Sitting on the long flight from Dubai to the UK, I’ve decided to share with you some of my tips for surviving long haul flights. I have only just realised I managed to do four long haul flights this year, with ease. The fears I had before this were totally irrational and honestly, with the right preparation anyone can fly long haul … even a chronic illness adventursaurus. Most humans will tell you that long haul is flights lasting between 7 – 14 hours. 14 hours or more is ultra long haul. But, I know anyone with a chronic illness who finds sitting uncomfortably will find a flight of anything over 3 hours feels like long haul. So for this post that will be my cut off point.
- Choosing your seat.
I like to go on and select my seat as soon as check in opens, my photographer prefers to ask when checking in at the airport. But, we both agree that the back of the hairyplane is the best place to sit, on any flight. The families with children tend to be seated further forward on the plane, so it’s quieter. For all of my Emirates flights I strategically chose seats in the rear, Section D, of the plane as you have less humans and more places to stand and stretch. I find this really good when flying on the A380 (Double Decker hairyplane). There was enough room to have a good stretch and move around, without having to walk miles to get to the toilet.
2. Window seat vs. Aisle seat.
After learning the hard way, I have realised the best place to do a snooze on an airplane is the window seat. You’re less likely to be woken up each time the person in the seat next to you wishes to get up. There’s the added bonus of a wall to rest your head on.
3. What to wear.
I’m 99% sure my photographer would fly in pyjamas if it was socially acceptable, but sadly it is not. So instead we load up on hoodies and leggings. As well as those oh so sexy flight stockings (yay!). A combination of wearing these and moving about during the flight can drastically reduce the leg swelling which often goes hand in hand with flying.
During the flight
Yes I’m serious. The seat you’ve chosen will be your living space for the next few hours. I always put vaseline around my nose and lips, to avoid catching a cold from that recycled air from the germ filled in flight air con. A lot of humans with chronic illness have given me some wonderful tips of how they deal with their seat area. Antibacterial hand wipes seemed to be the winner, a great way to clean up the tray table, arm rest and even your seat. Also avoiding the seat back pockets, keeping your things in your bag under the seat will reduce the spread of germs.
In a previous post I spoke about the ABC of cabin baggage (Always bring Cereal Bars). Some cheap airlines don’t provide food (Jet2.com), others bring snacks at regular intervals and a feast (Emirates). If you take your own snacks, there’s no need to wait to be fed, nor worry about if you will even be able to eat it.
Many chronic illness adventursaurus’ who I meet, often avoid flying due to worries about medication. But, fear not. It can be done. I helped wrinkly human on the way to Singapore, so I will use him as an example. For the two long flights I kept wrinkly human’s medication on UK time until we landed in Singapore. This meant he had the right medication at the correct time interval. Once arrived he switched onto the new time zones without worry or missing any of his medication.
So you’re on a long flight might as well take the time to relax! I like to take music and a good book. It’s my favourite way to wind down and pass the time. Looking out of the window has to be my all time favourite airplane pass time, its always exciting trying to spot cities from above, and lets not forget the joy of watching a sunrise or sunset at 37,000 feet.
7. Travel planning.
Long flights are boring and arriving in a new destination can cause confusion and anxiety. Taking a guide book on the flight can allow you to while away the hours. You may even find a few things to do when you arrive, so you won’t have to have the what do I do on my first day panic!
After getting through the long queue that is passport control and trying not to get pulled along the baggage reclaim by your suitcase. The first thing most humans do is get to the hotel and fall asleep. But, sadly it is the worst thing you can do. If it is light, the best thing to do is stay awake and go for a walk to get your bearings. It will help get you onto the local time and you won’t lose any of your travels to the dreaded jet lag.
Don’t forget your passport! Happy travelling!
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