Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

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BogleFed
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Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by BogleFed »

I have a couple trips coming up that will require multiple international flights. The longest flight I have been on is about 6 hours, which was manageable, but I did get a bit restless.

I know this is a well traveled group that has discovered the secrets for making the most of long flights. What are your best tips for successfully managing long flights? For purposes of discussion, let’s define a “long flight” as 8+ hours. A few specific areas of interest:

1. Electronics
2. Anxiety/sleep aids
3. Clothing
4. Carry on items
5. Food/hydration
6. Others
London
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by London »

Fly business class with a lay flat seat.
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Cyclesafe
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Cyclesafe »

Compression socks to prevent blood pooling in lower extremities (and blood clots).

Don't take drugs or alcohol. You want to be at your best during an emergency.
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7eight9
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by 7eight9 »

My recommendation is to bring some comfortable headphones (in case they give you ear buds), put on some socks that you don't mind throwing away (since you will be barefoot on the plane and in the lav) and plan to drink steadily while watching movies. As long as you are comfortable dealing with customs and ground transport after drinking steadily then that is the way to go. You will get exercise since there is a bit of truth to the old collegiate adage that you don't buy beer - you rent it. Enjoy your trip!
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student
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by student »

I usually just watch movies.
stoptothink
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by stoptothink »

student wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:40 pm I usually just watch movies.
I really don't enjoy flying, but this is it. There's no secret, just bring enough books and movies to keep your mind on something else for the extent of the flight.
DivesEtPauper
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by DivesEtPauper »

BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm 1. Electronics
Noise cancelling headphones. Money well spent, IMO.
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btq96r
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by btq96r »

Used to travel to the Middle East and back for work, so international flight prep is something I got good at. I did like breaking up the trip by going through London to have time off a plane to walk around and visit the city when arriving in the early morning, but not flying out until late night. I also did the non-stop Kuwait to Dulles flight, which had its ups and downs.

1. Electronics
Good noise canceling headphones, a tablet/iPad preloaded with movies/podcasts/books, portable USB charging brick for your table/iPad and mobile phone.

2. Anxiety/sleep aids
Ambien if you can get it prescribed, or an OTC sleeping pill. No caffeine a few hours before or during the flight (I always drink cranapple juice when the cart comes around). Ear plugs to help reduce the engine noise when you want to sleep on your head tilted. Skip the booze, it serves no purpose and unless it comes with the seat you buy is downtown bar on the weekend overpriced.

3. Clothing
Comfortable, loose...you can avoid the track suit if you want, but don't pretend you need to dress to the nines for a flight I usually wear comfortable jeans, a polo, and a jacket if in season. Shoes you can get on and off comfortably, and don't mind walking/standing around in. Dress shoes that aren't well broken in are a bad idea.

4. Carry on items
Snacks, a small or neck pillow, chargers for all your devices (check the voltage to make sure it's 220v compatible), wide mouth Nalgene bottle or same style (see below).

5. Food/hydration
I like keeping some snickers bars, or trail mix on hand to snack on and prevent me from overspending at the airport from hunger spurred by bordem. Lots of water; bring an empty wide mouth Nalgene as described above bottle through security and fill it up at fountains or airport restaurants to keep hydrated. Whenever I do a meal at the airport restaurants that have servers, I always just dump a full refill of water into the bottle and ask for some ice.

6. Others
A list of hotels at all your stops so you know where to look for a bed if needs be instead of looking it up in the moment. The airlines choices are usually less than ideal, and I've been willing to fund my own, or ask my company for reimbursement for weather/mechanical delays that strand me overnight to keep with brands I trust.

