Long haul flights – how do you prepare for being onboard?

For the past few weeks I have been making the final arrangements for a forthcoming trip to Thailand. First to Bangkok courtesy of Jet Airways on a 16-hour flight from London. Then on to Koh Samui – a further 10-12 hours by train and ferry which was organised through Thailand Train Ticket.

Now that the finer details are planned such as our itinerary for the two week break, we are on to more pressing issues. How to survive the gruelling flight with a 32″ seat pitch. Unfortunately we are sitting in economy seats all the way – usually not a problem. But, since the booking was made, I have suffered a knee injury, my boyfriend has managed a back injury and we are getting more concerned about managing comfortably whilst on board.

The key issue right now and something that I am sure other long-haul travellers experience, is what are the best ways to travel in comfort? I gathered a few suggestions to compile the list below.

  • Dress comfortably

It’s not a fashion parade. Personally when boarding a flight, wearing anything ‘trendy’ does not occur to me. Comfort over fashion is always the winner. Jogging bottoms or leggings, a jumper (it’s typically a lot colder once you’re in the skies) and trainers that are easy to slip off tend to be winners.

  • Keep hydrated

Whether you prefer to have hot drinks, water and preferably little or no alcohol, aim to keep hydrated. Many airlines will supply drinking water upon request and on a long haul flight, there should be the provision of hot drinks. Caffeine might prevent you from sleeping but any water intake will help to minimise the chance of headaches and your time to overcome jetlag.

  • Don’t stay seated – move around

Staying seated for several hours is uncomfortable at the best of times, let alone for several hours with no respite from the seated position. To avoid achy joints and muscle tension, be sure to leave your seat as often as possible, even if only to stand in an aisle and stretch your legs. Not only this but you are at a higher risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) when flying, so moving your muscles will help. However, please be respectful of space and privacy of those around you!

  • Prepare to sleep

If you have a long or overnight flight then make preparations for sleep. Whether you need an eye-mask, travel pillow, ear plugs or a book to help you doze off, make sure that you pack it into your hand luggage and have it to hand when necessary. I prefer to drink peppermint tea before bed, so I tend to keep tea bags on me. It is then easy enough to ask for hot water and try to capture a little bit of home :-). If you’re comfortable then it is much more likely that you will rest for the flight and be in a much better mood once you land.

  • Take boiled sweets on-board for take-off and landing

I always suffer with a headache and the pain of my ears popping upon take-off and landing. This only seems to clear if I have water or boiled sweets, so if you suffer with this as I do then be sure to take sweets on board with you and water (if possible).Do you have any other tips to share for preparing for a flight/ being on board?

2 thoughts on “Long haul flights – how do you prepare for being onboard?”

  1. I use chewing gum for the airpressure changes. Agree with the tip regarding the coldness of the plane.

    Ginger is supposed to be good for travellers, so I try to seek out ginger ale in the airport.

    Reading material is also important – as is stuff to listen to, I stock up on podcasts.


    1. I haven’t heard of trying ginger before but sounds like a great tip (plus I love Ginger Ale). Will have to buy a couple of cans for the return flight from Thailand – thanks for reading 🙂


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