What To Do On A Long Haul Flight

Being in the air with so many strangers in that tubular space stiffened in a small seat with no leg room for more than 10 hours to some people may sound unbearable.

But when you think about it, it just may not be as bad as it sounds and not so much different when traveling on land. Most of the people are more concerned with the commodity and comfort which isn’t so much different from other types of transport if you ask me. The only difference would be that we can’t get out in the fresh air for a while.

Flying in the air logically would mean that there is a significant amount of oxygen for us to breath and probably is the closest way we can get to such an amount of fresh air around us. The air is too fresh I’d say, freezingly fresh, that’s true. Yes, there is plenty of oxygen up there in the air except the higher we get the lower the pressure and the oxygen in that air is too thin for us the humans to be able to inhale as much as we need. The airplane solution to this is the pressurized cabins. So, as the plane flies the air enters the jet turbine engines, get compressed on the way, heated and then cooled off before enters the airplane cabin.

On the other hand, cabin air pressure reduces our oxygen supply which is one of the reasons why many people may feel sleepy when flying. The humidity level is extremely low up in the air, which can lead to dehydration. The fact is that the air is just to dry in the planes and dehydration of our body is probably the main reason why most of us would feel uncomfortable in airplanes. So, what to do on a long flight?

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1. Drink a lot of water

Simple as that. To feel good when flying just stay hydrated. Only when you feel good you can do all of the other stuff you like that keeps you busy or you can have that good night sleep that you need on the plane.  

Because of the cabin pressure, dehydration and lack of good blood flow through the legs we can get swollen ankles, headaches or feel under the weather. Now, when you drink water, not only you’ll stay hydrated, you’ll have to go to the toilet too more often which will be a good exercise for stretching a bit which will be again good for the blood circulation of the body. Some feet exercises, like moving your ankles in circles from time to time would do you good too.

Another thing is the clothes that you’ll be wearing up in the air that should be comfortable and loosen. There is no other place like the airplane where the temperatures can change so much from freezing to overheated and back again. In order to keep your body at a comfortable temperature, it’s best to layer your clothing.  It’s good to have those compression socks in your handbag too and to put them on when you get on the plane. Those will help you a lot for better blood circulation in your legs.

We can look at airplane flights from another point of view, as a place where there will be plenty of time for us to entertain ourselves, a time to do some of the work we’ve wanted to be done or watch that movie everyone is talking about. In-flight entertainment is not always available, so don’t forget to charge up the batteries, download all the books and movies you were interested in, and most importantly to bring your external power battery.

Another thing to be aware of is when we do get dehydrated, with lack of oxygen we start feeling tired and thus more emotional. So, instead of spending your time on the plane entertaining with all those books, movies and music, broadcasts that you downloaded the day before, you may find yourself crying over every slightly emotional movie scene. Nobody wants to be that person just because didn’t drink enough water. Although when it does happen to someone sitting next to you, you should be polite and supportive enough to at least offer or hand a handkerchief.

2. Choose your seat wisely

As soon as you’re on the plane you would want to adjust your watch to the time zone of the destination you are flying to. To sleep or not? If it’s daytime at the destination stay awake. But if it isn’t, you’ll probably wanna sleep. If you don’t prefer sleeping pills and feel groggy afterward, you can do something else that will relax your mind and help you get a few hours of a nice sleep. For that to be as smooth as possible you can: listen to some white noise or relaxing sounds that will block your ambient noise, as well as help you sleep better. Another great option for isolating completely the sound around you are the noise-canceling headphones or earplugs.

Don’t forget to put on your seatbelt when going to sleep. In that way, you won’t be disturbed by the flight attendants when they do their check for any reason that may occur, like turbulences for example.

Depending on, whether you tend to sleep or not, you should choose the appropriate seat. The window would be great for sleeping as you can lean your head aside. And you won’t be bothered if the guy next to you wants to go to the toilet or to stand up for any reason. Additionally, a travel pillow for your neck will save you from headaches and give you a better sleep as well a sleeping mask can come helpful.

On the other hand, if you are going to be awake during your flight you should choose the aisle seat. You’ll probably want to stretch, walk a bit or use the restroom more often. The aisle seat is for the active ones. You should be prepared for a lot of standing up on this seat. So, if any of your row friends wanna get up at any time you shouldn’t have any problem with that.

The good communication in the row makes things much convenient for all. So, every time anyone from the same row wants to do something, to stand up, to call for the attendant or simply watch through the window should just politely ask the row buddies. The middle guy gets the two armrests and that’s that. It is really at least we can do for him. Actually, it’s expected from him to assist the flight attendant every time and to pass the meals or drinks when the lunch is being served.

If turbulences freaks you out then sit by the wings, you’ll feel them the least. The back of the plane is where you’ll feel them the most. Let the flight attendant and the person sitting next to you know that you are afraid and not comfortable flying. Keep in mind when booking your flight though, bigger airplanes are more stable and you can feel fewer turbulences than in smaller ones. The fact that airplanes are the safest mean of transport and chances for a crash accident are minimal should make you feel a bit better from the start.

3. The food and the mood

Unfortunately, when we are on planes, in the air, we can’t eat food just because we don’t feel well and try to comfort ourselves in that way. It’s harder for us to digest the food when flying in airplanes than on land. So, it’s never good to get overeaten on a plane and it’s always good to avoid coffee, sugar, and alcohol. Simply because they make us feel more dehydrated.

Now, because of the low air pressure and humidity, our taste for sweet and salty is way lower than on land. Food tastes blender at high altitudes, so many airlines add extra salt to their food to compensate for the loss of flavor. This extra sodium makes it harder for us to stay hydrated.

But, then the so-called umami savory flavor found in the food such as tomatoes, soy sauce, spinach, mushrooms, shellfish or green tea is unaffected when flying. Umami is a pleasant savory taste, one of the five basic tastes, which occurs naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. If you want to feel the real taste when eating on planes, consider some of the mentioned food to be on your menu when flying.

Almost all food items can pass through the security checkpoint as long as none of them are liquids in amounts exceeding 3.4 ounces (100 ml). This means you can even bring pies and cakes with you through the checkpoint, though they will be subject to additional screening.

It’s probably the best idea to bring your own food on airplanes and that will include just about anything in non-liquid forms like chips, sandwiches, fruits, crackers, salads, protein bars snacks, almonds, dried fruit, peanut butter, or crackers, and cheese for example. Avoid overly smelly or noisy to eat food though and pack food that’s good at room temperature.

4. Fix yourself before landing

Skin can dry out because of the lack of humidity and moisture in the pressurized cabins. Good enough reason for every woman to want to take her toiletries in the carry on luggage. You probably don’t want to wear makeup all those hours while flying. Moisturize before, during and after the flight and drink plenty of water.

You may only carry on liquids and gels that are in 3.4-ounce (100 ml) containers or smaller. Liquids include toiletries such as shampoo, after-shave, hand or body lotion, mouthwash, and liquid makeup. Toiletries often found in gel form include toothpaste, deodorant and lip balm or lipstick. Pack some dry shampoo and bring a fresh change of clothes with you. Take the advantage of your rights as a passenger and bring what you need to fix yourself just before landing.