Insider Travel Tips and Hacks

8 Expert-Tested Tips for Surviving Long-Haul Flights (Yes, Even in Coach!)

Travel influencer Johnny Jet shares his personal experience with surviving long-haul flights, even in economy.

Johnny Jet (real name: John DiScala) is the expert and blogger behind the eponymous site JohnnyJet.com. He appears on Forbes' list of Top 10 travel influencers, and flies an average of 150,000 miles and visits 20 countries annually. Jet Set has teamed up with the professional globe trotter to bring you an exclusive collection of Johnny Jet's pro travel tips and hacks. Here's Johnny...

A trend in air travel is long-haul flights — ever longer-haul flights, in fact — which allow passengers to save time by not having to stop and change planes. The newest long-haul is the 9,010-mile Perth to London flight, which clocks in at 17 hours and 20 minutes. And that’s just the second longest flight in the world since the 9,032-mile Auckland to Doha flight (17 hours and 40 minutes) has the honors… for the time being.

Later this year, Singapore Airlines will bring back its SIN to Newark flight, which was introduced on June 28th, 2004 but ended in 2013. I know the date so well because I was on the inaugural flight, which took 18 hours and 25 minutes. That was just one of the countless long-haul flights I’ve been on. And yes, I’ve sat in coach on many of them so I know how to survive a long-haul flight. Below are eight tips for how to survive a long-haul flight — and press play on my video above to see more!

1.  Go prepared.

Charge your devices just in case the airline doesn’t have power ports. The airline or SeatGuru.com will tell you if the aircraft you will be on has power or not. Also bring analog entertainment options like books, magazines or games to keep you busy.

2.  Dress comfortably.

You don’t want to wear anything restrictive. If you like to dress up, that’s fine. But after takeoff, change into pajamas or something loose fitting, then change back just before landing. That’s what many business travelers, athletes, and celebrities do.

3.  Be smart about sleeping pills.

I don’t ever use sleeping pills myself, but I know a lot of travelers rely on them. Always consult your doctor first before taking anything and never take a new medication for the first time on an airplane.

4.  BYO snacks.

I always bring drinks and snacks, even on short flights. You never know if there’s going to be a delay and you don’t want to be at the mercy of the flight attendants.

5.  Buckle up.

If you’re planning to sleep, make sure your fastened seat belt is visible over your clothing or blanket. That way, the flight attendants won’t have to wake you when they do their safety checks if the seatbelt sign goes on. If your seatbelt is visibly fastened, they won’t disturb you.

6.  Get an emergency row or bulkhead seat.

Emergency row and bulkhead seats usually have a lot more legroom than the other seats; that’s why airlines charge more for them. Whenever I’m in one and have a long flight, after takeoff, I bring down my rolling briefcase from the overhead bin and put a blanket, pillow, or sweatshirt on it and turn it into a leg rest. Sometimes, I even have more legroom than first-class passengers that way! Just be sure to put your bag back up before landing.

7.  Bring chocolates.

When I travel, I usually bring three inexpensive bags of chocolates: one for the gate agents, one for the flight attendants, and one for me! Why? Because the flight attendants can really make or break your flight and they’ll be sure to appreciate this simple acknowledgment of their hard work.

8.  Bring a sweater.

No matter where you’re flying, even if it’s to Hawaii or Fiji, always bring a sweater because airplanes are usually cold. I always bring socks, a sweater, and even a winter hat because if I’m sitting by the exit row I know it can be freezing cold.

Although I see the appeal of long-haul flights since they shave off a few hours from total travel time, I prefer not to take them. I’d rather break up the trip and explore more places instead of just flying over them. How about you? What’s the longest flight you’ve taken?

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