Tips for surviving long haul flights

July 22, 2011 by Flight Centre UK

 

We first met Flight Centre consultant Miles Buckeridge when he shared his humorous first experience of Oz. In this post we ask him to share his tips on surviving long haul flights.

If you’re in for the long haul there is no one magic answer for making it work for you. Inbound flights provide a very different challenge to outbound flights and you will need to consider whether, when and where to stop over on both legs of the journey. Will you sleep, read, work or enjoy a movie marathon courtesy of the in flight entertainment system? Here are a few things for you to consider before taking the long haul plunge.

Going somewhere

Stop Over

Breaking things up into manageable portions isn’t just for teething toddlers and mergers and acquisition agents! If you’re travelling to an antipodean end point, having a stop in Asia or the Middle East can give your body a rest and add a completely different filter to future memories and holiday pics. Booking your holiday with Flight Centre means that not only are you certain to get a good deal but you also gain the advantage of dealing with, on a personal basis, an expert (and often devilishly handsome) travel consultant, who could advise you on things such as when travelling to Australia if you fly with BA / Qantas we can book you a stop over in a different location in each direction – maybe you fancy Dubai on the way there but Bangkok on the way back? We have the widest choice of airfares on sale in the UK so you get more options and the best price via our Fly for Free promise*.

Flying into time

Before becoming a travel consultant the term “flying into time”, for me, conjured images of flux capacitators and wild white-haired scientists with a penchant for Deloreans.  Since my initiation, however I have learned that flying into time simply means flying across a line of latitude in a westerly direction, so that the clocks at the destination are behind those of the origin, sometimes making the seemingly impossible possible (at local times: arriving before you’ve left). If you understand international time differences, you can use them to your advantage, balancing your body clock by choosing when to sleep, when to eat and when to call it a day, or a night according to the time in your destination. It’s always worth looking into departure times (and scheduled arrival times) with your travel consultant, if you prefer to sleep on flights, then it may be best to chose an evening flight.

That’s entertainment

Some people can’t sleep on planes, I am one of them, even on 15 hour marathon journeys – so the key is occupying the mind and the best way to do that is by positively embracing the onboard entertainment of the major airlines. There is a great variation in the quality and quantity of the attention distracters offered by the airlines, for example: Virgin Atlantic is widely acknowledged to have some of the best onboard entertainment and Air New Zealand offers onboard wine tasting. So if the aviation insomnia gremlins tend to pay you a visit, consult your Flight Centre consultant for the best methods of keeping them at bay on your particular routing. When you arrive, the adrenalin harvested from the excitement of walking into a completely different world to the one you left but hours before usually keeps you going till nightfall.

Room with a view

The airline

When choosing the airline you wish to take you from point A to point ahhhh – most people will instantly identify price as the most important factor. Of course cost is a worthwhile consideration; but there are some things that you can’t put a price on – like functioning knee caps by the grace of a generous seat pitch. Emirates and Malaysian airlines have an additional 2 inches of space in their economy cabins when compared to most of the other airlines, and for those of us blessed with a long pair of pins this can make the world of difference. As mentioned above some airlines excel in entertainment options and others in dining and comfort. Cathay Pacific for example have ergonomically designed seats to cradle you from lift off to touch down.

Upgrade

The ultimate resolution is to upgrade: are unparalleled in providing comfort in the sky. If you really really really dislike air travel, then these options give you a ‘third way’ (to going or not going): a lie flat bed and a comfortable place to sleep. We can’t all afford these options but premium economy is available with some airlines (BA and Air New Zealand to name two – the latter of which also have an option to upgrade their economy seats into lay down sky couches) and this comes with considerable amounts of extra leg room and seat recline angle. The price isn’t always as high as you might expect for an upgrade, speak to your Flight Centre consultant who can advise you on how to get the best deal. You can even upgrade on individual legs of the journey to make sure you get some shut eye on a night flight at a cheaper price than a full journey upgrade.

Long haul travel doesn’t have to be a chore if you’re prepared, and even if none of the above works for you – just close your eyes and think of…… wherever you’re headed!

For more of Miles’ helpful advice send him an email or pop into the Flight Centre Uxbridge Store, 182 High Street, The Chimes Shopping Centre, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 1LA.

*If we can’t find you a cheaper airfare in the same cabin, you’ll fly for free!