Modern day tips for long-haul flights
In our last issue, we told you about the joys and culture of Sydney. But if the earth is a balanced place, with every action having an opposite and equal reaction, it makes sense that for every long-haul holiday...there’s a long-haul flight. As much as eager jetsetters can't wait to land in a far-flung place with an adventure ahead of them and their usual life far behind, it always means a lengthy flight that seemingly never… ever… ends.
While most in economy class may dread the cramped conditions, a neighbour with no sense of personal space or the woozy feeling upon landing, there are some small steps that can make the largest difference to comfort levels.
So to help, the Flexicover team has come up with some top tips to make long journeys fly by.
Whether it’s the relentless whirr of the engines or the general cabin hub-bub that disturbs, noise-cancelling headphones are a long-haul flyer's best friend. They may be expensive but are a great investment and with the flick of a switch, eliminate background cabin noise so you can catch on some much-needed sleep. Bose’s Quietcomfort 20 (£200) for example have extra over-ear cushioning to stay in place on even the longest flights and an adaptor to connect directly to in-flight entertainment. Plus with crisp, defined sound and reduced background noise, there’s no need to have the volume so high it damages your hearing.
Choose your seat wisely
The best seats in the house can vary by plane and carrier, so always consult SeatGuru for the exact configuration before a long-haul flight. There’s a science to seat-selecting that these websites take into account, with red and yellow warnings for sub-par seats. Before you choose think about your personal preferences too: for example, exit rows are great for extra leg-room but are also near the bathrooms. Couples could leave the middle seat between them, decreasing the likelihood of anyone taking it. Always pick as early as you can or failing that ask again at the gate as you could get switched to an empty row.
Prepare your own entertainment
With the majority of airlines boasting personal entertainment systems and a huge selection of movies on long-haul flights, boredom on-board may be rare in today’s world but it pays to be prepared. Before a flight, load up your devices - nothing passes the time like a series binge-watch. Ensure they're fully charged and set to a mode that conserves the battery - they’ll last longer plus your fellow passengers won’t thank you for a blindingly bright screen. Also, check if you’re flying on an airline that streams movies on its own app and if so download it before boarding. Meanwhile bookworms should invest in an e-reader with a soft brightness mode to save eye strain on long flights.
If you’re travelling long-haul, chances are you’ll be changing time zones. To conquer the imbalance in your circadian rhythm, use the flight to recalibrate your internal clock. As soon as you board, change your watch to the time at your destination and throughout the flight switch your resting and eating schedule to your new time zone. You can also plan your flights to avoid the worst side effects: flying west is generally worse, so it may help to build in an overnight stopover. The plane can also have an impact; carriers like Emirates employ ambient lighting to help passengers adjust and sleep is always easier on a quieter aircraft like a Boeing 757.
Expect to snack
No one looks forward to pre-packaged in-flight meals so be sure to bring plenty of snacks, especially when travelling on lesser-known airlines which might not make the culinary cut. Try to steer clear of carbs, as these will make you retain water leading to post-flight puffiness and uncomfortable bloating. Instead, choose a protein-based snack like almonds or an energy bar. When it comes to glasses of water, airlines can be less than generous but you’re well within your rights to ask for your water bottle to be refilled. Be sure to stay hydrated even if it’s at the expense of pestering your air hostess, as it will aid blood flow, prevent your muscles from getting stiff and rehydrate your skin.
Wherever you plan to head to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of cover to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.