Flying hacks to make long-haul flights just that little bit better

Let’s face it. Flying sucks. It’s a means to an end, the only viable way to travel long distances quickly. Even flying first class isn’t really enjoyable, it’s simply better than cattle class. There are however ways you can make flying just that little bit better, take the edge off how uncomfortable it can be.

Get yourself a lounge pass


This is real no brainer, yet few people actually sign up for them. VIP lounges used to be for the super rich travelling first class, but now comfortable lounges are popping up in most major airports available to anyone. With costs starting at around £25 and with many including a free bar, snacks, decent WiFi, comfortable seating, showers and complimentary magazines, they’re a steel.

Ask for things

Flickr: yum9me
Flickr: yum9me

It’s becoming much harder to secure free upgrades than the good old days, but it’s still not impossible. Those who ask are much more likely to get. If it’s a birthday, special occasion or honeymoon, let the airline staff know and if there is room, you may just get lucky. There are a number of ways to increase your chances. Always join up to the loyalty scheme of the airline before you travel. Loyal customers are more likely to be upgraded. If you are travelling as a couple or single the chances are more in your favour than a family. Children and those travelling with them have zero chance of getting bumped up to first. Lastly, try to look as smart as possible. Turning up with a joggers and a hoodie is not going to see you get that golden ticket.

Go to the gym


Many people have trouble sleeping on planes, and that’s not surprising given the uncomfortable seating and inability to lie flat. If possible, go to the gym a few hours before travelling. Your body will be much more tired and in need or rest and you’ll feel less stressed.

Be prepared for security

Flickr: Bailey Cheng

The scrum as you go through security can be stressful, but the experience can be made a lot more pleasant with a little preparation. Pack your liquids in clear bags before you leave (it’s worth grabbing a bunch whenever you see free ones at an airport), don’t wear jewelry or watches (you can keep them in your carry on and put them on as soon as you are through security) and make sure your tablet computer and laptop are easily accessible. When you arrive at security, turn left. Research shows that the majority of people turn right, meaning the left lines should be more less busy on average. These few things will ensure that everything runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Bring your own food


We all know airplane food tends to be fairly inedible. Cooking 250 people’s meals in a small space at the back of place isn’t conducive to tasty cuisine. But there is nothing to stop you bringing your own food (as long as it’s not liquid). Pop to the shops before you travel and pick up some tasty treats to enjoy on board. Cured meats, dried fruits and nuts are particularly easy to travel with and filling.

Wear more on board


Airlines never quite manage to get the temperature right on flights. Wear extra layers, which not only allows you to bring more clothes with you if your luggage is nearing the weight limit, but it also allows you to regulate your temperature perfectly on board. If it’s too hot, you can always use the extra clothes as a pillow. If your luggage weight is an issue, wear your heaviest clothes.

Where to sit


If you are a nervous flier, pick a seat near to the middle. The seats above the wings are better balanced and therefore the turbulence is not felt as much in this position. The worst place for turbulence is at the back of the plane.

Useful things on board

Flickr: Jonathan Pincas
Flickr: Jonathan Pincas

There are plenty of useful extras you should remember to bring on your next flight. Those little mini shampoos you took from your hotel stay are perfect for cosmetics. Baby wipes are an excellent way to clean and fresh up before you disembark the flight. If you wear contact lens, bring your glasses instead as the lens tend to dry out your eyes. If you invest a little in noise cancelling headphones, it drowns out the monotonous hum of the engines and can improve the journey immensely. And lastly, bring a pen. Everyone always needs a pen.

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RELATED: Our picks for the 2018 hotspots in Latin Americ

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