I have lots of thoughts on flying these days… no matter how much I travel, I still find it extremely unnerving- and the more I think about it, the more panicky I get. I literally have flown around the world- but I will never get used to flying. Anyway~ flying “long haul” means flying a very long trip and to me 8 hours is definitely a long time to be sitting in an airplane. I do have some thoughts on the things I do differently when flying “long haul” vs flying short distances. When booking, whenever possible, flying through the night helps me to re-set my circadian rhythm clock. Even though Germany is 7 hours ahead, the fact that we flew through the dark and arrived when it was early morning, helped my body adjust to the jet lag. When flying across the USA, that doesn’t seem to matter as much.
First, consider your seating. I always ALWAYS choose an aisle seat. Sure it might be nice to be by the window and see the clouds and the geography, but I much prefer being able to get up and move around whenever I want to. I also like the idea that I’m not squished between either a wall and a person or between two people. On our flight from Chicago to Germany, all four of us were on aisle seats all within a little square of each other- which made it easy to talk, but we were all comfortable, too.
Second, if you are at ALL a picky eater- order the vegetarian meal ahead of time. There might not be anything more disgusting to me than a little plate of airline meat. Is it chicken? Is it fish? Is it goat? Is it the sole of a leather shoe? I know you just told me it was chicken, but i’m not entirely sure.So, I’ll take my little plate of rice and veggies so I’m not running to the bathroom every 5 minutes- or chasing down the Imodium in my bag.
Third: Make sure you pack a good carry-on. A hoodie, comfy socks, some form of entertainment, snacks, and for me- I keep my bathing suit with me and sometimes change of clothes. Just in case my luggage ever gets lost. I also feel like having things like deodorant wipes, a toothbrush and tooth paste, and lotion makes the drying effect of flying a little more tolerable. I wear contacts, so a spare pair of contacts and my glasses also make the cut to be in my bag. It also goes without saying, any and all valuables you should keep with you (camera, chargers, etc)
Finally, here are some no-nos: No strong perfume or cologne. Your poor fellow passengers~ no one wants the plane to smell like a night club for 8 hours. Make sure you shower, and deodorant yourself up good. No one wants the plane to smell like a gym bag mixed with a public bus in Italy on a hot summer day. If you bring snacks, skip the really strong smelling ones: no garlic or curry flavored things. It’s just polite. If you choose to take of your shoes, be sure they aren’t the ones that you left out in the rain, walked in the mud, and ran the marathon in. Again- it seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised.
Our flight to Germany was pretty uneventful. I was able to sleep some, and watch movies, had some rice and veggies and arrived on time, at 9:30 in the morning the next day…. now… to figure out how to get to Italy.