How enjoyable are long haul flights?

Interior of Aircraft Cabin

When travelling on long haul flights most of us experience the occasion in different ways. Irrespective if we fly regularly or from time to time, we all think either of long distance journeys to be an inevitable chapter or as the exhilarating stage of the trip. Whichever way, I want to share with you a few tips that will make your next long haul flight more pleasant. Effectively, I want to make your next flight a comfortable affair.

First, for me the aircraft cabin environment plays a big part in what kind of journey experience passengers get. Aircraft cabins are confined spaces and I strongly believe that for this reason they should be aesthetically pleasing in appearance and artistically designed to be passenger friendly. However, each airline maintains their own line of approach and methodology – often determined by a marketing strategy or commercial considerations – and the aircraft interior varies accordingly between carriers. For example, cabin temperature settings can vary and so can seating configuration, materials and space arrangements. Therefore, my advice is to bring with you additional wear (maybe a sweater or hat) or dress conveniently to resist potentially uncomfortable inflight temperatures.  Carry with you proper footwear such as thick winter-warm socks and other useful accessories like eye-mask and earplugs so you can relax and rest more easily.

Considering that in recent years airlines have drastically changed their hospitality policies, remember that nowadays inflight catering provisions are a hit-and-miss. Plan well for your eating supplies and for the duration of the journey. Keep in mind that your own requirements may not be in line with what is available on board the aircraft. It could be useful to have in your cabin baggage small quantities of snacks, fruits and drinking water. To continue on the subject of food and drink, do not be tempted to consume high amounts of alcohol. Regardless if the airline serves free drinks or not, booze can upset your health condition during long distance travel.

I often use the analogy of a referee umpiring a sports game to emphasize the relationship between cabin crew and passengers. Metaphorically speaking, similarly to a referee the cabin crew can be your best friend or your worst enemy for the duration of the flight. It makes sense to keep in mind that flight crews are performing a job, they can be as equally tired as you and just like you they want to be treated with a degree of respect. You can enhance you flight experience by simply showing a notch of friendliness towards the airline staff.

Bring your own entertainment

One of the things that you will certainly have in abundance during a long haul flight is free time (downtime). It does depend on each individual’s preferences, habits or inclinations how to utilize their free time. In this sense, try to arrive prepared with your own entertainment provisions for example, books, electronic devices, puzzles etc. DO NOT FORGET the charging equipment for your appliances!

To stay with the theme of free time on board the aircraft, the quality of inflight entertainment offered by an airline can be an extremely useful tool in firming up the passenger experience. I am afraid that many airlines fail severely in this area and they leave passengers to be very disappointed at the end of their journey. Talking from my own experiences, you have two options here. One, to avoid frustration, arrive well equipped for your flight. Two, be carefully selective on which airline you decide to travel with, especially if your expectations are high.

Finally, here are my last tips to help you enjoy your next long distance flight.

  • Try to get an upgrade. I must admit, this is not easy or set as a rule that you will get an upgrade simply because you will ask. Still, arriving early to check in, dressed appropriately and smartly as well as being a member of the airline’s “Frequent Flyer” scheme, they all can help your chances to get upgraded.  
  • Use one of the airport lounges. I have found airport lounges as very useful and ideal in helping me escape from noisy and overcrowded areas. There are various schemes and business options available so you can explore the market to find the best choice for you.    

I strongly believe that people can manage their long haul experience themselves for the biggest part. Undoubtedly, there are numerous reasons and conditions that can affect this experience but, arriving at the airport unprepared, in the wrong frame of mind and often having unrealistic expectations will definitely determine how your trip will unfold.

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