How to Survive the Longest Flights in the World


When I say the longest flights in the world I am not exaggerating. Next Saturday I will be boarding a flight from LA to Melbourne, which is on the list of the world’s longest flights. This will be my ninth long/ultra long haul flight in the past six months. A long haul flight is considered 6-12 hours whereas an ultra-long haul is anything greater than 12 hours.

I definitely would not consider myself an expert in this field but I am getting quite a bit of experience in not losing my sanity while sitting knees to chest in a claustrophobic airplane cabin (doesn’t that sound appealing- who wants to come visit?!). Here are my tips of the trade…

Where to Sit

First class, duh. BUT for those of us regular folks who don’t have that luxury we have to turn to other means of comfort in the dreaded economy cabin. Depending on how much you spent on your flight, upgrading to economy plus for a couple hundred dollars can be worth it for those extra few inches of leg room, especially if you can get in the bulk head or exit row aisles.

If I am alone then I always try and get a window seat so I don’t have to worry about creepily falling asleep on a stranger. If I am flying with Travis, I try the whole ‘book the aisle and window seat’ trick and cross my fingers a stranger doesn’t want to sit in the middle. This works the majority of the time and if it doesn’t then you just have to ask them to switch with one of you.  Even when it’s just me I try and pick rows that have someone already sitting in the aisle seat so there’s a smaller chance of someone joining you.

If you are a heavy sleeper, try to avoid the aisle seat or you might trap your neighbors who need to get up or go to the bathroom.

What to Pack

Typical items in my carry-on include:

  • snacks (depending on the airline carrier- some are much more generous than others)
  • empty water bottle that can be filled on the plane
  • headphones, ipad, phone and charger for entertainment purposes
  • lightweight change of clothes, tooth brush, toothpaste and moisturizer to freshen up when we land
  • neck pillow, eye mask and natural sleep aid to ensure a bear-like hibernation will occur
  • blue or black pen to fill out customs forms

What’s Going Down

Once I get on the plane, I like to get out my necessities and chunk my carry-on in the overhead compartment so that it doesn’t take up any of the precious, little leg room I have. I get settled in, watch a movie or TV show while I wait for dinner to be served.

This is NOT the time to pass out. Nothing in the world is worse than falling asleep in the first hour of the flight only to wake up and check the flight path only to find that there are TEN more hours to go, or worse TWELVE more hours. There is plenty of time to sleep and it will be much more enjoyable after a full belly of gross airplane food.

If you time it out correctly, when you wake up it should be breakfast time and possibly enough time to squeeze in another movie or tv show. Also, make sure you fill out any customs or immigration paperwork you have been given so you are prepared when you land. Some people also choose this time to freshen up or change in the airplane bathroom but I prefer to do this routine in a slightly more spacious environment aka the airport bathroom. Depending on how much travel I still have left, I typically brush my teeth, change clothes, moisturize and touch up my make-up.

What To Do

  • Wear lightweight, loose clothing- I stick to maxi dresses or workout clothes that can be layered. Bring a scarf or cardigan that can be used as a blanket as well.
  • Don’t wear tight shoes, your feet will swell. Just ask my grandpa about the time he wore cowboy boots on a flight to Australia. Spoiler Alert: he disembarked the plane with them in his hands.
  • Hydrate!!! Drink water and bring chapstick to counter the dry lips that tend to be unavoidable.
  • Walk around and stretch as much as you can. Ain’t nobody got time for blood clots.

What NOT To Do

  • Recline your seat all the way back- nobody likes that.
  • Go to the bathroom barefoot or in your socks- for obvious sanitary reasons.
  • Put your bare feet on the armrest in front of you. Yes- people do this.
  • Talk loudly. People are trying to sleep.
  • Bring any sort of smelly food on board, your neighbor will not be pleased
  • Don’t ask if you can have anyone else’s food they didn’t eat (this has happened to my sister multiple times and it is odd)

Hope these tips help you on future travels, let me know if there’s any I forgot!

Linking up with Travel Tuesday