My Top 6 Tips to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

You have done weeks of research, your holiday is booked and your bags are packed but… you need to survive the hideously long plane flights.

I have been on flights for  13 hours and there is no way that is fun, but after years of long-haul flights from Australia to Europe I can share some of my best tips to survive and possibly even enjoy your flight.

Disclaimer – If you are flying first class or business class please don’t bother reading this article.  Enjoy your  champagne and silver service.  I hope the noise from Economy wont disturb your comfortable sleep.


Pashmina / Shawl / Large Scarf

This is my absolute must on any flight regardless of the time of year I fly.    A pashmina is an elegant fashion accessory but it has so many  more uses for a traveler.   It can be used as a blanket for additional warmth during the flight and I have on several long connections used mine as  a blanket whilst snoozing at an airport.    It can also be an additional pillow or to wrap around the airline pillow if you are concerned about the hygiene of pillows supplied.


Travel pillow / eye mask / ear plugs

Invest in a quality travel pillow.   I don’t recommend blow up pillows or those with polystyrene beans.    I have had my travel pillow for years and it has a pillow insert and washable cover.

Buy an eye mask before leaving as you cannot always hope for the airline to provide you with one.   It makes a big difference to your sleep quality and blocks out light as well.

Ear plugs or if you fly often then noise reducing earphones are a good investment .  Personally, I use the airline earphones and tune in to a classic radio station with the volume just loud enough to hear but still able to mute cabin noise. Using your own music on  your IPod or phone would be advantageous and you can program your preferred music.


Stay healthy

Dont get sick during the flight.

Airlines do not disinfect the planes in between flights and studies have shown that other than  toilets, the most bacteria you will contact on a plane is on the remote controls, tray table and magazines in your front pouch.

Since learning this a few years ago, I always wipe over the tray table and remote control with a disinfecting wipe or at the very least use the hot towel the cabin crew issue once boarded to wipe these areas.    Bring your own magazines!

I have tried unsuccessfully to find out if the blankets and pillows supplied by airlines are washed or disinfected in between flights.   I know they come in a plastic bag but how were they cleaned?   For this reason, I always use my pashmina as an adjunct to the airline blanket where it is near my face and place my own travel pillow above the airline’s one.    I may be a bit OCD but who wants to get sick on a holiday?

Tip 4


I am one of the fortunate few travelers who sleeps well during flights.   I try to book a late flight if there is a choice so that I am already tired on boarding and ready for sleep.

Comfortable clothing are essential and I  bring those in my carry-on luggage and change on the plane.     It can get very cold in the cabin during a long flight so something warm is important.

I choose to take a prescribed sleeping pill.   If you have never taken a sleep aid, please check with your doctor and try the pill out some time before you head off on holidays to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction.

When ready to doze off, on with blanket and pashmina, pillows, eye masks and soothing classic music from the headphones.

Tip 5

Stay hydrated

Air conditioning on the aircraft can dehydrate you very quickly so always have water on hand.   I bring a recyclable aluminium drink bottle and fill it up just before departing (many departure gates have a drink fountain prior to boarding) or I ask the cabin crew to fill it for me.

Reduce alcohol consumption or avoid it altogether.   I must admit to enjoying a gin and tonic and perhaps a glass of wine with my meal but keep my water handy at all times.

Your skin can dehydrate on the journey so I always take a small tube of moisturizer as well a lip balm.

Tip 6

Avoid DVT

Move around!   When convenient, walk around the aircraft and stretch your legs.    Please, though, do not do this just as the cabin crew start a meal service!!   I have been amused by  many stranded passengers who cannot access their seats as they have chosen to wonder around the aircraft at the most inconvenient times.    People watching on flights is an interesting pass time.

Exercise whilst in your seat with knee raises, rotating your ankles, bending a flexing your feet.


I hope some of these tips will help you on your next journey.   Try and enjoy your flight and not stress about the small things.

Flying Economy during a long flight is challenging but keep a positive outlook and be prepared.


Bon Voyage!