So here’s the lowdown on what you might need to know about flying for almost 24 hours straight to anywhere.
There’s a long time between you and your destination, any plans you have made about what will ease the jet lag are hopeless and undoubtedly if you’ve chosen a night flight like we did then temporary narcolepsy will soon set in and just be glad you can sleep through most of it.
For the bits in between you’d do well to buy some flight socks, the cankles aren’t a good look and more so DVT is a real possibility on long haul flights. The socks definitely helped with water retention around our ankles, though some level of cankle is assured on these trips. Keeping yourself as mobile as possible helps, walk up and down the isles ever hour or so and a few stretches and twists help, trust me there’s plenty of time for all this.
On that note, staying fully hydrated is a must, the small glasses of water they provide aren’t enough to do this, especially if you’re enjoying the free mini bottles of wine – and who isn’t?! – so you could bring an empty water bottle onboard and ask them to fill it or if you ask frequently enough (like us) they might just give you the litre bottle. I’m not sure the chocolates I threw at the steward had anything to do with this gift of water, but you could bring some kind of token to offer the onboard crew, a thank you can sometimes go a long way on these flights.
Moisturiser is a must, slap it on anywhere and everywhere as frequently as you feel necessary and then some more. Remember it can’t be bigger than 100ml bottle but you could bring a body cream and face cream and throw in a moisturising lip balm, these all go a long way to making you feel human with the air con and cabin pressure working to make you feel like a dried-up prune. A face wash or general body wash is nice too, as long as someone isn’t banging on the toilet door whilst your washing your bits. Not everyone is as polite as the British. Awkward.
Spare pants and some panty liners for the ladies keep down-under, excuse the pun, feeling fresh, wet wipes and delicate wipes are a good shout too, they just make you feel fresher. A spare top and some roll on deoderant will make you feel rejuvenated after a sleep; plus it’s all something to do and helps divide up your hours or days of flight time. We flew on a night flight on a Tuesday and managed to stay in the midst of the night until we arrived in Sydney at 6am on a Thursday, it was all very confusing. On reflection perhaps it’s better to stay a night somewhere in between or take a day flight, but you live and learn.
Toothbrush and toothpaste is a must for making you feel human. Don’t forget.
Pack a few nibbles. For the take off and landing you might need something chewy as you can get a bit congested with the air con and air pressure, which can be painful with the sudden change in air pressure, whilst the meals can leave you feeling a little underwhelmed it’s nice to have a little treat or something satisfying. We stopped over in Singapore for a couple of hours and having no currency to spend there we were glad for a packet of crisps and some chocs I’d shoved in my bag to while away the added hours, plus it’s surprising how hungry you can get.
Talking of congestion, I’d pack some antihistamines, an olbas oil stick and some painkillers, never underestimate how painful blocked sinuses can be, and aches and cramps are not unusual on the long flights – have you considered the positions you’re going to sleep in?
For entertainment between the snoozing and eating, I’d bring some decent headphones onboard so you can hear the films properly – ours were disastrous despite flying with Singapore Air and we couldn’t figure out what the plot line was for love nor money. We didn’t get ear plugs on our flight which seemed unusual, but when everyone’s snoring you’d wonder why anyone would deny you this simple mercy, instead I shoved in my horrible headphones and listened to the classical radio channel, which at one point played Westlife – I wasn’t disgusted just confused. If it’s all a bit hopeless bring your iPod and have it backed up with some awesome playlists and a good book.
For comfort blankets and mini pillows are usually provided but a neck pillow is a saving grace for the seated sleeping position, saves on a neck ache and that inglorious dribble seeping out of the corner of your mouth. Otherwise strap in and settle down and be preppared for a long ass haul and hope to god it’s worth it. Also know you’re going to have jet lag there’s no escaping it, so just go with it and welcome it as humanely and hydrated as possible.