prevent deep vein thrombosis. As well as this, your feet tend to swell a little at a high altitude, so lots of people like to take off their shoes on a plane.
This will also make it easier to get through security.
A light jacket is always preferable to a big coat. But think about what the weather will be like in your destination.
Other than that, a hoody is another good suggestion. You can wear it, sit it comfortably in your lap, and easily stow it away in your carry-on luggage.
Long-haul flights typically include one or two meals. Unless you’re flying with a budget airline, this shouldn’t cost you anything extra.
But airplane food isn’t known for it’s high-standard. And they might not have something you like.
There’s not much you can do about this. It’s not as if you can bring a frozen lasagne, and ask the flight crew to pop it in the microwave for you.
But you can bring yourself some snacks.
Unfortunately, security might not let you through with food – depending on what it is – but there are always shops you can pop into once you’re in the main part of the terminal.
Be aware, however, that you might need to consume all your snacks before you land. Certain countries have restrictions on what types of food you can bring through immigration.
In-flight entertainment has come a long way. But it’s still not perfect, especially if you’re not flying on a more premium airline.
It’s best to bring a few things along to keep you busy.
Books are an obvious choice. And with the invention of the Kindle, and other eBook devices, you can bring as many as you want without taking up too much space.
You might also want to bring another form of tablet – such as an iPad – which can be stocked with your favourite movies, TV shows, and even music.
If you’re typically disappointed with the in-flight movies made available, this is definitely something worth considering.
You might be lucky enough to be someone who can fall asleep on a flight – and stay like that for the entire trip.
Most of us aren’t like that, and need all the help we can get.
Ear plugs and an eye mask are the perfect items to have. Especially if you’re flying during daylight hours.
Not only does the light make it difficult to get some rest. People are normally a bit noisier at this time – so the ear plugs really come in handy.
Even if it only allows you to get a couple of hours of sleep – on a 12-hour flight, anything to make the trip go a little quicker is appreciated.
Now, you don’t need us to remind you that any medication you might need to take during your flight should be included in your hand luggage.
But we will advise that you keep it as close to you as possible. Either in a pocket, or tucked into the back of the seat in front.
If you need to take your medication, the last thing you want is to see the ‘seatbelt’ sign light up.
The person sat next to you, blocking your way to the aisle, could also be asleep. Avoid an awkward conversation by keeping your medication within arm’s reach at all times.
This isn’t something people normally think about.
But if hundreds of people are spending 12+ hours crammed into a small space together – there are definitely some hygiene issues.
You can avoid this by packing a couple of things in your hand luggage.
Deodorant is a good idea. Obviously you don’t want to annoy people by spraying excessive amounts every hour – but roll-on deodorant is more than acceptable.
Some people even like to take a toothbrush, and brush their teeth. On a long-flight, anything that can help you feel a little more human is welcome.
Many airlines will now allow you to book a specific seat on your flight, weeks or even months in advance. This normally requires you to pay a fee (~£40-£50), however.
Alternatively, many let you check-in to your flight online, 24 hours before departure is scheduled – and you can normally select a seat free of charge (although there might be fewer options by that point).
This is your chance to select a seat that’s right for you.
Some people prefer a window seat, whilst others prefer the aisle. Some people like to sit to the side, and other in the middle column.
If you’re lucky, you might even be able to swing a seat with extra legroom! But in all likelihood, you’ll have to pay for this privilege.
Either way – sitting in your preferred seat can make all the difference on a long-haul flight.
So it’s a good idea to be prepared, we reckon.
If you’ve got a flight coming up, it’s best to start preparing yourself now. Get some comfortable clothes ready, something to keep you entertained.
And, of course, make sure any medical condition you have is covered by your travel insurance policy.