How to survive a long haul flight

We all want to start our holidays feeling our best. We want to arrive at our destination ready to explore, relax and to make the most of our time away. For many people a long haul flight can be a difficult experience and will leave you feeling dirty, tired and stressed. Here you will find tips and advice on how to feel great, after a 6 to 12 hour flight.


Have a plan

Based on the length of your flight you can create a plan organising your onboard activities, like watching films, reading a book or magazine, sleeping, walking around the plane and doing puzzles. Changing the activities throughout the flight will help the time to pass without becoming bored.

*Top Tip: Check the in-flight media packages online, in advance. If there is nothing of interest, download a few films or tv shows to your tablet or phone.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water 24 hours prior to the flight, in the airport and on board. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they cause dehydration, which leads to tiredness, dry skin and headaches.

*Top Tip: Take an empty bottle in your hand luggage and fill up at a water fountain in the airport, after security.


Be comfortable

The runway is not a fashion show. The flight experience will be enjoyed most when you are comfortable. Comfort can be found in wearing loose fitting clothing and being able to modify your outfit depending on the temperature. Wearing layers will help to stay warm or to cool down. Keep warm by wearing sweatpants, a hoodie and thick sock.. Wearing these bulky items also means more room in your suitcase.

*Top Tip: If you have space in your hand luggage, bring a fleece blanket or pashmina as plane blankets are often full of germs.


The night before your flight, sleep less than usual as this will encourage the body to sleep during the flight. Also, if possible schedule a night flight as this will be less disruptive to your natural sleeping habits. Avoid the surrounding light and sounds with an eye mask to simulate night-time and headphones playing white noise to block out the chatty passengers.  

*Top Tip: Wear your neck pillow around the front so that when you naturally flop forward your head will be supported.


Avoid the dreaded ‘airplane cold’

The germs that can be found on your seat tray table, blanket and tap water in the toilets is the true cause of the ‘airplane cold,’ not the recycled air. Carry antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer, to clean the armrests, tray table, tv remote and your hands after visiting the toilet, to avoid catching a cold.

*Top Tip: Eat foods that contribute towards a strong immune system like oily fish, garlic, mushrooms and citrus fruits, to name a few.

Feel fresh

Have a basic toiletries bag to help feel clean and ready to have fun upon arrival. All items can be found in miniature form in various pharmacies on the high street and at airports. Use whenever needed to freshen up.

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Compact hairbrush
  • Face Wipes
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip Balm
  • Deodorant

*Top Tip: Buy in advance as prices are often increased at airports. No product should be larger than 100ml for security purposes.


You can share your own tips on how to survive a long haul flight on twitter, @CuriousKatsClub with #flightsurvival

Happy flying!

Helen Critchley

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