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10 Ways to Stay Comfortable During a Long Flight

Long flights in economy class can sometimes be really tough — you have to stay seated for a long time, your usual sleep schedule gets ruined, and your flight attendants decide for you what and when you’re going to eat. However, if you’re thoroughly prepared, all of these little inconveniences won’t make you feel exhausted even after a long-haul flight from one corner of the world to another.

Bright Side made a list of 10 hacks that will help you survive a long flight without damaging your nerves and body.

10. Bring a tennis ball.

When you’re sitting, place a tennis ball or a massage ball in the small of your back. This little hack will help you release muscle stiffness and prevent lower back pain during a flight. Besides that, you’ll get a nice DIY back massage.

9. Plan your bathroom usage.

The ideal time to use the airplane bathroom is just after flight attendants have served food and moved out of the aisle.

People usually wait until their trays are collected before getting up from their seats and heading to deal with their needs. So while other passengers are occupied with their food and waiting for their trays to be taken away by the crew, you can enjoy your time in a relatively clean and peaceful restroom.

8. Create some space for your legs.

You may think that it’s more convenient to keep your belongings close to you during a flight. But, if you cram all your hand-luggage bags under the seat in front of you, you won’t have enough room for your legs.

To prevent deep vein thrombosis, it’s crucial to keep the space by your feet free. So next time, try to reduce the number of your onboard personal items to a minimum and store them in the overhead bin.

7. Pack some extra snacks.

Plane food is usually low in protein and high in carbohydrates. So if you care about your health or just want to stick to your own eating schedule, сonsider taking your own snacks on board. Take a baggy of almonds or dried apricots, carrot or cucumber sticks, apples, bananas, or protein bars — choose whatever you like and chew them when passing the time.

6. Dress in layers and keep your feet warm.

You never know what temperature is awaiting for you onboard. Some planes are too hot while others, on the contrary, are too cold. To easily adapt to these changes in temperature, always wear several layers of clothing. In this case, you can just peel off or add an extra cardigan to feel comfortable again.

After boarding, take off your shoes and put on a pair of cozy socks. They will keep your feet warm and prevent them from swelling by giving them some breathing space.

5. Protect your sleep.

If you plan on sleeping during your flight, don’t forget your eye mask - it will help block out all the surrounding light that sometimes can be really annoying. Noise-canceling headphones or earplugs would also be useful, especially if there’s a screaming baby near you or people are speaking too loudly.

When sleeping, make sure that you wear your seat belt over your blanket or your outer layer of clothing so when belt-on light comes, flight attendants will see that you're already buckled up and won’t have to disturb you.

4. Bring an empty water bottle.

To prevent headache and fatigue caused by dehydration, you should drink about 8 ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air. And although you can ask your flight attendants to bring you another fresh cup from time to time, it's better to grab your own empty bottle before boarding. You can fill it up at the airport or right in the plane. And don't forget to finish it by the end of your flight.

3. Stay hygienic.

Even during a long flight, try to stick to your daily routine as close as possible - brush your teeth, wash your face, and don't forget to moisturize your skin. This will make you feel more comfortable before you fall asleep and refreshed in the morning.

Your personal set of essentials should include the following things:

  • a toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • hand sanitizer
  • sanitary wipes
  • a moisturizer
  • a deodorant
  • lip balm

You can add some of your favorite toiletries to this list that you usually use to take care of yourself, but don't wear any makeup if you don't want to clog your pores or get pimples.

2. Use a seat pad.

If you're a seasoned traveler, you probably know how important it is to have your own travel pillow that supports your neck and protects it from injuries during take-off or turbulence. However, if you want to feel super comfy when flying in economy class, it's also better to bring a seat pad on board. You can place it right on your seat or roll it to make an extra pillow for your arms or back.

1. Practice some yoga moves.

To protect your legs from swelling and prevent back pain, do the following set of exercises at least every 2 hours during a long-haul flight:

  1. Interlace your fingers and turn your palms up. Raise your arms toward the ceiling and stretch your spine for as long as you can.
  2. Keeping your fingers interlaced and your arms outstretched, slowly twist to the right. Then return to the center and twist to the left side. Repeat 3-4 times.
  3. Place your elbows on top of the seat in front of you about shoulder-distance apart. Relax your head and let it fall through your upper arms until you feel the stretch in your back and neck.
  4. Keeping your spine straight, tilt your head to the right. Place your right hand on your head and gently press it to deepen the stretch. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat on your left side.
  5. Straighten your right leg and stretch it out as far as you can. Then repeat with the other leg.

Do you have your own hacks that help you survive long flights? Tell us about them in the comments!

Illustrated by Daniil Shubin and Sergey Raskovalov for Bright Side
Bright Side/Tips & tricks/10 Ways to Stay Comfortable During a Long Flight
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