6 Tips on How to Survive a Long Flight in Coach

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With a 10 to 12-hour flight schedule, you may wonder how to survive a long flight in economy. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make the time fly by.

The space in economy seats is already small, so if you are over six feet tall it might feel cramped. While 2 or 3 hours may be slightly doable, a 10 to 12-hour flight sounds unbearable.

Long flights can be tough. After countless flights from the east coast to the west coast and numerous international flights, we’re wrote this article to share our best tips for surviving a long haul.

How to Survive a Long Flight

Choose Your Seat Wisely

This is probably the most expensive decisions that will help you survive a long flight. Imagine if you could fly first class. You’d have wider seats and fewer passengers competing for the single restroom in your section.

However, many travelers choose a coach because it’s more affordable, especially when traveling with family.

So, you should select a seat in an economy that will help you travel comfortably.  

If you’re traveling solo, the window seat will give you a place to rest your head. If you’re traveling with a companion, the aisle seat will give you easy access to the restroom and room to stretch your legs.

When traveling with family, you’ll want to sit closely together for the needs of small children.

This can be a challenge if seats are not pre-assigned and boarding is first-come, first-served. In this situation, you may want to pay for 1 person to board early and save seats for the rest of the family.

If you have any special needs or preferences, be sure to request them when you book your ticket.

Dress Comfortably

You’ll be sitting down for a while, so avoid tight clothing or anything that will make you uncomfortable after a few hours.

Avoid shoes that will pinch or rub. Consider bringing along a scarf or cardigan in case the temperature on the plane gets very cool at a high altitude.

You also need to take into account how the vents are managed by other passengers for their comfort. Dress in layers when you can. If you want to survive a long flight, comfort is key.

Bring Snacks and Drinks

Airplane food can be hit or miss, so it’s always a good idea to bring snacks and drinks just in case.

Water is especially important because you’ll need to stay hydrated in high altitudes and it will help combat jet lag later on.

Remember — water is not allowed when passing through the security check, so bring an empty water bottle instead and fill it up at a water station after the TSA.

When you get hungry, having some protein snacks on hand will help stave off hunger pangs until the meal service comes around.

To survive a long flight while staying healthy and cutting costs, the best portable protein snacks are peanuts, yogurt, and protein bars.

Get Up and Move Around

It may seem counterintuitive, but another way to survive a long flight is to get up and move around every two or three hours will help keep your energy levels up during the flight.

Walking up and down the aisle or doing some simple stretching exercises in your seat will help keep your blood flowing and make it easier to fall asleep later on.

Bring Entertainment

Whether it’s a good book, your favorite magazine, or even just a stack of Sudoku puzzles, having something to do will help make the time pass more quickly.

In-flight entertainment is one of the best ways to survive a long flight. It can include movies, TV shows, talk shows, music and podcasts. Bring your own wired earbuds for listening comfort or use an adaptor.

Here are a few more ideas on what to bring:

  • e-readers
  • video games
  • music
  • travel journals
  • Airfly adaptor (for wireless inflight connection)

Spread Out and Get Some Sleep

We can’t recommend this enough! When the gates close, look into another row for three consecutive empty seats. This will give you enough room to lie down after meals are served.

Another option is to find an open window seat where you can rest your head. 

While you may be tempted to stay awake, the change in the time zone makes it difficult to stay alert after landing.

A set of ear plugs, an eye mask, a small blanket, a neck pillow, and noise-canceling headphones will give invaluable comfort during the flight.  It will help you survive a long flight and it can also help tune out any chatty seatmates or loud little ones. 

Final Thoughts on How to Survive a Long Flight

Is hard enough on the wallet to have to pay high dollars for overseas flights, but there are ways to save money that for your next vacation.

However, you can make an overseas flight a bit easier for your mind and body when you have essentials for international travel. No one enjoys being cooped up on a long flight, but with a bit of planning, it doesn’t have to be torture.

By choosing your seat wisely, dressing comfortably, bringing snacks and drinks, getting up and moving around every few hours, and bringing entertainment, you won’t need to fear long flights. Even the slightest adjustments can make it feel like a walk in the park.

Safe travels!


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