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By: Lauren Durden

Tips to help you make it through those extra long flights.

At a recent TWIP event, the focus of the conversation turned to long haul flights. Our Twippers agreed that even though they loved traveling, many dreaded the long international and cross country flights they took to reach their destinations. In last week’s column, we profiled some of the best airports for long layovers when traveling the globe, but what if you don’t have a layover? What if you have to stick it out on a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong? These tips will help you get through the flight without dying of boredom or feeling too uncomfortable.

Upgrade Your Seat

If there is a time to use those extra air miles or spring for a better seat, it’s when you’re going to be seated next to hundreds of other strangers, for hours at a time in a small area. An upgrade will give you more legroom, better meals, and in most cases, fully reclining chairs that come in handy when trying to catch some shut eye on board.

Check in with your airline or travel agent to see what you can do with the air miles you’ve accumulated. You may have to be a bit flexible with your travel plans, but your body will thank you when you’re in hour seven of your 16 hour flight.


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Bring Entertainment with You

If chances are unlikely that you will be getting any sleep during the flight, your best weapon to fight boredom is entertainment that you know you will like. Finally finish that novel you started a year ago, bring your own earphones, and tablet or laptop, fully charged and pre-loaded with TV shows and movies that you’re itching to watch to prevent being at the mercy of cheap airline headphones, reruns of The Hunger Games on small in-flight screens, or outdated SkyMall magazines.

Pack with a Purpose

Think about what you’ll really need on a longer flight, and bring the bare minimum on board. Make sure everything you bring on board can fit into a small bag or piece of luggage to be stored in overhead bins. You won’t want anything taking up precious leg room under the seat in front of you during a long flight, especially if you aren’t able to upgrade.

Get Up!

Think about the last time you sat stationary, with little room to stretch, for more than 10 hours. For most of us, our bodies aren’t accustomed to being in tight quarters for extended periods of time. Sitting for long periods of time on long distance flights also increases the chances of deep vein thrombosis, also called blood clots, for travelers who are at risk. Fight aches and pains from sitting by routinely getting up and walking the length of the plane and stretching. While you can’t do a full yoga flow on board, you can stretch in your seat by rotating your hands and feet, stretching your arms overhead or behind your back and doing a few neck rolls every few hours.


One of the most important things to do on a long flight is to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of an electrolyte packed drink with you, ask for cups of water throughout the flight and keep your alcohol intake to a minimum. The recycled airplane air is dehydrating and can lead to a higher risk of blood clots, dry skin and headaches.

To keep your skin well hydrated and looking well rested, remove all makeup once you board your flight. Then, use an viscous serum or portable sheet mask to add extra hydration throughout the flight. Once you’re back on the ground you can re-apply your normal beauty routine.

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Choose Your Seats Wisely

Do you have a go-to seat choice when getting on flights? You may want to rethink it. If you normally book an aisle seat, but are looking to sleep on a long haul flight, you may be disrupted throughout the flight by your seat mate looking to stretch their legs. If you love the extra row for its additional leg room, you may find yourself without a reclining seat for hours on end. Use an app or website like SeatGuru to help you find the best seats on the flight, and avoid any mishaps.

Dress For Success

Chances are, you won’t have the paparazzi awaiting your arrival in Bali. That means, comfort comes first when choosing your travel outfits. Loose, comfortable layers and a good pair of socks ensure that you can bundle up or take off a few layers if you get warm, while keeping you comfortable. A nice, loose t-shirt with a soft sweater and pants with a little stretch work well. If you’re meeting someone right off the plane, pack a nicer pair of jeans to change into once you reach the next airport, to pull your outfit together.

While the long hours of an international or cross-country flight may seem unbearable, these tips will help you stay a little more sane while in-flight. If there’s any time to cater to yourself, it’s during a long haul flight. Make sure you’re comfortable and prepared for the travel before you board, and you’ll be in a much better place after you step off the plane.