Tips for long-haul flights - Flightright

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Tips for long-haul flights

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The most important facts about “Tips for long-haul flights”

  • Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines are among the top 5 best airlines in the world every year.
  • Various statistics show that flights are cheapest at the beginning of the year.
  • The most expensive months are May and June.
  • Travelers should arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before departure.
  • Advance seat reservations are advisable for long-haul flights.
  • For longer layovers: Pay attention to seat spacing and seat width.
  • Regular fluid intake prevents dehydration during the flight.
  • Food and drink on board are often expensive, so it is advisable to take snacks with you.

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Many passengers will agree. Long-haul flights are usually exhausting and energy-sapping. The lack of legroom, the poor air quality and the many fellow passengers make the time seem like an eternity and passengers can usually hardly wait to finally arrive at their destination. That’s why good preparation for the flight is all the more important. Find out here about the best tips for a pleasant long-haul flight. 

Planning & booking – What do you need to consider for a long-haul flight? 

A long-haul flight depends on good planning and booking. This often saves a lot of time and, above all, a lot of money. Below we answer the most important questions on these topics, such as the cheapest long-haul flights and when a flight counts as a long-haul flight. 

When is it cheapest to book a long-haul flight? 

In order to book a long-haul flight reasonably cheaply, it is important in which month you book. Various statistics show that flights are cheapest at the beginning of the year. The most expensive months are May and June, which is why you should compare prices carefully when booking flights there. If you want to book a long-haul flight, it is best to do so in November, December or January. 

Which airline is the best for long-haul flights? 

Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines are among the top 5 best airlines in the world every year. Especially for long-haul flights, they offer a level of service and comfort that is unparalleled in the aviation industry. The two airlines are also very well positioned in the areas of entertainment and catering. Among European airlines, Lufthansa and Air France are a good alternative for long-haul flights. 

When do I have to be at the airport for a long-haul flight? 

For long-haul flights, travelers should arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before departure. Whether it is a rush hour or not makes little difference here. This is due to the fact that a long-haul flight is almost always an international flight and it takes longer to check passports and other things, for example. There are also usually significantly more passengers on a long-haul flight than on a domestic flight, which can also lead to a time delay. You should also check the airline’s recommendation. 

How long is a long-haul flight? 

The European Union classifies flights over a distance of 3,500 km as long-haul flights, while the Aviation Handbook considers flights over 3,000 km and lasting more than 3½ hours to be long-haul flights. 

How long does it take to fly to … ? 

There are thousands of different long-haul flights that connect all continents and thus the entire globe. Whether from Europe to Asia, from South America to Australia or from Africa across to North America. In the globalized world, all destinations are usually only 1-2 two flights away from each other. Since October 2018, the longest flight in the world has been the Singapore to New York route operated by Singapore Airlines, covering 16,700 kilometers and taking around 18 hours and 45 minutes. Below is a list of how long it takes passengers to fly from the United states to these destinations.

Starting pointEnd pointFlight time (approx.)
USA (New York)Dubai12-14 h
USA (New York)Maldives18-20 h
USA (New York)Hawaii10-11 h
USA (New York)Los Angeles6 h
USA (New York)Thailand17-18 h
USA (New York)Egypt10-12 h
USA (New York)Auckland, New Zealand21-23 h
USA (New York)Havana, Cuba3-4 h
USA (New York)Port Louis, Mauritius18-20 h
USA (New York)Tokyo, Japan13-14 h
USA (New York)Beijing, China13-15 h
USA (New York)Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic3-4 h
USA (New York)Abu Dhabi13-14 h
USA (New York)Nassau, Bahamas3 h
USA (New York)Toronto, Canada1.5 h
USA (New York)Sydney, Australia20-22 h
USA (New York)Bora Bora16-18 h
USA (New York)Zanzibar, Tanzania16-18 h
USA (New York)Johannesburg, South Africa15-16 h

Packing hand luggage – What do you need for a long flight?

Long-haul flights can take a toll on the body. This makes it all the more important to know exactly what you need in your hand luggage for a long flight to make your journey as comfortable as possible.

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What do I need in my hand luggage for long-haul flights?

In order not to overload your hand luggage, you need to weigh up before the long-haul flight what is absolutely necessary during the flight and what can also be stowed in your checked baggage. To make the decision easier, the following is a list of the items that should go in your hand luggage.

  • Documents and passport
  • Valuables
  • Headphones and adapters
  • Neck pillow
  • Sleeping mask
  • Earplugs
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap or deodorant
  • Cosmetics
  • Thick socks

What is allowed in hand luggage on long-haul flights?

When it comes to electronic devices in particular, many air travelers are often unsure whether they are allowed to take this or that device in their hand luggage. With a few exceptions, almost all electronic devices are permitted. These include:

  • Smartphone, tablet, laptop
  • Navigation device
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Digital camera
  • Bluetooth loudspeaker
  • Drones
  • Flashlight

What to wear on a long-haul flight?

