Tips for Long Haul Flights survival

Having flown quite a lot in the past I kind of find myself thinking, “I can write something about that, I must have some knowledge to pass on to others.” So here my “Tips for Long Haul Flights”

I am not the biggest fan of flying (well taking off and landing to be more precise) but I look upon flying only as a means of getting somewhere quickly. So here are my top tips for flying in comfort.

1. Dont always buy the cheapest tickets.
You always get what you pay for in this life and paying peanuts for a long haul flight is not a wise idea. Unless you know the airline you are looking to buy cheap tickets from. Then think before you buy, “Why are these tickets so cheap?” “What kind of seat am I going to get?” “What kind of plane will I be flying on?” “How many seats does this plane have?” And “is there a stop over, where is it and how long is it for?”

These are all questions you should ask before you commit your hard-earned cash for a cheap seat. Its all right paying next to nothing for a seat on the plane but if that seat is going to cripple you for the entire time your sat in it, then not much point. Remember that not all airlines cater for the Westernized chunky butt!

So one of the other reasons the ticket might be cheap is there is a stop over. An example of this, last time I flew to Japan we got a price for Turkish Airlines, who where nearly 100 pounds cheaper than anyone else. However there was a 2-day stop over in Istanbul on the way there and on the way back. So not exactly a bargain if you loose 4 days of your holiday and have to pay for hotels.

2. Once booked, Check the Tickets and check them again.
When you have your flight details and tickets check them with a fine tooth comb, nothing spoils a holiday as much as finding out you and your wife are going on the same flight but your booked on separate flights on the way home, Don’t scoff I have had it happen. I was due to return to Manchester and my wife’s tickets where return to London!

3. Arrive in plenty of time.
When leaving for the airport do it with plenty of time to spare. If you’re early then you can be first in line, but if you’re late then you might miss your flight and at best get the worst seats. There is an ulterior motive to arriving early and that’s first come first serve. I have arrived for an adjoining flight with 6 hours wait in between flights and having gone straight to the Ticket Clerk and managed to get an upgrade to business class as I was one of the first to check in. So sometimes it pays to be early.

Another reason for arriving early is shopping but that’s another subject 🙂

4. Are you nervous?
If you’re a nervous passenger, Like me, then preparation is everything. Maybe nothing to eat for the day before is a good idea or at least some good diarrhoea tablets! Or maybe smoking a full packet of ciggies before you get on the plane is another, you will stink though. Seriously though, if you are nervous then you have to find what is best for you to calm you down. Getting drunk is not a good idea and neither is taking certain drugs as they can have the adverse effects. Paranioa! or you might even get stopped because the drug dogs have smelt something on your luggage. (This happened last time I went to Japan via a stop over for 8 hours in Amsterdam, get the picture!?).

Having to much to drink is one of the most stupid things to do on a long haul flight although it may help you sleep but it will dehydrate you and also lower your blood pressure. If this happens it can make you more susceptible to things like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). This is when you get a blood clot inside your body, coupled with the constant sitting can be fatal. You must have heard of horror stories of people getting off a plane a dropping dead within minutes. This is what happens with DVT. It’s a killer and the sooner airlines recognise this the better.

Some of the Japanese airlines are taking this so seriously, there is a big thing about DVT in Japan at the moment, that the airlines are supplying instructions on how to prevent DVT with your airline tickets. They are even informing men and women to wear tight fitting surgical stocking on your legs for the duration of the flight to keep the blood from collecting in the legs.

I am not saying alcohol causes DVT bit it can attribute to it because of dehydration. Which is another reason not to drink alcohol on a long haul flight!

5. Drink loads of fluids (not alcohol).
Its important to drink loads whilst on a long flight as its very easy to get dehydrated as first and foremost the strain on the body during a long flight is quite high, plus the air in the cabin is quite dry as its constantly recycled.

6. Walk around.
Get up and walk around as often as possible. If you can that is! If you’re not penned in by other people then you should get up and walk around for an extended period. The stewardesses might give you grief if their serving food but a complaint about stiff legs will usually stop them.

Its important to stretch occasionally as it can help circulation (DVT again) but it also stops you getting stiff (Stop it!) I mean stops your muscles aching!! Plus it will help you relax if you can get up and walk around for 5-10 minutes.

7. Take something to do.
Take something to keep your mind occupied. If your like me and can’t sleep on the plane then you need to take something to keep your brain occupied. This ideally should be something that is small and can be stored in the pocket in front of you. Something like as paperback book or a Gameboy(or similar), (this is not always a good choice as you can’t always use it in certain light conditions and some stewardesses are real Nazis about electrical equipment).

A book is usually a good idea, but choose something that is interesting to you and won’t distress you, Its no good taking the “Worlds 101 worst plane disasters”, with you as this is not exactly ideal reading material.

Taking a Walkman with you can sometimes be a bad idea as well, especially if your flight is a night flight. Your fellow passengers will not appreciate the noise from your Walkman if they are trying to sleep. Also some airlines will now not allow you to use them as they claim they disturb fellow passengers.

Another thing that is a bad idea to take if you have one is a laptop. Imagine how distressed it would be to you if the batteries on a fellow passengers laptop where running out and the laptop started beeping loudly.

8. Wear loose clothing.
Wear something that suits the flight (If you don’t know if it’s a night or day flight then ask) by this I mean if the majority of the flight going to be in the dark or light? If its going to be night then wear something warm and vice versa. Remember on a night flight the temperature on the place can be lower as the temperature outside is lower. It can be -60 C!

Also on the subject of clothing wear natural fabrics as man made materials might make you sweat in places you really don’t want to. They will also make you feel and smell bad as they don’t allow your skin to breathe properly.

9. Ask.
If you need something ask! Don’t wait for the stewardess to come to you, either press the button or get up and go and ask. You’ll usually find the stewardess more receptive if you go to them. If anything it’s a chance to get up for a walk about and you might even get to have a decent chat with the stewardesses. However by the same token don’t keep pressing the call button every 5 minutes.

10. Dont be an idiot.
I say this as a friend of mine was on a flight back from the US and there was a man and his wife on the plane who where fighting. Unfortunately this was about 30 minutes after they had taken off and the pilot just diverted the plane to the nearest airport where they where ejected from the plane then arrested. It added extra time to my friends journey and the couple got the chance to stay in the US for a few extra days courtesy of the US police. This is especially not a good idea in the current climate, as any such behaviour will not be accepted.

Well that’s enough my brain hurts, my fingers are sore, have a nice flight, have a safe flight and most of all enjoy your flight. Hope you have enjoyed my Tips for long haul flights.

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