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13 Long Haul Flight Essentials

Over the past two months, I’ve clocked up two return longhaul flights (13 hrs) and I’m about to embark on a third.  I’m always back of the bus and have therefore semi-perfected the art of comfortable longhaul travel!  Contrary to my normal posts, these tips are geared more towards the adult flyer. That said, I’ve chucked in a few ideas that your kids might enjoy too.  What with all the penny pinching, you may find your amenity kit is now limited to some rubbish headphones.  Yes not even flight socks I hear you cry!  So best to be prepared and pack your must-haves in hand luggage.  If you’re on a generous airline that is handing out decent amenity kits, don’t forget to take all the bits home with you. You may need those flight socks onboard another airline.

photo of eye mask

  • Sport layers. I don’t know if you’ve taken a British Airways longhaul flight recently but they do like to keep the cabin at arctic temperatures. I make sure we all have t-shirts, comfortable trousers and hooded jumpers.  For kids, you may even want to bring an extra cosy blanket.  For babies, a handy one is the Morrck travel wrap, which has holes for the seatbelt harness.
  • Have a smaller bag within your hand luggage.  In this, put your flight essentials (i.e. things on this list). That way when you get onboard, you don’t have to faff around with deciding what stays and what is put overhead. You can keep this smaller bag/pouch under your seat or in seat back pocket.
  • Bring your own headphones. Gone are the days when the plane’s headphone jack is different to yours. I’ve got some comfortable over the head Sony headphones that I LOVE. They were excellent on my recent flight back from London to Singapore. And one more tip, don’t leave them on the plane. Which is what I did on my last flight, dammit!
  • Pack your own eyemask. I squirrel away all the business class ones that my husband gets.  Or you can purchase a funky one and they make great presents. I bought the one seen above from Typo in Singapore.
  • Now Jetlag & Mayhem (ages 10 & 7) don’t require as much looking after, I bring ear plugs.  I know people like to avoid babies on longhaul flights but let me tell you, there are far more annoying passengers.  I use these to drown out the snores, noises of tablets and people who like shouting.
  • Bring lipsalve/chapstick. My lips dry out massively up in the air. If you bring a scented one, it can also double as an air freshener. I’ve been known to rub my nostrils with a sweet smelling salve, when sat next to a smelly passenger.
  • A decent neck pillow can make or break your journey. You’ll know I favour the J-Pillow but it’s not for everyone.  We picked up these cuties from Ho Chi Minh Airport after our flight was delayed by 8 hours and we had to sleep on a chair.
    photo of eye mask and pillow
  • Flight socks are your friends on a cold longhaul flight. If you haven’t got in stock from the good old days, when they used to hand them out, buy some comfy ones.
  • Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off. I can’t stress this enough when it comes to kids too!  You don’t want to be padding down to the toilet in your flight socks (see above) as you’re likely to stand in wee. Always wear your shoes.
  • Order your meal in advance for a more varied selection and to get your meal delivered first! Don’t forget to order the kids meal (I was pleasantly surprised by BA’s latest offering). I sometimes get the Hindu veg meal as it’s delicious.
  • If you don’t like plane food, pack snacks.  Some airlines offer a decent inflight selection of snacks in economy but it’s good to have your favourites in your hand luggage.  Where you can, buy at the supermarket rather than overpriced in the airport. If I’m being healthy I’ll bring popcorn and dried fruit. Other than that, it’s crisps all the way!  My friend James once told me that calories don’t count on a travel day, which is a rule I abide by!
  • Bring your phone charger.  Most seats on a longhaul jet will have charging points.  This is especially important if you are traveling with kids and need to make sure their tablets are fully charged!
    photo of iphone charger A380
  • For the long haired ladies, have a hair tie on hand.  Sounds silly but I’ve been caught short in the past and had to use the band from my eye-mask.
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