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Easy tips and tricks for making a long-haul flight more comfortable

Mirror logo Mirror 12/07/2018 Mirror .co.uk
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Jet-setting off to an exotic destination is always exciting, but the prospect of spending seven hours or more in an economy seat on a plane at 38,000ft is far less appealing.

Long-haul flights can often leave you feeling tired and grimy, and don't get us started on navigating through disruptive passengers, sitting in an uncomfortable position or getting hungry as you wait for the next in-flight meal.

However there are actually some really simple tricks that can ensure you have a smooth, peaceful flight. The best part is you don't need to be a travel insider or crew member to know all of the secrets.

Sunday Mirror Travel teamed up with the experts at frequent flyers' magazine Business Traveller to bring you the ultimate guide for getting through a long-haul flight in the main cabin - and still feeling human when you get off the plane.

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Check out our top tips below...

1. At check-in, ask if there are any spare seats and, if so, whether you can move so that one of them is next to you – giving you more room to spread out.

2. If you fly often try to build up air miles with your airline and airline alliance to boost chances of an upgrade.

3. Consider paying for airport lounge access – it’s good for loading up on food and drink before boarding.

4. Buy a bottle of water to take on board once you’re airside.

5. Being polite to the person you are rubbing shoulders with for many hours is sage advice. You don’t have to share your life stories, but the odd smile and remark will help make the enforced proximity a lot more bearable.

6. It’s often worth paying for an exit or bulkhead seat especially if you’re tall.

7. Seat choice is personal. If you don’t want to be disturbed and are confident about not wanting the loo on a regular basis, then window seats are for you. If you like getting up and stretching, then an aisle will be the better choice. But avoid middle seats at all costs if at all possible.

8. Be aware that some airlines cram in more seats than others – 10 across instead of nine-across on a Boeing 777, for instance, will be more claustrophobic. Do your homework on cabin layouts in advance at websites such as ­ seatplans.com.

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9. Take a portable battery charger for your phone or your tablet in case the plane is old and you can’t charge it.

10. Avoid sitting at the very back of a plane – it is bumpier, noisier (you’re behind the engines), it often takes you longer to board and disembark, and you may be disturbed by people queueing for the loos if they are at the rear.

11. If you can, choose a carrier with new seating, which will be more ergonomically comfortable.

12. Try to get on board early so you can find a place for your bags in an overhead locker that is reasonably close to your seat – ideally, directly overhead. It will be easier when you need to get things out during the flight, and also helps when it comes to disembarking.

13. Dress in loose-fitting clothes – you’ll be sitting down for hours.

14. Wear layers. Cabin temperatures vary hugely, even during the course of a flight, so make sure you have ways to keep warm or cool without a change of clothing. The airline will most likely provide a blanket, but it’s a good idea to have a jumper or fleece too.

15. Compression socks are important if you think you may suffer from a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and, since you’ll want to kick your shoes off during the night, having a pair of old socks is a good idea to keep your feet cosy.

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16. Wear slip-on shoes – or, at least, not boots. They are a pain to lace and unlace at security, and the same applies on the flight if you want to take them on and off.

17. If you use contact lenses, consider wearing glasses instead – your eyes will dry out during the flight.

18. A wide scarf or pashmina can come in handy as a useful extra pillow or blanket.

19. Carry a small toiletries bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser, facial mist, lip balm, eye mask and maybe some eyedrops or saline nasal spray to help with ­dehydration.

20. Take a pack of wet wipes for hands and surfaces. Tray tables can be sticky and some people like to lean forward and sleep on them.

21. Invest in a good neck pillow – being able to sleep without nodding forwards or sideways is all-important.

22. If you have a bad back, consider packing a bolster.

23. Take along some favourite snacks – it’s a nice treat and you can’t rely on all airlines to serve food you like.

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24. Consider upgrading your meal – some airlines offer the option to pre-order choices. Alternatively, buy something after security at the airport and bring it on board – although try to avoid anything smelly that might upset your neighbours.

25. Whether you think alcohol will help you relax is down to personal preference, but if you like a drink, try asking for an extra bottle or can when the trolley comes around.

26. Bring your own earplugs in case the airline doesn’t provide them, and also headphones – ­preferably noise-cancelling – along with your own choice of music to help pass the time and also block out sound while you are sleeping.

27. Consider travelling with airlines that offer wi-fi or good in-flight entertainment. If you doubt your ability to sleep then it’s a good way of passing those wide-awake hours.

28. Download some films to a tablet or smartphone in advance in case there isn’t much choice in the in-flight entertainment, or none at all.

29. Pack a good book. If you can’t sleep, you’ll get the benefit of finally finishing that tome you’ve been meaning to. If you fall asleep reading it, then it did the trick.

For more frequent flying information visit businesstraveller.com.

Related: Why airplanes are boarded through the door on the left (Provided by GeoBeats)

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