Long-haul flights are exhausting, and not only because of the amount of time they take! Added to that the additional travel time to and from the airport and waiting times for boarding and connecting flights, it's no wonder that many people shy away from long-haul flights altogether. There are, however, a number of ways to ease the hassle of flying for longer than six hours at a time, to make the journey as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Choose a direct flight
First of all, look for the most direct flight available to your destination. Not only does this ensure that you get there as quickly as possible, it also reduces the amount of time you have to wait in the airport for one or more connecting flights, not to mention the cumbersome process of boarding and disembarking multiple times! Finding a direct flight will also allow you to make the most of your time in the sky, whether you choose to catch up on sleep, reading a book or getting some work done.
First class or coach
Consider whether your budget will allow you to fly as comfortably as you can. Upgrading to business or first class can make a world of difference, offering you more leg room and personal space, as well as a wider range of options for food, drink and entertainment. More space will minimize the inconveniences one can experience due to movement from other passengers. It will allow you to sleep better as well, which is especiallypecially if the flight is overnight.
Where to seat
If budget or seat availability does not allow for the luxury of upgrading, then take into careful consideration where you choose to sit. If movement is important to you, as well as easy access to toilet facilities, then you need to choose an aisle seat. However, if sleep and being disturbed as little as possible rate higher on the list, a window seat is what you need. This is especially the case if you are traveling by yourself.
When traveling with family, and particularly young children, contact the airline to see if you can all sit together at the front of the cabin. Most airlines will do their best to accommodate families with young children so that they have as much room as possible, especially for infants. If you travel with your own carrier or car seat for the infant, you can easily use the fold down tray at the front of the cabin to secure your baby. Sometimes, an infant seat is provided, which eliminates the need to walk with any bulky items.
What to wear
Walk with a change of clothes to help you feel clean and refreshed when you arrive. Make sure that you wear clothing that is roomy and comfortable. Tight clothing can be irritating, and cabin pressure when flying can cause sliding of the legs and feet. Wear the most comfortable shoes for long walks to the boarding gate and when on the plane. Better yet, walk with a pair of long, fuzzy socks to keep your feet warm and comfortable during the flight, but still able to breathe.
Check in online
Finally, check in online! You'll be glad you did when faced with long check-in queues and other moody passengers at the airport. Checking in online allows you to choose your seats beforehand and saves you the hassle of wasting precious time simply to drop your bags off. If you are traveling with nothing but hand luggage, checking in online will let you print your boarding pass and be ready to go through security as soon as you reach the airport, which means not having to show up two or three hours in advance!