Survival Guide: The Long Haul Flight

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Recently I have done a lot of long haul flights solo. I will admit, I was dreading my first one because I was concerned I’d be bored out of my mind. (I am sooo not one of those people to start up a random conversation with my seatmates) However, I have come up with my routine now that I don’t mind those seemingly endless hours flying.

A lot of my routine starts at home, in downloading things and packing my carry on. I will find a good bingeworthy show to download on Netflix, and I will download enough episodes to last the entire length of my flight. I also will download two or three movies as well just in case I’m not feeling the series I picked. Next step is to download some good music. I have a few different playlists genres depending on if I want to sleep or read. One of my favourites is Mellow Days on Apple Music because I find it is good for both reading or sleeping. I have flown with Iceland Air a couple times and I really like one of their playlists called The Sound of Iceland which you can find on Spotify. And just in case I am in the mood to read a book, I will download an old classic. You never know!

If you plan on using the airline’s in flight entertainment, make sure you download their apps while you are within wifi.

Even if it’s summer and I’m wearing flip flops, I always bring warm socks. I get tired of wearing my shoes and I don’t want my bare feet on the cold and let’s face it, most likely dirty, floor.

While we are on the topic, I always dress like a homeless person in the comfiest clothes possible. If you are planning on asking to upgrade to first class I don’t recommend doing this because they prefer to have classy people up there. I figure my chances of upgrades are not as good as my chance of being uncomfortable if I don’t get the upgrade, so homeless it is. I’m talking sweatpants, sports bra, hoodie and previously mentioned thick socks. Added bonus is going through security is a breeze when you have no metal buttons on you! I prefer to dress in layers because I find it hard to regulate my temperature while I’m flying.

Invest in a good neck pillow. I originally had one of those ones you can buy from the airport newspaper shops that I would snap around my carry on handle. I found it bulky to store when I wasn’t using it and it fell off a few too many times on airport floors. Blech. Last summer I got this one:

Arjaa Comfortable Pillow Neck Chin Support, Airplane Pillow, Nap Pillow Chin Support Travel Pillows, Proven Super Soft Neck, Support Pillow lightweight face cradle, travel pillow for airplane, car, train (Gray)

And I love it! It is very comfortable, small, lightweight and thanks to the Velcro I can attach it to my bags without worrying about it falling off. Oh and it also keeps my neck warm. Win win. I find it great with my neck issues because it gives me more support then the traditional pillows.

Because I am often flying by myself, I pack a small messenger bag as my carry on and then I bring a large purse. This way I can fit anything of value into my purse to take with me when I go to the washroom and I don’t worry about leaving my messenger bag at my seat. I use a bag that is small enough that both my purse and carry on can fit under the seat in front of me because too many times I have been late boarding or it’s just a very full flight and there’s not been room near me in the overhead bins. Last thing I want to do is have to wait for everyone to deplane before I can go find my stuff.

Other essentials that I throw in my carry on: a pen (in case you are landing at an airport that does not have electronic declaration stations and need to full out a card on the flight), gum, toothbrush, and a small tube of toothpaste. It’s always nice to freshen up a little before getting picked up at the airport. I always like to bring chapstick and small bottles of hand and face lotion as well because my skin gets super dried out from flying. And of course chargers for my devices. I always try to make sure my phone is at 100% while I land at my final destination because I don’t know when my next chance to charge it will be.

I drink a lot of water on a normal day and even more when I am flying and I get tired of asked the flight attendants for water really quickly so after I’ve gone through security I will buy a large bottle of water and then once I’m out of that I will ask to get my bottle refilled.

Depending on how long my flight is, I pay the extra to have leg room, either in the exit row or at the bulkhead. Make sure you check where the washrooms are when you are booking your seat though! One time I had tons of legroom, however I was right beside the washrooms and everyone waiting in line was standing in my legroom and often times stepping on me. I was quite cranky because it was a red eye and I was trying very hard to sleep! My last couple flights to Europe have been with Iceland Air and they stop over in Reykjavik. I have found this a welcome time to stretch the legs (its six hours from Edmonton) and at 5’9 I find I haven’t needed the extra leg room.

I use my headphones throughout the flight because I find it easier to sleep with music on then listen to the noise of the engine or of random chatter. You could get noise canceling ones if you feel it’s necessary, however I have a pair of Beats that are not noise canceling that I find work well.


Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones – Rose Gold

I always pick the aisle seat because I like to get up and use the washroom without having to worry about disturbing my seatmates. I also like to wait until there’s a longer lineup for the lavatories so that I have a good excuse to be standing longer and give my legs a chance to stretch out. Of course, the drawback to having an aisle seat is having to get up to let others out frequently.

Most important take home points are: dress comfortable and give yourself a lot of different entertainment options in case you aren’t feeling something you thought would find interesting. Hope these tips make your long flights go by quickly.

Happy flying!

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