7 Essential Ways to Survive a Long Haul Flight

| © Ronald Sarayudej /Flickr

Before you vow to never take the red eye again, check out our travel tips for having that first-class experience, even in economy. Our guide to beating long haul air travel will leave you feeling refreshed and raring to go next time you fly.


No one likes arriving after a long flight and feeling anything less than their best. But little leg room, poor air quality and changing air pressures can all conspire to leave you looking worse for wear and feeling sore and sleep deprived. Follow these seven simple tips to have the in-flight experience you deserve.

Bring some mini beauty essentials

Just as you wouldn’t board a flight without a bottle of water, nor should you travel without your trusted kit of mini in-flight beauty essentials. They work hard to protect your skin against dehydration caused by the dreaded air-conditioning, not to mention the havoc stress causes on skin if you’re a bad flyer.
Start by sweeping away any makeup using the Immortelle Oil Make-up Remover, creating the perfect base to apply soothing creams during the flight and give your skin a chance to breathe. The Relaxing Pillow Mist infused with lavender will help you create an atmosphere of tranquillity and ease off into a restful sleep. To keep your lips from chapping, apply the Verbena Icy Lip Balm, which will also leave you feeling instantly refreshed.
For the full list of L’Occitane travel miniatures, visit uk.loccitane.com/travel.

Dress comfortably

There’s nothing worse than wrestling with stiff jeans or prickly jumpers as you cruise at high altitudes, and sometimes even tracksuits won’t cut it. If you’re looking for the full immersive, comfortable and stylish experience then look no further than Onepiece, whose dedicated travel jumpsuit has a fleece-lined interior, ensuring ultimate cosiness and warmth to combat the air con.

An inflatable hood means that a pillow is only a few puffs away – perfect for beating uncomfortable head rests and to avoid awkwardly napping on your neighbour’s shoulder. The hood also comes with a compact eye mask to ensure total black out. It’s like bringing the best version of your bed on the plane. Choose jet black for a sporty update on the very fashionable jumpsuit trend, and ensure that airport chic has never looked so easy.

For the full Onepiece range, visit onepiece.com.

Watch what you eat

It’s been proven that your sense of taste is less effective in the noisy, dry, low-pressurised air of an aeroplane, which may go some way to explaining why most airline food tastes pretty bad. Particularly affected is your ability to taste sweet and salty tastes, so manufacturers oven boost salt levels in food, which can leave you thirsty. Strangely, the fifth taste, umami, found in tomatoes, soy and parmesan cheese, is boosted in-flight, which is why a bloody mary tastes so good in the air.

Another side effect of air travel is your digestion slows down. So if you’re on a long haul flight, you might want to avoid meals featuring heavy, refined carbohydrates and instead look for lighter options. Crisps and salty snacks might appeal, but fruit, unsalted nuts and plenty of water are better choices to keep you topped up. Finally, large, international hub airports have much better dining options now, such as Heston Blumenthal’s Perfectionists’ Café at Heathrow’s Terminal 2, meaning the best dining option might be to eat before you take off.

Keep yourself entertained

The choice of films on most flights is actually quite extensive, from the latest blockbusters to Oscar contenders. But for those of you craving the chance to catch up on the latest TV shows, you’re better off downloading entire series before you set off (also avoiding the issue of slow or even non-existent WiFi mid-flight). A very portable Amazon Fire Tablet is perfect for this purpose. With more than enough capacity for any length of flight, and easy to put in your hand luggage, don’t forget to pack your own headphones too.

If it’s comedy you’re after, Fleabag is just the ticket. The award-winning British comedy is perfect, especially if you want a slice of London for your journey. For the longer journeys, how about Outlander? The time-travel historical romance has set pulses racing and with series three on the way, there is no better time to catch up. Finally, American Gods is the ultimate road trip show. The best thing to do if you want to catch up on the shows relevant to any destination you might be travelling to, is to search on Amazon Prime for local content.

Maximise the space

Space is probably one of the biggest issues on a long-haul flight, especially if you’re in economy, but there are some solutions to make your journey more comfortable. If you don’t have the luxury of an in-built footrest, then an inflatable cushion is a good option – this one from Go Travel inflates in seconds and will reduce in-flight swelling. Another option to help overcome legroom issues is the Fly LegsUp hammock – sounds odd, but it’s a clever sling that you can slip your feet and legs into, allowing you to find a more natural sleeping position.

Talking of which, trying to acquire 50 winks on a red-eye flight is no easy feat, but this ingenious Woollip travel pillow will support your head and whole upper-body, so there’s no head nodding or stiff neck to contend with. Lastly, for those who are always rummaging around in their bags on the flight for headphones, chargers, pills and the like, this handy digital organiser from Knomo keeps everything all in one place, plus it allows you to charge your devices on the flight if you’ve run out of juice.

Tune out

On a long haul trip, always try to balance movement with sleep. Drink at least a litre of water to stay hydrated and every time you get up to use the bathroom take the opportunity to stretch your legs. Always bring ear plugs and an eye mask (the silk range by illustrator Jessica Russell Flint are the coolest).

Stay charged

Jet lag can turn a dream trip into a nightmare. But there is technology available to battle the potentially crippling, time-shifting effects of a long-haul flight. The Re-Timer uses light therapy to minimise jet lag. You simply wear the sunglasses for 30 minutes each day during your trip, and the device emits a soft green light into your eyes.

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