Currently one of the longest commercial flights in the world, Qatar Airways’ Auckland to Doha service can take up to 18 hours. So, how are you supposed to survive such an ordeal? Here’s our guide to how seasoned travellers deal with those extra long flights.
Choose your airline wisely
Let’s face it, tiny seats, zero legroom and subpar food just doesn’t cut it on long-haul flights. That’s why we love to fly with global airlines like Emirates. The name alone is synonymous with excellent service, and cabin crews are consistently voted amongst the best in the world. As a full service airline you’ll enjoy beautifully crafted meals, even if you’re flying economy. You’ll also be treated to complimentary soft drinks, as well as beer and wine to take the edge off. Hello morning mimosa. Business Class elevates the experience to the next level, and yes, there really is a window in the bathroom. Just imagine that sky high view. And the good news is, thanks to exclusive deals House of Travel makes flying Business Class oh so attainable.
Singapore Airlines is another firm favourite, renowned for service, safety and plenty of smiles from the cabin crew. We’ll also jump at any chance to fly Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship carrier. Regularly voted the ‘World’s Best Airline’ by Skytrax, Cathay is all about exceptional service, mouth-watering food and luxury planes that will whisk you to your destination in style.
In flight survival guide
Long-haul flights are never going to leave you feeling fresh. But with a few carry on packing tweaks you drastically improve your experience. Here’s how:
- Travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste – an easy way to get rid of the fuzz.
- Lip balm – air conditioning and 30,000 feet elevation zaps moisture from your lips, so don’t forget to balm up
- Moisturiser – like your lips, sky time sucks H2O from your skin which means moisturiser is a must.
- Face wash – freshen up with a mini face washing session when you wake up from your inflight nap. It’ll make you feel a hundred times better.
- Ear plugs – from crying babies to pesky night shufflers, ear plugs are an absolute sleep saver when it comes to long-haul flights.
- Thick socks – in flight air conditioning can get chilly, so come prepared with cosy socks that will help you fall asleep.
Thanks to altitude and air conditioning you dehydrate twice as fast on a plane than you do at land level. This means you’ll need to drink twice as much. Make things easy for yourself by packing a water bottle and sipping on it throughout the flight. And don’t hold back on asking for refills.
Pencil in a stopover
If you really can’t bear the thought of a long-haul flight why not break up your journey with a city stopover? Whether you touch down for a few hours or pencil in an overnight stay, stopovers can be a fantastic way to avoid post flight exhaustion and add a little excitement to your trip. Dubai never fails to impress, with the chance to zoom over sand dunes in a 4WD, get lost in kaleidoscopic spice markets and speed down the slope of an indoor ski resort. Singapore Changi Airport is another stopover favourite, with the airport offering free city tours to passengers with five hour or longer layovers. Spanning for two hours, the tour will whisk you to iconic sights like the Merlion, Marina Bay, Chinatown and Little India. Intrigued? Chat to House of Travel today about throwing in a stopover to Dubai, Singapore or any other city that’s caught your attention.
Get tech savvy
There are only so many inflight movies you can watch, so why not arm yourself with all the apps you’ll need to keep yourself entertained during your flight? Here’s our top picks:
- National Geographic World Atlas: Like your own personal guide book, this app is a great way to learn more about your given destination as you’re en route.
- Audible: There’s just something so soothing about audio books, and they make a nice change when you’ve watched three films and your eyes are going square.
- Duolingo: As the world’s most popular way to learn a language, this incredible app will have you speaking local in a matter of hours.
- Airport apps: From tracking down the nearest Starbucks to staying up to date with delays, gate changes and boarding calls, airport apps are a great way to stay in the loop.
- Rome2Rio: Whether you’re planning on catching a train, hailing a taxi or requesting an Uber, Rome2Rio is the absolute best way to piece together transport options.
- XE Currency: Money, money, money! No matter where you’re going you’ll need to stock up on cash. It offers up-to-date exchange rates every time you spend, which means you’ll never get caught out dropping $30 bag of an overpriced bag of Hong Kong’s finest pick n’ mix.
- LoungeBuddy: Like to travel in style? With LoungeBuddy you can discover 170 worldwide airport lounges available on a pay-by-use basis. Hello pre-flight bliss.
- Google Translate: Plain and simple, this one’s essential if you’re travelling to a foreign country. Simply download the language you need and hover your camera over the text you need translated. And voila, you’ll never have to agonise over a Spanish menu again.
- ME: Unlike Google Maps, this app works seamlessly offline. Simply download the maps of your choice and enjoy step by step directions, as you travel.
Get your beauty sleep
Sleep is non-negotiable, and if you don’t get enough we all know what can happen… That’s why it’s important to have a game plan when it comes to catching z’s on a long-haul flight. Start by putting together a bedtime playlist that will serenade you to sleep after dinner service. Of course, if you want to fast-track with a glass or two of Shiraz go right ahead.
While it can be tempting to stay in your seat the entire time, you can trick your brain into thinking it’s bedtime by following your usual routine. Head to the bathroom to brush your teeth and wash your face, then pull on some bed socks and get cosy. As well as an eye mask, we love the idea of wearing a scarf and using it to create your very own on-board den. Okay, so you might look a little ridiculous but you’ll get the last laugh when you shut out the light, minimise noise and enjoy hours of quality snooze time.
You’ve put in 12+ hours of sky time and you’ve finally landed. So what now? While you might be craving a coffee it’s best to rehydrate with glass after glass of water. Your body clock will also be out of sync so you’ll need to tweak your schedule to get back in tune. Depending on where and when you land this might mean warding off sleep for several hours, or forcing yourself to have an early night.
While the sheer mention of a long-haul flight can induce hints of exhaustion, savvy travellers know how to emerge feeling fresh.