For short domestic flights or for a city trip to Paris or London, this question may not be particularly important, but it is essential for long-haul flights. What should you wear on a long flight? There are several points to consider when answering this question.

What to wear on long-haul flights?

The first thing to remember is to wear comfortable clothing for the long-haul flight. In most cases, you will be sitting for over ten hours in a position that is not particularly comfortable and does not offer much freedom of movement. It is therefore not advisable to wear nice but uncomfortable clothes. You should also consider what the weather will be like in the country of arrival. If you fly back to the USA from a warmer destination like Hawaii in shorts and a tank top in December, it could be very chilly on arrival, and the chances of spending Christmas in bed with a cold would be high. The situation is similar the other way round, namely when you fly from cold USA to the warmth. It therefore makes sense to wear comfortable clothing that is appropriate for the region, such as comfortable linen or jogging pants, leggings and tops that are warm but perhaps not particularly itchy. This could be very uncomfortable on a long flight.

Seat selection for long-haul flights – a comfortable seat is half the battle

Seats on an airplane can vary considerably in terms of comfort. Especially on a long-haul flight, this can have a major impact on the well-being of passengers. Reserving your favorite seat in advance can be a great advantage. For example, if you prefer to sit by the window to look out and lean your head against the side of the plane, it makes sense to reserve this seat in advance. If you prefer to sit in the aisle because your legs are quite long, for example, it is also possible to reserve such a seat in advance. Please note! With some airlines, advance seat reservation at online check-in is free of charge, especially for long-haul flights, but many airlines also charge a surcharge for this. You should therefore find out in advance what the airline in question offers. Find out more about the best seats on the plane here.

Quench your thirst on the plane – where is drinking free on long-haul flights?

On long-haul flights, unlike on many short-haul flights these days, drinking is largely always free of charge. This applies in particular to non-alcoholic drinks. For alcoholic drinks, it can vary from airline to airline, but beer and wine are usually also free of charge. Some airlines may charge extra for higher-percentage drinks, even on long-haul flights.

What is there to drink on long-haul flights?

The range of drinks on long-haul flights is usually relatively large. The selection ranges from all non-alcoholic drinks such as water, tea and soft drinks to alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine and spirits. Alcoholic drinks in particular may not be free on certain airlines. It is advisable to simply ask in advance which drinks are included in the price. It is particularly interesting if you are flying with an international airline from another country and can try the local drinks. For example, who has ever drunk Thai cola or Japanese beer before?

Food on board – What is there to eat on long-haul flights?

The airlines have very different approaches to food on the plane. It ranges from simple reheated pasta to a multi-course meal. We are referring here to basic economy class, as there are no limits to the food served on the plane in business and first class. A small meal is included in the price of almost every airline’s long-haul flights. Shortly after take-off, there is usually a hot meal, which usually includes a small salad, a main course and a dessert, and before landing there is usually a breakfast with bread or rolls, spread and egg. Almost every airline also offers vegetarian and vegan meals, which often have to be ordered during online check-in. If you want to eat something more indulgent and more, this is possible with almost every airline for an additional charge. Tip: Many airlines also allow you to order a second meal free of charge.

What to eat before a long-haul flight?

Before a long-haul flight, it is advisable to eat very rich and fresh food. This is because the food on the plane is not always particularly fresh, which means that you do not get enough vitamins beforehand. If you have a sensitive stomach when flying, you should eat light food before the flight, as there is a risk of vomiting. In addition, you should not eat anything too greasy before the flight. So perhaps skip the burger at the Airport and go for a fresh smoothie instead.

How often is there food on a long-haul flight?

There are usually two hot meals on long-haul flights. Once at the beginning and once at the end of the flight. Depending on the airline, there may also be small snacks and fruit in between. With some airlines, only one meal is included in the price and the second must be purchased. A few airlines generally only offer hot meals for an additional charge.

Entertainment against boredom – what can you do on a long-haul flight?

There are various ways to ward off boredom on a long-haul flight. Sleeping on long-haul flights is probably the most obvious option to make the time pass more quickly. However, there are a few other things you can do during the flight.

What can you do to combat boredom on an airplane?

We have prepared a list for you with things that should help with boredom on a long-haul flight:

  • sleep
  • watch a movie or series
  • Look for a conversation with fellow travelers
  • Read a book
  • Listen to music or an audio book
  • eat
  • Track your flight online free of charge(flight tracking)

Healthy to your destination – ear pressure, nausea and co.

A long-haul flight is always associated with a high level of stress for the body. The consequences of long-haul flights can be, for example, nausea or thick legs after a long flight, which is why it is possible to take a thrombosis injection before a long flight.

Why do I feel nauseous on a long-haul flight?

