1. Once you’re in the air, loosen your shoe laces. Don’t, I repeat, don’t be one of those people who takes their shoes off and sticks their bare feet on the armrest of the chair in front of you, but you should be aware that the lower air pressure will cause your feet to swell. Loosening your shoelaces will help you deal with this, although some people wear compression socks.
2. Get hard sweets. The sucking motion stops you from getting sore ears.
3. Download an entire TV series and binge watch it all, you have loads of time so you can watch loads without feeling guilty.
4. Be friendly and kind to airline employees. They deal with grumpy jerks all day, and are often more than happy to help someone who treats them like actual human beings.
From seat upgrades to free mini bottles to help with rebooking and standby lines, there are lots of ways that they can make your experience more pleasant (or at least less miserable).
5. Wash your hands (or use disinfection wipes) before putting them near your mouth (or face in general). Both airports and planes usually have a lot of bacteria so it’s easy to get sick if you’re not careful.
6. Nintendo Switch is probably the best if you want to game.
7. Travel as light as possible. It’s worth repeating: travel as light as possible. Every item you don’t take is one less item to worry about, to look after, to lose or damage. Don’t take anything you don’t truly, really, absolutely need to take. There are many things you can manage without if you have to. There are many things you can buy, borrow, rent or hire at the other end if necessary.
8. If you are going to another time zone, start adjusting your body clock accordingly days beforehand.
9. Bring a scarf that can double as a blanket. Airplane blankets are gross and not always available, even when the plane is cold.
10. A phone can play an audiobook for 24 hours straight without using even half its battery. And they work well even if you are too tired to read a paper book.
11. Always carry an empty bottle. The air hostesses will be happy to fill them up onboard. Carry plenty of snacks and instant noodles if you have a layover and don’t want to pay for airport food.
12. Have an anti-histamine when you get onboard, tablets are fine but if you’re feeling fancy then go for a nasal spray and eyedrops — the recycled air is killer and you are going to want to breathe normally and not have your eyeballs dry up. Some lotion for your skin is also a good idea, apply before the flight and then go to the bathroom onboard to wash your face and reapply half-way through to make sure your skin doesn’t dry up.
13. Wear loose comfortable clothes. Don’t worry about appearances.
14. Keep away from alcohol other than maybe a beer or two. It really messes with jetlag, and airplane hangovers are not fun. Drinking alcohol also further dehydrates your body and makes the dry air more unbearable. If you feel the need to KO yourself, bring sleeping aid medicine.
15. Download the airline’s app. For example, Westjet will broadcast movies and music and allow you to track your flight if you’re using their app during the flight. Not all apps do this, most just allow you to book and track flights, but some airline apps contain a bunch of useful features.
16. Get up and walk the aisle at least once during the flight. This is for health reasons. The low pressure environment will cause swelling and blood pooling in your body. You need to move those fluids around with a bit of exercise/movement, especially of your legs and feet. Also, once you’ve reached your destination don’t plan on scuba diving during your first 24 hours. Going from a low pressure airplane to a high pressure dive is just asking for trouble. Swimming and snorkeling are fine though, it’s just sustained dives at depth (aka scuba diving) that can be a problem.
17. Noise cancelling headphones are a must. Keep them on even when you have no music playing.
18. Foam earplugs for sleeping – If you need to sleep on flight, it’s hard to do that with a big, clunky, set of headphones.
19. Bring chewing gum, it can help pop your ears.
20. Don’t say random “jokes”. My last flight the attendant was doing the safety thing and once she talked about fastening your seat belts I exclaimed “it’s not like its going to help”. I thought I was being funny but the people around me did not, especially the anxious guy next to me. My wife was embarrassed.
21. Poo before the flight.
22. Install a flight simulator on your laptop, load the exact flight and plane you will fly. Fly it in real time during your flight.
23. Keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your carryon along with some wet wipes and moisturizer.
24. Best combination for carry on is one collapsible duffle bag and one roll on. Fit everything in those two.
25. The day before you fly, go over all the stuff you need and just check everything again. This gives you peace of mind, which helps you to relax more and to get some good sleep before you fly. If you can, have someone else (spouse, partner, friend) check your details as well, two heads are better than one and they might spot problems you haven’t noticed (such as your passport not being valid for the next six months, which is has to be for most international flights).
26. Choose seats at the back. The plane automatically fills from front to back unless people choose their seats, so you are more likely to get a bunch of free seats together at the back. Also babies are often sat towards the front. Check 48 hours before your flight if there are any rows free.
27. Bring a fully charged backup charger, you’ll need it.
28. Shower at the airport before boarding a long flight, also shower at your layover. You’ll feel fresh and less tired after showering.
29. Paying extra for extra legroom is expensive, but unless you’re under 5 foot and planning on sleeping the whole time it’s so worth it.
30. If you’re able to sleep on the plane, do it. Get a neck pillow.
31. Sit on the aisle seat, it’s easier to get up.
32. Remember to get up every now and then and walk. Compression socks are also a good idea. DVT can happen and you don’t want it.
33. If you’re going to fly long haul often then fly with a single carrier. Miles add up fast and status does wonders. Like qatar gives you extra baggage and access to the business class lounges for not much status.
34. WATER! The air inside is dry a.f. and the tiny bottles of water they serve aren’t even close to enough to rehydrate you. Buy something like a 0.7-1L bottle of water and drink/empty it before passing the security gate. Find a drinking fountain or ask at a bar to have it filled. A dry throat will make 30 minutes feel like 3 hours.
35. I once bought a science fiction “megapack” of short stories on Kindle. I didn’t even think of myself as a huge sci fi fan but I thought why not. The flight was 10 hours and I hardly noticed anything and suddenly we’d arrived.
Something about the length of the stories, the relatively short build up leading to a quick pay off, over and over was perfect for maintaining my attention and made the time absolutely fly. Much better than a novel imo where you can feel how much time you have left in the book as you anticipate the resolution of the plot over a longer period of time.