Everyone’s has a flying story. They’re a stand-up comic’s bread and butter. But a long-haul flight is no laughing matter. Here are our 7 neat tricks to help you survive your next long-haul flight.
I suppose I could just say ‘fly 1st class’ and leave it at that, but I don’t suppose you’d appreciate that much, would you? Mrs Romance and I fly a lot, and we’ve taken quite a few long-haul flights alone and together over the years.
Here are our top 7 tips we’ve accumulated for surviving those 7-hour-plus flights – though they also work on short, domestic flights too:
Give yourself more space
If you’re travelling with a partner, reserve the window and the aisle seat, leaving the middle one free. It’s unlikely a lone traveller will book that seat and if someone does, just ask if you can swap seats to be next to your partner.
Find out the time at your destination and sleep when it’s nighttime there. The sooner you can get into that sleep pattern, the sooner you’ll get over jet lag.
Get into position. I find the most comfortable way to sleep is loosening my seatbelt, reclining my seat, folding up the wings of my headrest and rolling onto my side. My feet and legs just fit under the seat in front.
Try to keep up your water consumption, though I try not to drink too much because I hate having to use the on-board toilets.
People will tell you not to drink alcohol on flights, but damn it, you’ve paid for it! I try to balance the rehydrating effects of water with the dehydrating results of booze so I don’t have to get up too much during the flight.
Mrs Romance and I both enjoy a bloody mary – we believe the tomato juice counts as one of our serves of vegetables! It also fills you up. If you don’t want the alcohol, you can still ask for the bloody mary mix, which can taste a bit better than just tomato juice.
I hate missing meals, but if you do, you can usually ask if there’s something left to eat when you wake up.
I always try to avoid the ‘cooked breakfast’ airlines love to hand out. That scrambled egg stuff is revolting and that white ‘chicken’ sausage is just weird.
If you’re flying with – for example – an Asian airline, ask for the local dish over the international one. It’s likely to taste a whole lot better. And at least you’ll have a novel experience.
Order a ‘special meal’. Mrs Romance has discovered that ordering the gluten-free option usually results in something quite tasty these days – tastier than the regular meals in fact. Her food also comes out first, which she thoroughly enjoys!
Carry mints with you. They combat the perma-morning-breath and will also help if you’re having trouble with decompression in your ears.
There’s nothing better than flicking through the media options during your mid-air incarceration. But what to watch? I usually go for mindless action movies or kids’ films, and that serves me pretty well.
Mrs Romance – for some reason – likes to watch real tear-jerkers, which tend to upset her sleep pattern with dreams.
Try not to start watching anything too involved either. You want something that’s easy to put down and pick up again if you fall asleep in the middle.
Make your flight time a facial session – or at least moisturize
You’re sitting there with no one looking at you for an extended period of time. Why not put a nutrient-rich facemask on?
I’m not saying sit there with cucumber slices and a mud pack on your mush, but Mrs R recommends taking your make-up off and applying an oil-based treatment or serum to keep the drying effects of flying at bay.
At the very least, bring a small (under 100ml) tube of moisturizer that you can pop on mid-flight.
Mrs R also has a freshening mist that she likes to spray on my face and make me flinch. It seemingly helps wake you up and annoys your husband!
Noise-cancellation and eye masks
I wasn’t sure if these worked, but what an investment! Noise cancelling headphones cut out that constant background hum from the jet engines and some of the chatter of a busy flight. They also improve the sound quality of the movies 100%.
They seem a bit expensive but for around $200 you can get a pair that’s comfortable and stops a lot of the noise that you don’t realize is keeping you awake.
Don’t get the really cheap pairs though – they do nothing. On the other hand I don’t know if the $500 pairs are worth that much.
Mrs Romance loves her eye mask. It cuts out all light and keeps her asleep. It’s also a clear sign that she’s asleep so no one bothers her with anything.
I can’t wear them – I feel claustrophobic and a little vulnerable.
Bonus tip: how much do you move around?
With a lot of people worrying about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), planes are now full of people wandering around getting in the way. DVT is a danger – especially if you’re sitting in one place for a long time.
However, unless you are on certain types of medication, have a pre-existing condition or are very unlucky, it’s unlikely you’ll suffer from this very dangerous symptom.
DVT is where blood sits in veins of extremities, and pools and can eventually clot due to lack of movement.
Blood is moved back up the body from the feet and legs by blood pressure but also with the help of the tiny muscles in the legs that act as pumps every time you move. You don’t need to run around or do sets of squats to get these muscles working.
Providing you move your feet and legs a little and frequently stretch, there’s no reason why you should need to get up other than personal comfort. Making circular movements with your feet and ankles, stretching your legs out and flexing your calf muscles is plenty.
What’s your top tip for flying? Do you have any pet hates when you’re on board? How about a good flying story? Tell us in the comments!