Travel sickness can be the result of a processing conflict in the brain. This is where the vomiting center is activated when unusual movements occur due to turbulence, for example. If a passenger then has a fear of flying or is generally rather nervous, the risk of nausea when flying is also increased.

Thanks to modern technology, new passenger airplanes usually fly very smoothly these days. For this reason, symptoms such as fear of flying, nausea and vomiting primarily occur during take-off and landing.

What to do about ear pressure after a flight?

Ear pressure after a flight is an unpleasant feeling. There are a few simple ways to get rid of the pressure:

  • Yawn
  • Suck on a sweet
  • Chew gum for longer
  • Frequent drinking helps due to the swallowing motion
  • Eat frequently
  • Move your jaw slowly back and forth
  • Use earplugs

How do I get rid of the pressure on my ears?

If air travelers feel pressure in their ears during a flight, there are a few simple tips on how to relieve the pressure. Repeated yawning, chewing, swallowing and moving your jaw back and forth can help, especially before take-off and landing.

When do I need to wear compression stockings on a long-haul flight?

If knee-high compression stockings are worn at least two hours before a long flight and during the entire flight, the risk of swollen legs and thrombosis is demonstrably lower, as compression stockings promote the return flow of blood from the legs back to the heart. The stockings are particularly effective in combination with leg movements.

Taking a long-haul flight with bronchitis and antibiotics?

If you suffer from bronchitis, you can often still fly. The prerequisite is that you do not feel short of breath or have a lack of oxygen. You should not fly if you have a serious lung disease, such as pneumonia. In an emergency, you should always contact a doctor beforehand. Antibiotics are also permitted in hand luggage and aspirin can often help on long flights.

Fear of flying – how can I survive a long-haul flight?

Many people suffer from a fear of flying for a variety of reasons. Claustrophobia on the plane, the feeling of being trapped and the flight itself are just some of the reasons. Of course, it is not easy to relieve passengers of this fear so easily, but below we have compiled a list of things that can alleviate the feeling of fear of flying.

Is a long-haul flight dangerous?

Long-haul flights have never been as safe as they are today. Millions of people fly by plane every year. In addition, safety and assistance systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated and safety regulations must also meet extremely high standards. The probability of being killed in an airplane crash is now around one in 130 million, which is significantly lower than in the 1970s, for example. The risk of being struck by lightning is significantly higher than a plane crash.

Are long-haul flights quieter?

Long-haul flights can often be quieter than short-haul flights, as long-haul aircraft are often more comfortable than short-haul aircraft. In addition, there are many hours between take-off and landing when the aircraft is high up in the air, which contributes to a quiet flight. Of course, turbulence can also occur on longer flights and can never be completely ruled out. However, it is important to know that this is completely normal and that long-haul flights in particular are well equipped to deal with such turbulence.

What can you do about fear of flying?

There are several tips and tricks that can help you overcome your fear of flying. It depends on the individual person which measures are successful and which are not. Measures that should be tried out are

  • talking about your fear of flying before the trip
  • Avoid general stress before the flight
  • Do not fly on an empty stomach
  • choose the right seat
  • dress properly for the flight
  • carry out relaxation exercises
  • fasten your seat belt

Where is the best place to sit if you are afraid of flying?

Passengers who suffer from a fear of flying should reserve a seat directly above the wings. This is where turbulence is felt the least. If these seats are no longer available and have already been reserved by other passengers, it is advisable to look for a seat at the front of the plane. It is usually much quieter there than at the back of the plane.

Long-haul flight with a baby and as a family

A long-haul flight as a family, especially with babies or small children, can be very stressful and time-consuming for everyone involved. That’s why it’s important to think carefully about what needs to be considered and organized before a long flight. To make this a little easier, we have put together a checklist for long-haul flights with babies and as a family, which will help you not to forget anything when planning:

  • Choose a good time to fly
  • Carry out a health check and vaccinations before the trip
  • Apply for a child’s passport if necessary
  • find out about baggage regulations (baby carriages etc.)
  • Reserve suitable seats
  • Check in online, if possible
  • Put suitable children’s clothing, drink, food and diapers in your hand luggage
  • Ask the crew for help if you have any problems

You might also be interested in this: Everything you need to know about the world’s largest airplanes

If something goes wrong – how much reimbursement for flight delays or cancelations?

Have problems occurred during your trip? Is your flight overbooked, delayed or canceled? Then you are entitled to compensation of up to 600 euros (less success commission) for a long-haul flight (over 3500 kilometers).

As experts in the field of air passenger law, we will enforce your right to compensation against the airline!

How can we help you?

Everything is fine with your hand baggage, but the airline is standing in the way of your vacation happiness? Is your flight overbooked, delayed or canceled?

Tip: Flightright can help you enforce your passenger rights! You can check your claims with us free of charge.

As experts in the field of air passenger rights, we enforce your right to compensation against the airline!

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