15 Tips to Escape the Discomfort of a Long Haul Flight

 Long flights are like pregnancy labor. You have to go through it if you want something beautiful in the end. They can be quite a pain, especially if you’re travelling economy and despite all your charms have not been able to land a complimentary upgrade.
But, we’re here to help. These 15 tips will ease you into your (cramped) seat and help time pass faster.

1. Dress comfortably

You know this one already but its importance cannot be asserted enough. In your effort to look classy, you might end up being mighty uncomfortable for the rest of your flight. Stick to loose, full sleeved tees and comfy bottoms. Remember, the suavely dressed celebrities you see on the airport are flying first class!

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2. Walk around once in a while

I never understood the importance of this until I could not feel my legs during a long flight. Even if you’re busy watching your favorite movie, take a conscious effort to get up from your seat every couple of hours so that you can stretch your feet. Remember, it’s the small things that help the most.

3. Hydrate

Drink double your normal intake of fluids. As you go high up, your system needs more fluids to function normally. So, make sure you drink two glasses of water every hour. Stay away from caffeine or sugary drinks.

4. Take refuge in small comforts

You will realize the value of neck pillows, earplugs and eye patches on a long flight. Carry these along so that you can nap comfortably and are not disturbed by howling babies and snoring strangers.

5. Don’t drink too much alcohol

Sorry for being the party-pooper. But this one’s for your own good. Alcohol absorbs the fluids in your body and can make you pretty sick after you land (been there, haven’t we?). Stick to beverages like green tea and fresh juices.

6. Carry enough entertainment

Sure, there’s in-flight entertainment too. But it’s always a good idea to carry your own favorites in your laptop/ipad/smartphone. Keep them charged and don’t forget to carry a power backup too.

7. Request for a special meal

This is a great trick to make sure you get your food before everyone else. Plus you invariably get to eat something better like ‘Asian meals’ that usually serve Indian food. Many airlines let you do this at no extra cost whatsoever.

8. Don’t forget to stretch

This is a basic one but important nonetheless. Sitting for long hours might make you stiff and cause joint aches. Simple seat stretches can help you relieve discomfort and have a happier flight.

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9. Moisturize

Your skin is bound to get dry and flaky at the high altitude that planes fly on. To avoid itchy and irritable skin, make sure you moisturize well before you board the flight. Try and use unscented lotion so that its smell doesn’t cause you and others around you too much discomfort.

10. Compression socks can be your savior

Compression socks can prevent blood clots or Deep Vein Thrombosis. Ask your doctor if you’re at risk of this condition and if yes, carry these special socks along for long haul flights.

11. Go easy on the sugar

Sugar will make you feel bloated and restless and is never is a good idea on long flights. In fact, avoid eating too much on the plane as this will only put pressure your digestive system.

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12. Don’t forget your earphones

We often forget small things between all the other packing that we need to finish. Don’t forget to pack your headphones as these can be extremely useful as a noise cancelling device. Listening to soothing music will help fall asleep faster and sounder too.

13. Stay away from carbs

While choosing what to eat a day before you fly, stay away from foods that are loaded with starch and carbohydrates. These foods hold water and make you feel puffy and bloated. You can opt for nuts, turkey sandwiches or a fish meal.

14. Choose a seat close to the plane’s wings

According to experts, the plane’s center of gravity is close to its wings. This means less turbulence and jerks.

15. Come adequately rested

Don’t board a flight completely exhausted. Make sure that you’ve had a good sleep and are adequately rested before you board a long haul flight. If you expect to have a sound sleep on the plane, you will be disappointed and will be left even more tired on landing.


A long haul flight can prove to be quite tiring, especially with a jet lag. Give yourself a day to recover from it and make sure that you don’t have a lot of running around planned on the day you arrive. Just like altitude adjustment, your body needs time to adjust to a new clock and a new climate. These small adjustments will provide you with much relief.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
RESHMA DEWDA RESHMA DEWDA

A hippie hiding in civilized clothes, a borderline feminist and a dreamer stuck in a practical avatar, Reshma is an incorrigible idealist who lives in a black and white world. A robin hood in her own right, she loves to come to the rescue and most times , she ends up rescuing herself in the bargain.

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