Tired blonde casual caucasian lady napping on uncomfortable seat while traveling by airplane. Commercial transportation by planes.

My Dad’s been a regular jet-setter for years and he’s not stopped in the years since he retired! It seems like he’s always off on an exciting trip somewhere, so he knows a thing or two about being well prepared for flying. Many years ago, he shared his long haul flight tips with me, and I’ve used them for decades now to make sure I’m prepared to survive every long haul flight I take.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Find out more here.

Be sure to click on the image below to save these long haul flight tips to Pinterest for later.

Long Haul Flight Tips

Long haul flights can be exhausting! The best way to survive your trip is to prepare well and to have the right things with you. Here are some tried and true tips to make every flight you take more comfortable.

1. Don’t assume that cheaper equals better

It’s so tempting to snap up budget flights, but I’ve learned the hard way that you need to check the fine print! Cheap flights can mean cramped seats and exhausting layovers in bad airports. Ugh! I’ve reached the age now when I’d much rather pay a little bit more for the sake of arriving at my destination unknackered (is that even a word? You get the general idea though).

2. Snag an upgrade

On most airlines, the step up from economy to Premium Economy/Business class brings a huge amount of extra comfort in the shape of extra legroom and wider seats. Paying for an upgrade or using up frequent flyer miles is your only way to guarantee the seat you want.

But, you might be able to snag an upgrade at the airport if you’re lucky – and you dress smart. 12+ hours in a comfy seat with room to stretch is a whole lot better than 12 hours in a cattle class seat.

SEE ALSO: How to get flight upgrades plus what NOT to do!

3. Prebook an aisle seat

There’s a whole bunch of reasons why an aisle seat is the best seat on a long haul flight (in fact on any flight…).

I had a middle seat nightmare when flying home from Australia, many years ago. Needing to visit the loo after a long snooze, I gently tapped the shoulder of the elderly gent in the aisle seat next to me, asking him to let me pass by. That’s when I realised he wasn’t sleeping – sadly he had passed away while I slept!!!

I’ve also reached the age where I get seriously uncomfortable if I sit for an extended time, so I have to get up and walk around (and visit the loo) quite often. It’s one of the joys of travelling during the menopause.

Pretty irritating for other people if they have to keep moving for me! Aisle seats also put you in ‘pole position’ to grab your bags and make a quick exit when you land. Essential if you’re travelling for business.

Middle seats always seem smaller than window or aisle ones. Maybe it’s because you’re hemmed in on both sides by other passengers’ elbows? They are definitely the least desirable seat option. I’ve even been stuck in a middle seat next to a mum with a huge lap baby who thought it was OK to change the baby’s nappy (diaper) in the seat instead of the loo.

4. Prepare for smelly fellow travellers!

Most travellers feel less than fresh by the end of a long haul flight, but what do you do with someone who’s more than a bit whiffy when they board the plane? It’s no joke to sit next to a passenger with appalling body odour or someone who takes off their shoes and has stinky feet. I’ve found that regularly applying hand sanitiser does help to reduce the pong and Vicks vapour rub is a great last resort…

5. Grab a blanket and pillow as soon as you’re seated

Most airlines provide blankets and pillows, but yours could get snaffled by other passengers if you don’t lay claim to them straight away, especially if you’re playing with the hell that is cattle class. I’ve been there and it is hellish. Memory foam travel pillows are great, but if you’re travelling light, they take up a lot of space!

6. Pack the right stuff in your cabin bag

Stashing the right kit in your carry-on bag makes all the difference to how comfortable your flight is. You’ll want plenty to read/watch, comfy spare clothes and nutritious snacks. Don’t forget to charge up all your tech so it will last throughout the flight, and pack something to freshen up with.

SEE ALSO: What I can’t travel without taking in my cabin bag

7. Have one glass of fizz then drink lots of water

Dehydration is a major issue on long-haul flights, so look after your body and drink lots of water. It doesn’t hurt to have one cheeky glass of fizz, but don’t drink your own body weight in alcohol if you want to feel human when you arrive. Remember too that you’ll feel the effects of an alcoholic drink far more in the air than on the ground, due to reduced oxygen availability.

8. Arrive in the morning and stay awake

The best way to avoid jet lag is to book a flight that arrives in the morning, wherever you’re going. When you arrive, keep going all day, take a long hot bath and then get a good sleep that night. Your circadian rhythm (internal body clock) will return to normal faster if you manage to stay up all day on arrival. You might still feel less than optimal for a good few days when you arrive though.

Love It? Pin It!

If you like this post with long haul flight tips, do follow Grey Globetrotters on Pinterest. It’s where we’ll be sharing all of our travel tips!

All the best long haul flight tips

Do you love to fly to new destinations? What are your best long haul flight tips? And horror stories – I’d love to read them all in the comments below.

About Author

Coralie is a Brit living in North Yorkshire. When she's not writing, she's either out exploring, planning a new trip, tasting street food or relaxing with a cold G&T. With 40+ years of adventurous travel to almost 40 countries (so far), she knows there's still much to see and remains an adventure-seeker at heart. Follow her on social media and keep up with her adventures and awesome travel tips.

You might also enjoy:

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.