Long-Haul Flights: How To Stay Comfortable (Even In Coach)

Let’s face it: flying isn’t always the most comfortable mode of travel. This is especially true when you’re flying economy class, where passengers are likely to be packed into the plane like sardines. The good news, however, is that there are plenty of simple yet effective steps you can take to make your next flight more comfortable—even if it’s a long-haul one.

Don’t Dress To Impress

Sure, nobody on your flight wants to see you in your pajamas. This doesn’t mean you can’t dress comfortably, however. You don’t have anybody to impress on the plane, so choose clothes that will be cozy for you to wear for hours-on-end in close quarters with other people. Temperatures can fluctuate greatly on planes, too, so it’s a good idea to layer up so you can add or remove layers to stay comfortable.

Pack Some Essentials

The air inside a plane can be dry and uncomfortable, leaving you prone to issues like dry skin, cracked lips, and irritated eyes while on a long flight. You can counteract these discomforts by packing your carry-on with a small kit of essentials, such as lip balm, lotion, and eye drops to use throughout your flight. This is also a great way to pamper yourself a little during a long flight!

Invest In A Quality Travel Pillow And Eye Mask

The right travel pillow and a quality eye mask can make all the difference between you getting restful sleep during your flight and barely sleeping a wink! Research travel pillows before your flight (avoid buying them at the airport, where they tend to be cheaply made and overpriced) and find one that’s right for your needs. An eye mask or sleep mask is highly recommended if you’ll be flying during daytime hours but want to catch some peaceful sleep as well.

Don Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones can also be a lifesaver while flying. You can use these to listen to calming white noise (which might help you sleep on a long flight), listen to your favorite music, or even watch a show/movie on your smartphone or tablet. No matter how you use them, noise-canceling headphones can help drown out those annoying sounds—like the passenger next to you coughing, the baby crying in the next row over or even that loud dog for those passengers traveling with pets.

When you have headphones on, people are also less likely to try to interact with you, so it’s a win-win if you really just want to be left alone.

Bring Healthy Snacks

While most long-haul flights will come with food and beverage service, you can never be sure of the quality or nutritional value of airline food. And when you eat poorly, you’re less likely to feel your best once you land. Consider bringing your own stash of healthy snacks that will help properly fuel your body and help you feel good. Just be sure to avoid any foods with a pungent odor, as nobody else in the cabin wants to smell what you’re eating; that’s basic airplane etiquette!

Splurge On In-Flight Wi-Fi

Most airlines these days offer in-flight Wi-Fi as an add-on, which you can either purchase ahead of time with your plane ticket or on the flight itself. Yes, the prices for airplane Wi-Fi can be a bit ridiculous—but if you have a long flight ahead of you, the cost may be more than worth it for you to enjoy the ability to browse the web, stream videos, check your e-mail, and play around on social media.

Pick Your Seat Carefully

If you’re flying an airline that allows you to choose your seat ahead of time, do so carefully. Take time to think about what you’ll want to be doing throughout most of your long-haul flight. For example, if you’d like to sleep for the majority of your flight, you may want to look for a window seat so you can avoid being disturbed as much as possible and have the wall of the plane to lean against.

If you’re more concerned about making sure you have restroom access, the ability to get up and stretch your legs, and the easiest access to service from your flight attendants, you may be better served by an aisle seat.

Stretch Before And After Your Flight

Taking the time to stretch both before your board the plane and after your flight can be a great way to “reset” your body and avoid some of the common aches and pains that come along with sitting in a confined space for so long. Sure, you might look a little odd stretching out at your gate, but who cares? Your comfort and well being are the priority here.

When stretching, focus on the legs and back. If you need circulation on your legs, make sure to pack some compression socks. Deep breathing exercises can also help to relieve tension and relax your body.

Embarking on a long-haul flight can wreak havoc on your body, especially if you’re flying economy class. However, with a little preparation and foresight, you can take steps to keep yourself as comfortable as possible. From there, you can arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever lies ahead!

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