Long haul flights are perhaps one of the most dreaded forms of travel. To be honest, aside from buying a first class (or business class) ticket, there's not much you can do to make the experience enjoyable. That being said, there are a few little hints and tips you can use to make a tough long-haul journey that little bit easier.
Here are our top 3 long haul travel hacks that are going to change the way you fly forever.
Reserve Your Seat
This is undoubtedly the biggest, best, and most effective long-haul travel tip you're going to learn of. Most people reading this will have come across the seat selection section of the ticket booking process and decided to roll the dice instead of paying for the “privilege” of booking a specific seat. As there are more “good seats” (window and aisle) than bad seats (middle) on almost all aircraft, the odds seem to be stacked in your favour, and many people will just skip seat selection and let fate decide.
On shorter flights, this isn't a bad idea if you're on a budget. The middle seats are less than ideal, but they are tolerable for an hour or two. However, on long haul flights, the middle seat is a nightmare. You're probably going to be trying to sleep during the flight, and your head will be flopping over from side to side on the people next to you, you'll be jostling for armrest space the entire journey, and the slightly claustrophobic feeling of being enclosed tightly isn't all that fun either.
Avoiding the middle seat is reason enough to reserve your seat on its own, however, it's also worth remembering that not all seats on an aircraft are created equally. Sitting close to the wings will reduce turbulence and you will usually be far away from high traffic areas (like the galley). Sitting at the back right next to the toilet is undeniably the worst position to be in, you'll have the loud vacuum suction of the toilet in your ears throughout the flight, people will be lining up next to you while they wait to use the facilities, and there will be much more noise and activity in general.
For a few extra dollars, you can avoid all of these annoyances, and we honestly think it's one the best bangs for your buck in all of aviation (although we'd prefer it if airlines still offered seat selection for free as standard).
There's a good chance that you're going to be dealing with jet lag at the end of a long-haul flight (depending on your route). Staying hydrated is one of the best ways you can beat jet lag and feel a little fresher when you reach your destination. It's not a cure, and you're still going to be feeling a little worse for wear, but if you're familiar with long haul flights you'll notice the difference proper hydration makes to your condition upon arrival.
Invest in Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noise cancelling headphones are the best invention for long haul travellers since the creation of the wheelie suitcase. They are almost custom made for this specific situation, they excel at cancelling constant low-pitched noises – like the engines of an aircraft. Without noise cancelling headphones your ears will adjust and drown out the noise, but when you land and the engines turn off you suddenly remember how loud the engines were. Even if you're not listening to music or watching a movie, the noise reduction drastically increases your feeling of comfort and will leave you a little more refreshed at your destination.