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How To Prepare For Long Haul Flights

If you have ever experienced a long haul flight, you know how brutal they can be. They are long, cramped and emotionally taxing.

Over winter break, my family and I went on a trip to Paris where we had to go on a 13-hour flight. This was my very first experience with international travel, a flight longer than 3 hours, and having a public hot flash.

Long flights can be the WORST! But to make them better, check out these tips:

1. Treat your headphones like your passport

DO NOT leave home without them. If you’re stuck on a plane for several hours you don’t want to be without headphones. Some airlines provide headphones for you, but they’re not the best quality and don’t cancel out any background noise.

2. Skip the neck pillow

Neck pillows are bulky and take up too much space in your carry on. I found wearing a cozy scarf and using the pillows provided on the plane work just fine.

3. Remember that food is usually provided

When I flew on a red eye, they gave us dinner an hour into the flight and breakfast before we landed. As a novice flyer, I packed snacks and prepared for a 13-hour fast. So don’t waste space in your carry on and lay low on the snack packs.

4. Entertainment, too!

The plane I was on had TV monitors on the backs of every seat loaded with movies and TV shows we could watch. I pretty much watched movies the entire flight instead of reading all of the books I thought I was going to read.

5. Prepare for all weather

I don’t know why, but for some reason airplanes are never a comfortable temperature. On the flight to Paris, our plane was so hot and stuffy, but on the flight back home we were all freezing. So, wear layers that are easy to take off and store in your bag. And whatever you do, don’t wear tall boots–they trap all of your body heat and will make you miserable.

6. Beware the dreaded disrespectful recline

When flying economy on a long haul flight, especially a red eye, you will inevitably face what I like to call the “full recliner.” Once, the gentleman in front of me decided that as soon as we reached cruising altitude he was going to recline his seat all the way. On cramped flights, you already have no space – so having someone recline all the way into my lap made me want to die.

7. Take advantage of the “sky law”

Usually when you are on flights to another country, the staff will assume the younger drinking age as precedent. Meaning, you can crack open a cold one on your uncomfortable, long flight if you’re 18. I like to call this phenomenon “sky law.”

8. Don’t be ashamed of your pajama outfit

Always dress comfortable for flights. If you are aiming to sleep on the plane, wear pajama casual outfits. Leggings and sweats are awesome, throw on a t shirt and zip up hoodie (for easier removal) and you’re in business. Never–under any circumstances–wear something that you wouldn’t sleep or lounge in at home.

9. Pre-download music and movies

Music apps like Spotify and Apple Music allow you to download a specific playlist to your phone so that you can access it in airplane mode. Netflix also offers this service and allows you to download certain movies and TV shows. It’s a beautiful thing, stock up before your flight.

And that’s it, you’re ready for your long haul flight! Travel safe, collegiettes!

Hi I'm Hannah! I'm currrently a sophmore majoring in journalism and political science at the University of Oregon. I am a coffee addict and love to watch classic movies with my dog. I am a part of the U of O mock trial team and am a huge follower of politics. I love to write and am a total book worm!
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