How To Make Your Long-Haul Flight More Comfortable

By Garth Adams on 05/May/2014

Let’s face it – human beings were not meant to spend 10 hours at a time cramped into a tiny seat on a plane. Long-haul flights can be extremely uncomfortable and the longer they are, the more miserable and bored you may be. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do during an extended flight to make yourself more comfortable.

Stretch Your Muscles

Sitting for a long time on a flight can cause your body to become stiff, achy and sore. It can really help to give your muscles a little stretch every few hours.

There’s probably not enough room to be doing yoga in the aisles, but you can stand up and do some hamstring stretches and roll your shoulders back and forth. Also, give progressive relaxation techniques a try: moving from your feet to your head, squeeze each group of muscles tightly for 10 seconds before releasing. This an effective and easy way to stretch out relatively quickly in a confined space.

Avoid Excessive Drinking

Many people believe that getting drunk is the best way to relax and fall asleep on the flight, but alcohol can actually reduce the quality of sleep that you get. Also, it will dehydrate you which increases your chances of a headache. When you arrive, you will have a hangover as well as jetlag to deal with – so take it easy with the drinks.

And if you are planning on taking sleeping aids, make sure that you have tried them before you fly – that way you’ll know how your body reacts to them.

Bring The Right Clothing

When you are choosing your clothing for a long-haul flight, opt for loose cotton clothing and avoid tight jeans, high heels or other restrictive clothing.

Of course, you can’t take a flight in your pyjamas, but wearing leggings and a cotton dress or soft fabric trousers will be almost as comfortable. Don’t forget to bring a warm sweater – as the temperature can drop lower on an airplane.

Also, make be sure that your footwear is deal for the trip. Slip on a pair of canvas shoes with leather in-soles like Toms. Female travellers can also check out Tieks by Gavrieli.

Avoid Excessive Light

Many travellers underestimate how uncomfortable ambient cabin light can make them during a long-haul flight. The glow of ipads, in-seat TV screens and reading lights can be a pretty big distraction when you’re trying to doze off.

And while the standard facemask will help, there are more sophisticated options for achieving total darkness. Masks made of bamboo fabric, for example, are often more comfortable than the ones that airlines provide. You can also check out Magellan’s Good Night eye mask, which is specially molded to maximize REM sleep.

Breathe Deeply

Another little-known trick for relaxing on long flights is to practice meditation and deep breathing. There are plenty of free guided meditation records and podcasts that you can download on your mp3 player, which will teach you how to slow down your breathing.

This will relax you completely from head to toe (which is great if you are a nervous flyer) and will also help you to fall asleep on the flight.

Do you have any tips for being more comfortable on a long-haul flight? Tell us about them in the comments below.
By Garth Adams on 05/May/2014

Tagged as: long haul flights, comfortable, international flights