Aviator Life

Actually, I encounter them on every round: Dissipated guests rushing to their seats and stumbling out of the plane dehydrated and exhausted at the end of the flight. And then there are those who come on board completely relaxed and look like fresh from vacation after a twelve-hour long flight.

You would rather belong to the second group yourself, but you always slide back into the first? Then I have some good tips for long-haul flights for you today, which I have collected together with my colleagues over the last few weeks.

Before the long distance flight – the best flight attendant tips

Especially on long distances you should prepare a little bit for the flight. This starts with a timely arrival – Murphy’s Law always applies and on travel days everything that can go wrong often goes wrong. So always plan an hour’s buffer by car or an additional train connection. I’d rather sit in a cafĂ© at the airport for another hour than rush to the counter just before the closing time. And you should also think about that:

Checking transit times – tips for long-haul flights

You can’t imagine how many passengers with completely unrealistic transfer times arrive on our plane. Whenever someone puts his boarding pass with 30 minutes transit time under my nose, I often don’t know whether to laugh or cry. So always inform yourself about realistic transfer times at the respective airport (recommendations can be found on the homepages) and book your flights* accordingly. This is especially true in winter, when delays due to weather changes and long lines at the de-icing machine are pre-programmed.

Pack your hand luggage cleverly – tips for long-haul flights

A small list of little helpers that I have in my hand luggage on every long distance trip: Cell phone, cosmetics (toothbrush, toothpaste, disinfectant wipes, hand cream, lip balm and for the girls a bit of make-up), a brush, eye drops, nose ointment, nasal spray, medication, an eye mask, earplugs, thick socks, sweaters, scarf, a bottle of water, chewing gum and on economy flights a neck pillow.

Book the best seat – tips for long-haul flights

It is often not exactly a bargain to book a seat in advance. However, many airlines offer this service free of charge as soon as the flight is ready for online check-in. It is best to set an alarm 24 hours before departure, so that you still have a relatively large choice. Personally, I like to sit far back on economy flights, as the plane is usually filled from front to back. If the flight is not fully booked, you increase the chance of a free seat next to you. But the last two rows are not a good idea – here you are too close to kitchen and/or toilets.

Getting a row of three – tips for long-haul flights

Unfortunately, almost all aircraft types on long haul flights are now equipped with triple rows of seats. If the flight is not fully booked and you are travelling in pairs, you can take advantage of this. Do not book your seats next to each other, but at the window and in the aisle. Those travelling alone will only squeeze into the middle seat voluntarily in an absolute emergency.

Doing sports before take-off – tips for long-haul flights

Being stuck in a can of sardines for up to thirteen hours can be a huge burden on our bodies. I would therefore advise you to do an hour or two of sports the day before you leave – or ideally on the day of your trip itself. Endurance sports in the fresh air or a round of yoga are ideal for this. That way, you’ll be really exhausted before the flight and maybe you’ll be able to get one or two hours more sleep.

Prepare for jet lag – tips for long-haul flights

Opinions differ on the question “Can jet lag be alleviated or even completely avoided? But from my own experience I can tell you that there are a few effective tricks. It is helpful, for example, if you adjust to the local time of your destination before departure. For example, three days before departure, you can shift your sleeping and getting up time by one hour in the respective direction. Melatonin is also helpful, which you can buy over-the-counter at the pharmacy.

Boarding at the right time – tips for long-haul flights

When I fly economy class, I take a lot of time to get on board. Because when I am the last passenger to board the plane, almost everyone else is already sitting in their seats and I have a good overview of which seats are still available. This has often given me a completely free row all to myself. But it looks different if you have a large trolley bag as hand luggage.

Choosing the right clothes – tips for long-haul flights

In my opinion, the right clothing is an important factor for a comfortable (long-haul) flight. From my own experience I can tell you that it is really hard to regulate the air conditioning in the plane – just one degree plus or minus decides between ice age and Sahara. I therefore recommend the proven onion look, so that you can put something on or take something off from time to time, depending on the cabin temperature.

Marking the suitcase – tips for long-haul flights

This may sound totally banal now – but you can’t imagine how many passengers don’t mark their suitcase in any way. What absolutely belongs on the suitcase: a sign with name and address. Because it happens again and again that the luggage tag is torn off in the chaos of luggage at the airport. If you are unlucky, your suitcase will disappear forever in nirvana.

Read the entry regulations – tips for long-haul flights

I can’t say it often enough: Be sure to read the entry regulations for your destination country carefully. There are still far too many passengers with an old passport, without a return flight ticket or completely without visa, etc. who are desperately waiting at the counter of our colleagues. You should take an even closer look if you are travelling with children.