Sitting on board a plane for the best part of 12 hours or more is never a pleasant experience, but we can make it that bit more bearable by having a few choice items within arm’s reach.
- Headphones. Whilst the pair provided by the aircraft (if you’re lucky enough to have some) will be okay, you’d be much better off with a pair of comfortable, and ideally noise cancelling headphones. Even if you’re not watching something, you can create a nice bubble of relative quiet that will dull that constant, wearing engine noise.
- Wipes. To be used in any appropriate circumstance, but at the very least you can keep yourself clean and refreshed throughout the flight and arrive at your destination that little bit less groggy.
- Pashmina/Scarf and a travel pillow. The bean bag varieties of travel pillow are infinitely preferable to the inflatable kind, but do take up more space in your cabin baggage, so be aware! A pashmina or soft scarf will provide a nice alternative to the sometimes scratchy aeroplane provided blankets.
- Fresh socks, and any other clothing you can fit in hand luggage. After 12 hours you won’t be quite as rosy as you were when you boarded the plane, but a pair of fresh socks will make you feel that little bit less like a tramp. You can also buy special flight socks (similar to the socks used in hospitals for immobile patients) that will aid circulation in your limbs, to avoid achey feet upon arrival.
- A (very large) bottle of water. You’ll need to purchase this air side, since you won’t get it through security. However, a bottle of water is a vital investment for a long flight. Drink as much of the caffeine and alcohol free beverages as you can on board as well. The arid cabin air will dehydrate you, and a few extra trips to the bathroom is no bad thing as a quick walk up and down the cabin will keep your circulation going, avoid swollen ankles on arrival and help prevent DVT.
- Entertainment. Don’t rely on the in flight entertainment system working, or it being to your taste. An iPod, iPad, book, magazine, puzzle compendium…whatever might help you while away those long hours in the clouds. Don’t forget a pen as well – particularly useful if you need to fill in arrival documents as they rarely carry enough pens on board.
In general, some comfortable, layered clothing (it is always hot or freezing on a plane), and as little cabin baggage as you can bear, since anything you have with you may end up taking up precious leg room space. In general, try and relax! I am a nervous flyer, so some Kalms and Rescue Remedy help me feel as though I’m more in control of my worries, whilst not being strong enough to actually do anything. Think of yourself in “destination time zone” to try and work off the jet lag before you get there. I had some eye spray in my bag as well, to try and avoid those tired eyes upon arrival, since I was slightly concerned my bleary eyed self wouldn’t find my way to customs!
Have a good trip!