Wednesday, 19 April 2017

HOW TO | SURVIVE A LONELY LONG HAUL FLIGHT


In the past 21 years, I have been on more short and long haul flights than I could probably count. Saying this, I have only ever flown solo a handful of times. By living in the UK, it is so easy for us to visit some of Europe's best destinations in just a few hours, that even travelling to these cities can almost feel like a short car or train ride away from us. Travelling long haul on your lonesome however is another story, and a rather scary prospect.

Getting through an unknown airport by yourself, juggling the bag carrying and keeping yourself busy and de-stressed for the duration of it all - is it something you have ever done or would ever choose to do?

In terms of my own experiences, I have travelled a few times to America but have always been accompanied by family and friends. My first and only independent flight was to Thailand - for a whole 18 hours. On this journey, I had to catch a connecting flight half way in Doha, which was thankfully a lot easier and straight forward than my worrying-self first thought. 

Flying alone was something I couldn't avoid, but I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I am a pretty independent person anyway in that I enjoy my own company, so it's definitely something I wouldn't be afraid to do again in the future. If you don't mind spending time by yourself then there really isn't anything to be scared of - remember people do it all the time. 

I've decided to put together a short 'how-to' guide on how to survive a lonely long haul flight and avoid twiddling your thumbs for 8+ hours. For those of you that have a long journey planned in the near future or if you have always dreamed of packing up your bags and booking a one-way ticket, have a read of my top tips to gain some inspo.


1. SEAT ALLOCATION / FLIGHT CLASS.
On a busy long haul flight, it is essential to grab a good seat. If you're a window seat lover like me, make sure you check-in early online or ask nicely for one at the desk. Luckily for me, the return flight I was on heading to Manchester was pretty much empty - I had the whole row of seats to myself, winning.

Also, if you're cheeky enough at the desk you can always ask the sacred question, "Are there any spare seats in business or first class?" or "Any chance of an upgrade?". Sometimes you're lucky, but sometimes - not so much. Though if you never ask you'll never know.

2. BRING YOUR GO-TO GEAR. 
It doesn't take a genius to know how important headphones are for a long trip. For those all important films and music, well, if you forget yours then you'll be stuck with the below-average gifted ones from the airline. Other things include a sleeping mask, earplugs, comfy socks, blanket etc, but on the majority of occasions, the airline will often provide the essentials for you.

3. BOOZE.
Its always great/a priority to ease the nerves of flying without someone for the first time. Obviously it's not the best idea to get absolutely bladdered before a flight, but one or two will certainly knock the edge off. 

4. CHAT.
Maybe not so much with passengers, but there will always be someone in the same boat as you so making conversation with someone else isn't completely out of the question. However, it's always good to chat with staff on long journeys. I did this, not by choice, but because I drank too much booze in the departure lounge and suffered from altitude sickness 30,000ft in the air (lol). Luckily, I wasn't physically sick from it but I was feeling super dodgy. The lovely air hostess' were virtually my best pals afterwards, I think this was because I was alone too. 

5. EATING.
Most long haul flights have your meals, snacks and drinks included in the price of your ticket. So, why not make the most of it? Plus, it's important to fuel and drink fluids when flying. Another advantage of flying solo is not having to share your food with anyone either. I flew with Qatar airways to Bangkok and they were so generous with their food I couldn't believe it. I'm talking 2 meals on each flight, free chocolate & crisps baskets, free alcohol - you name it. I grabbed a few packets of crisps to save for later.

6. SLEEPING.
Long haul flights and squeaky aeroplane seats are generally not a good place to nod off in lets be honest. But having a little night-cap (see 3.) or bringing sleeping tablets for those nervous flyers will help a whole lot. There's nothing worse than not being able to get comfy and sleep during a long journey. Imagine missing that all important connection due to lack of sleep.

7. COMFORT.
No one wants to travel for 16 hours in jeans, come on. Baggy and lightweight clothing with trainers is without doubt the best option. But, remember it can get freezing in the air. Packing thin knitwear and other layers to throw on and off is vital for maximum comfort appropriate for napping. 

8. STRETCH YOUR LEGS.
This is so incredibly important for long journeys. Being static in the same seat and position isn't great for your circulation, especially when you're way up in the air. Walking around, even if its only to the toilet and back, will improve your circulation and avoid any aches and pains later. But unfortunately, it won't improve or take away the upcoming jet lag.

9. STAY ORGANISED
Last but not least is staying organised. Travelling alone gives you all sorts of responsibilities with no one to pick up the pieces if something goes wrong. Looking after your personal possessions and knowing where they are at all times - even on an aeroplane - is paramount. There's nothing like the stress of feeling like you've left something behind.

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4 comments

  1. Great post :) I've never had a chance to take a long flight because bus to Spain or France is cheaper (even if it means that I had to spend additional 12 hours in a bus to get to Czech Republic and then go back to Germany again) but I've heard that you can get an upgrade if you are one of the last people to get on the plane :)

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    1. Thanks dool, that's such a handy tip! I could never be late for a flight though I worry too much haha xxx

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  2. These are great tips! I hope to never have to take a long flight by myself, but you never know where life takes you, right? ;)

    Kim | Simply Lovebirds

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    1. It's a lot easier than you might think, but it is a daunting thought! Never say never ;) xxx

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