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9 Must-Dos to Help You Prepare for a Long Flight

If you don’t take long-haul flights very often, everything about the experience can seem intimidating–the interminable hours aloft, the sketchy selection of seats, choosing an airline you know nothing about, wondering if and how well you will be fed, dealing with boredom. And then there’s the pricing, which can put you back on your heels within seconds of clicking” Search for Flights .” If you don’t know how to prepare for a long flight, your journey can quickly turn into a demand experience, both physically and mentally.

To keep long-haul flying from becoming long-suffering, there is nine tips to consider before booking your next large-hearted international flight.

Choose a Flight Based on Other Factors Besides Price

Once you get into the stratosphere of long-haul flight pricing, the numbers involved start to become a little scary–there aren’t many three-figure long-haul price mentions out there, and the sticker collapse can sting.

However, when you consider a long-haul flight as a by-the-hour experience, a higher cost on a comfortable aircraft with a stellar entertainment system and good food may start to seem fairly attractive with regard to a hellish flight on a cramped aircraft with overhead screens proving bad movies.

Take stock of your options carefully when weighing price vs. amenities; if you are going to be on a plane for a total of 30 hours coming and moving, and it expenses an extra $ 150 to get a better flight on a better airline, ask yourself if you would pay$ 5/ hour for a much better seat, with better meat, better movies, and better service.

Related:Sleeping on Planes: 12 Tips for Travelers

Watch Out for Gnarly Communication

Sometimes you simply can’t get from one point to another on a single lengthy flight, so you will have to choose a connecting flight. On long-haul travel in particular, where you will in many cases shape your associate on foreign clay, transferring to another flight can be an arduous endeavor. Often it can involve clearing custom-builts, picking up luggage, moving to a different terminal, rechecking luggage, clearing protection again, etc.–this can sometimes take hours.

When booking your trip, you may sometimes envision a connection that the airlines think is reasonable–but often these decisions are shape based on arbitrary, computer-imposed timeframes, and simply are not possible. A associate is also available ” legal ,” but that doesn’t mean you can make it happen, or even come close.

For example, I recently was shown a 50 -minute connection on a flight coming from Mexico, connecting to another airport in California. This contact “ve given me” less than an hour to get off the plane, compile my suitcases, clear custom-builts, recheck my containers, go through U.S. protection, and get to my gate. Given that you are really required to be at your gate 20 minutes minimum before takeoff, in truth I had about a half-hour to do everything–that is, if my first flight arrived and unloaded on time.

Another connection I was recently offered by an online system turned out to require an overnight stay in Germany–so even discounting the hassle, I would have had to pay for a inn chamber to boot. The flight was priced nicely, sure–but add a 100 -euro hotel stay to the airfare, and it didn’t look extremely pleased any longer.

Hipmunk is a useful tool to check out for its” Agony Index ,” which grades flights using a combination of rate, period, and number of connections. Flights are portrayed graphically as multi-colored horizontal bars, which allow you easily to see the length of layovers and flight segments.

Related:What Happens If I Miss My Connecting Flight ?

Choose Your Airline Wisely

Not all airlines are created equal; in fact, long-haul travel may be where you find the greatest differentiation between airlines. You will want to concern yourself chiefly with three things 😛 TAGEND

Food Entertainment Comfort

For food, almost all long-haul flights include a sensible frequency of dinners. If you are a picky eater, nonetheless, you will want to do some experiment on the banquet gives of your various airline options. Almost all airlines have this information on their websites–or check out AirlineMeals.net, which has tens of thousands of paintings from various banquets on countless airlines.

Also, plan to pack some food that you would eat during a normal period at home or work–so if you eat a handful of trail mix every morning to get you through to lunch, plan on having some when you fly.

After making sure you will more or less like the food, you will want to know how you are going to fill the hours on the plane, which will pass more gradually than you think. In particular, unless you have a massively tricked-out tablet going, a decent in-flight entertainment structure is absolutely critical. The most important part of this is to have your own individual seatback screen rather than overhead screens. Seatback screens give two advantages 😛 TAGEND

Over the process of being several hours, they are far less physically demanding to view. Seatback systems typically give much greater variety, so “youre not” protrude watching whatever horrible movie has been loaded for everyone to watch on the aircraft equipped with overhead screens, whether they like it or not.

SeatGuru( SmarterTravel’s sister area) are actually help here, as its seating maps include information not only about bench locations, sizes, and the like but also whether the aircraft has seatback or overhead screens. You will likewise want to check whether your seat will have an outlet to strength your phone or tablet, especially if you’re counting on bringing your own movies, music, or TV.

