Vacation time is travel time – it is more than normal to be looking forward to the trip before it actually happens. Once you have decided on a long-distance trip, the first step is to get the flight behind you. An uncomfortable middle seat on the plane, loud fellow passengers and last but not least jetlag can easily lead to an unpleasant start of the vacation. This is particularly annoying because important vacation days are lost this way. But as a flight traveler you have a variety of options so that this does not happen to you and your journey begins relaxing at the airport. In the following we present you valuable long-haul flight tips for a comfortable flight. With the right preparation, packing list and practical tips, the time on board will literally fly by.
Preparation: Booking and other online-services
Every flight begins with the ticket purchase. Depending on how important your space and board service is to you, the choice of airline can be particularly important.
Travelers who appreciate a lot of legroom should make sure to reserve a seat well in advance. Please note that regular seats can usually only be reserved for a few weeks in advance. If you opt for the free seat selection, this offer is usually only available to you one or two days before the flight. If you want to bypass the central square, it is highly recommended that you do not first choose a spot at the airport. It is very likely that there will be hardly any aisle spaces available at this advanced point in time. You have a lot of legroom or space for small children in the front row and in front of the emergency exits. If you definitely want to get hold of one of these spots, then it is worth taking a look at the airline’s guidelines. For some, these comfortable seats can be reserved in advance at the time of booking; for others, it is necessary to contact customer service by phone or to register at the check-in counter.
If you want a specific diet, such as vegetarian or gluten-free, you have to pre-book it.
If you don´t like long flights you can opt for a stopover flight instead of a direct flight. During the stopovers, you can stretch your feet at the airport or even outside. Depending on how much time you have at the stops, you may be able to explore another destination.
On the day of your trip, you save valuable time at the airport if you have checked in online beforehand. Especially when you are abroad without a printer, almost all airlines now have their own app with which you can show your mobile boarding card on your mobile phone. Whether online or regular check-in, you should make sure that you are at the airport in time.
Packing your bags: this is what belongs in your hand luggage
In contrast to a short flight, on a long-haul flight it is really annoying when you accidentally packed important items in your suitcase instead of your hand luggage. A packing list helps to not forget anything.
Not only older passengers are exposed to the risk of thrombosis during long times without movement. To avoid blood clots in the leg, it is worthwhile for many to keep compression stockings in hand luggage. In addition, everyone should make sure to move a little before and during the flight.
You can store liquids up to a maximum of 100 ml in a 1 liter bag in your hand luggage. Use this opportunity to take moisturizer and toothpaste with you. The cream will definitely pay off, as the air dries out your skin. A short face wash with a towel you have brought with you and then brushing your teeth can make the difference!
More items related to sleeping and entertainment can be useful. We will list them in the following.
In any case, remember to have important entry documents such as a visa or vaccination certificate with you in your hand luggage. After landing, you have to go through immigration before you can get your suitcase back.
The right clothes can also be essential for a comfortable flight. Even if you are traveling to a warm destination, you should opt for long clothing during the flight. Despite the airline blanket, it is relatively cold on board, especially at night. With the air conditioning system in full swing, these are the perfect conditions for a cold. Long pants and a scarf can prevent flu. It is especially cozy when you take off your shoes at night. Since the feet are particularly sensitive to the cold, it is advisable to take several socks/wool socks with you.
Sleeping during a long flight
The best way to sleep is to choose a night flight. Most passengers find the window seat to be the most comfortable because it offers the possibility to lean against the window. A neck pillow or small pillow makes it particularly cozy. Others prefer a light sleeping pill.
Usually a blanket and sleeping mask are waiting for you in your seat. If you do not have a night flight, the airline may not provide you with such. If you still want to sleep, pack a headband or sleeping mask. To suppress the noise, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones can help.
Getting used to the time at your holiday location early can prevent jet lag. So if you know that you will arrive at the holiday destination in the evening, do not sleep too much on the plane, as this means that you can no longer fall asleep at your destination.
Entertainment during a long flight: This is how you won´t get bored
On most routes, the airlines have screens with a wide range of films, series and music. With older machines, however, it can also happen that not every passenger has their own screen, but that several screens are installed in the aisle for all passengers. A look at the airline’s website provides information about the equipment of your aircraft.
So far, only a few airlines offer WiFi above the clouds, which is why it is best to look around for alternatives. In addition to magazines or newspapers, which are often available free of charge on long-haul flights at the gate or in the plane, many include electronic entertainment. Download e-books or films to your laptop, tablet or e-book reader beforehand and then use your files offline during the flight. Books and often music can also be used without a network anyway. Think of your USB charging cable to charge it on your board computer via USB.
Further tips for long flights
In order not to arrive at the holiday destination with a headache, drinking enough water is essential during long-haul flights. Due to the constant air conditioning and heating, water is drained from the body much faster than on the ground. But the cups on the plane are usually much too small to still your thirst and many find it uncomfortable to constantly ask the cabin crew for water. Therefore it is worthwhile to take an empty plastic bottle with you in your hand luggage, as it easily passes through the security check. Fill up your water bottle at the airport, so you have at least one supply on the plane. In addition, most airlines provide a water station at the very front, in the middle or in the back, which passengers can use. Ask your cabin crew about it or keep an eye out for yourself.
There are also a number of things to consider when eating. Even if you don’t feel like it, you should grab some food during the flight. This is the only way for your body to recover from the flight trauma and you will arrive at the holiday destination in good shape. Since healthy snacks or fresh fruit are in short supply, it makes sense to pack them. If you are flying back from a non-EU country, please note the possible restrictions of fresh products. It is best to avoid food that is hard on your stomach before the flight.
Flight delay or cancelation? – what if something goes wrong?
No matter how well you prepare yourself for the upcoming flight, sometimes it happens that failed technology, weather, or other circumstances lead to a delay or flight cancellation. If you miss your connecting flight due to a flight delay or if you have to book a new flight yourself because of a flight cancellation, it will be a very expensive holiday. In the event of a delayed flight or a canceled flight, many complain to the airline, but accept it if the airline rejects their right to reimbursement.
Regardless of the price of your booking, you are entitled to compensation of up to € 600 in the event of a flight delay of at least three hours, cancellation, or a missed connecting flight. This right is based on the European passenger regulation for a long-haul flight, depending on the reason for the delay. Captain Frank helps you to successfully enforce your right with the airline.