Five Tips for Flying Long Haul

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Due to various foreseen and unforeseen circumstances I have found myself on numerous long haul flights recently. Sadly, unlike Jennifer Aniston in those Emirates adverts, I do not emerge wearing a bath robe and demand to know where the showers are.

I do not even dare to dream of a fully reclining seat. I fly cattle/coach/economy class: however you choose to describe it, the facts remain the same – limited space for multiple hours. However, dare I say it, practice makes perfect and I believe I might have turned it into an art form. Just a little foresight and planning is all it takes. So here you have it, my ultimate five tips for flying long haul.


 Keep warm

The potential to freeze as much as a well preserved snowman during a flight is high and being cold long haul is a prolonged agony. Pack a cardigan or large scarf, both of which can double up as a pillow. It is also always a good idea to pack a pair of socks. I choose cashmere, which is a vain attempt at elevating my social status to above the sardine level of economy class. These items make me too cozy to care if others think I’m pulling a ‘Hyacinth Bucket’.



Good headphones are so essential they make it at number 2 on my list. Yes, of course I like to check out the in-flight entertainment or listen to my own music but ever since an African preacher insisted on performing a healing ceremony loudly and at length during a transatlantic flight, I can guarantee you I travel with headphones. Back in the day, when I was naive and youthful, I wouldn’t take headphones as I prefer to sleep throughout the flight and would find myself distracted by the latest releases. This in turn would make my jet lag a gazillion times worse. If desperate I would ask for a pair but most times I didn’t need them. The lesson has been learned, headphones are a great and easy way of blocking out your fellow tinned fish (fellow passengers), and avoiding all unnecessary and awkward encounters.



One of my fellow writers at SANT has posted make-up bag essentials for travel (Link) which is an excellent and easy guide to faking that bright eyed and dewy complexion when you might be feeling anything but. To help achieve that look, the trinity of travel beauty must be observed, moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! The flight will dehydrate your skin and we all know from experience that makeup can only cover up so much. To aid in this, keeping hydrated and avoiding sugary, salty snacks as well as alcohol will make a lot of difference.


Water bottle

Nearly every airport in the world contains a water fountain and you can always carry an empty water bottle through security. Most long haul flights have a water fountain in the back as well. This tip from a friend has changed my life. In truth, I wish that was an exaggeration. The amount of money this has saved me as well as the bonus of ease is too great to calculate. If you only take one thing from this article, please let it be this, flying with a water bottle is a game changer.



I think I have always wanted to be a Scout. It is the only way to explain why I feel the need to be prepared for everything! Most flights do not cater well, they do not cater frequently and although for most airlines you can select preferences such a vegan and gluten free for your meals this does not guarantee you will want to eat the food provided. Nuts always travel well and they are easily packed in a carry-on. Whilst there is no shame in raiding every single vending machine once off the plane, it is probably, for your health (and your waistline!), a situation best avoided.

So there you have it, my ultimate tips for flying long haul in economy and arriving in the best frame of mind and body possible!


Words: Katherine Birdwood


Tags: travel, beauty, long haul, tips, guide, flying

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