For comfort, spoke on.

Related:11 Ways to Make Traveling Easier on Your Body

Choose Your Aircraft Wisely

Before you purchase a long-haul ticket, research what type of aircraft your airline options are able to fly on the itinerary, and how they have configured the aircraft. These specifications will come in handy not only when choosing your benches immediately after your purchase, but in choosing between vying airlines on the same route.

For example, a plane with a 3- 3 configuration is normally more grueling than some other setups, such as a 3- 5- 3 configuration, principally because the presence of merely one aisle will have you competing for room not only with other passengers but especially with flight personnel as they perform booze and meal services. These periods passengers are expected to stay seated during these times–and on a long flight, this can be tough , not to mention unhealthy.

Going back to SeatGuru, there are a few other bench considerations to taking into consideration. Having a bench that reclines, and does not have foot field obstructions, and does not have a ton of passenger traffic, and has a window, etc ., will make a huge change during the course of 15 hours as opposes it four or five. Make sure your aircraft and your specific seats do not show any yellow-bellied or red flags.

Related:10 Ways to Get the Best Airplane Seat

Do Anything You Can to Get an Upgrade

As I “ve written” previously, the only flight I was ever sorry to see end was a long-haul flight on which I had employed miles to upgrade to first class. I had decompressed to an extent that I had not felt since I was a school kid on vacation; it was an odd sensation.

You will want to check for upgrades before, during, and after you book your flight; envision First Class for Free: How to Get an Airline Upgrade for some ideas.

Check for Loyalty Program Implications

If you are going to endure 14 hours in the air both coming and going on a long trip, you might as well get some frequent flyer benefit from the experience. To this purpose, you may want to choose an airline with which you already have a membership or at least one that’s in the same alliance as the airline you belong to.

Related:9 DIY Ways to Upgrade Economy Class

Choose Your Travel Clothing Carefully

Most people opt comfy clothes when flying, but it isn’t uncommon to see boys in stiff business suits and women in high heels wobbling onto airliners. When it comes to a long-haul flight, these selects become critical when you be said that you will likely want to do the following 😛 TAGEND

Fall asleep. Choose clothes that are forgiving of slumping in your bench,” rolling over” without clinging, or potentially even lying across got a couple of benches if available. Take off your shoes. Go for footwear that can be easily stole off and back on again, all without having to strain to reach under the seat in front of you. Walk around. Pick shoes that are very comfortable, and easy to equilibrium in if you reach some turbulence. Stretch. Choose clothes that move with you.

I covered this a bit in 10 Ways to Survive a Long-Haul Flight, which is definitely worth a look once you have booked your journey. Also, encounter 7 Things You Should Always Wear on a Plane.

Trick Out Your Tablet

With tablets becoming ever more popular, particularly among folks who trip quite a bit and are able to take long-haul flights, this needs mentioning here. In this case, I don’t mean building sure your apps are up to date and organizing your icon and folder system–this is a much more serious task.

If you are going to rely on a tablet to got to get through two 15 -hour flights coming and going, you are going to need brand-new, fresh, and utterly obliging material on your tablet to get you through. I’m talking at least a couple of movies–and these should be bucket-list movies that will absorb you , not just whatever you have sitting around in your movie queue. Then add at the least a couple of books in digital format, of different genres, so if you tire of a long novel, you can go read about indigenous local flowers to consider for your garden.

So as you’re preparing for a long flight, perhaps you load up one fiction book–one that you know you are going to like–and then one non-fiction, utilitarian book focusing on a subject in which you have a long-time, serious concern( business or pastime names, an oral recording history of the Beatles, that kind of thing ). And don’t forget an hour or two of your favorite tunes.

Related:7 New Books You Can Download at the Airport

Prep for a Holiday

As I recommend above, a long-haul flight in first class is like a vacation day. I am not kidding. And unless you indulge in in-flight internet access, it might be the only true day off you get all year. Even if you don’t end up in the front of the plane, it is still a full day away from telephones, email, driving around, lawn-mowing, etc. So as you prepare for a long flight, weigh all your options as if you were choosing your simply day off all year–and then prepare yourself to take that full day off, complete with your favorite clothes, favorite journals and movies, a snooze, good snacks, all of it.

More from SmarterTravel:

The 10 Best Flight Search Sites for Booking Cheap Airfare 10 Things Not to Do at Airport Security 10 In-Flight Essentials You Should Never Travel Without

Editor’s note: This tale was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

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