7eight9 wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:38 pm (since you will be barefoot on the plane and in the lav)
I take my shoes off almost as soon as I buckle up, but I always put them back on, even if untied to use the lav on a plane. Never would I walk into an airport lavatory without shoes on.
runner3081
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by runner3081 »

DivesEtPauper wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:00 pm
BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm 1. Electronics
Noise cancelling headphones. Money well spent, IMO.
Yes, especially ones that don't make your ears miserably hot or hurt your ears.
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Prokofiev
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Prokofiev »

Try Melatonin. It can help reset your interal clock as well as putting you to sleep
on the plane. Even if you cannot completely fall asleep, keep trying during the
noctural hours of your destination. Don't stay up and watch a movie because you
cannot immediately sleep
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ResearchMed
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by ResearchMed »

BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm I have a couple trips coming up that will require multiple international flights. The longest flight I have been on is about 6 hours, which was manageable, but I did get a bit restless.

I know this is a well traveled group that has discovered the secrets for making the most of long flights. What are your best tips for successfully managing long flights? For purposes of discussion, let’s define a “long flight” as 8+ hours. A few specific areas of interest:

1. Electronics
2. Anxiety/sleep aids
3. Clothing
4. Carry on items
5. Food/hydration
6. Others
If you have any charge card awards points, then trying to use them for business class flat bed on long-haul international flights, especially on top international airlines, is what we find to be the very best use of the points.
If you and a spouse/partner can each get a "new" charge card with the bonus points, then you can jump start your total, and be ready to go sooner.
We try to charge *everything* to use for premium international travel.
IF you do this, it is worth checking, or asking around (including perhaps here but definitely on FlyerTalk or CruiseCritic for the nicest J (business) class flights for the departure/destination that you want. (There may be a routing you haven't thought of yet, and suggestions may be useful for this, especially if you need to make a connection anyway.)

We ALWAYS take a few extras for food/drink, such as nuts or snack bars, plus at least a few bottles of a soft drink or water, to keep right at our side (or feet). In case of delays or busy flight attendants, that can come in very handy.
There has thus far only been one airport/airline where there was no way to purchase any beverage at all after security (where one must toss any liquids).

DO plan to get up to exercise at least a bit, for health/safety (especially legs). There are also "in seat" exercises you can find online that may be helpful for comfort/health.
We don't bother with blankets or "all purpose throws", as we always have a jacket or such... something we wear on, so they don't take up space in carry-ons.

I strongly prefer the Bose noise-cancelling headphones with the over-the-ear good cushioning. I find them much more comfortable (no compression on ear cartilage) and they avoid some of the noise-bleed that can come from behind the ear. DH prefers the Bose "in ear" version.
Even if you don't listen to music/etc., avoiding the heavy background noise in jets can avoid some travel stress.

It's also a good time for a paper-back, one that one can just toss at destination, and buy another at the airport on the return. Or use a tablet/etc., with several pre-loaded books, movies, etc. Make sure you have extra batteries for any device that might need them.
With luck, there might be an onboard movie that you actually want to watch. :happy

We might take a Benedryl to help with sleep.
But also, keep on hand, and 'handy', anything like aspirin or decongestant or cough suppressant that you might need.
And ALWAYS HAND CARRY ANY PRESCRIPTON MEDS. Don't pack those, lest luggage get delayed (or lost!). We *always* take along enough for some extra days in case of a travel delay for any meds that are really necessary.
Double check if destinations my have legal restrictions on any meds, OTC or Rx. Those can be surprising (e.g., Japan *absolutely* prohibits the original formula Sudafed).
We've found it relatively easy to get permissions for a few specific Rx meds (but NOT original formula Sudafed in Japan!).
Don't risk trying to avoid detection, even if it's legal where you live, etc.

We also try to arrange an extra day at the start to relax, take naps, etc., so we are fresh on the next day and thereafter.

RM
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by jebmke »

Been a long time but I used to make the non-stop Chicago to Hong Kong (and back) trip a lot. The trip back always left in the morning HK time. I found the best strategy for that trip was to stay up all night the night before, eat a light breakfast before boarding and then go to sleep after take off. That sequence somehow helped me partially reset for the time change going back.
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by hicabob »

btq96r wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:00 pm I take my shoes off almost as soon as I buckle up, but I always put them back on, even if untied to use the lav on a plane. Never would I walk into an airport lavatory without shoes on.

Un-tied shoelaces in an overseas flight lav? Not for me.
dbr
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by dbr »

Well,

1. Business class or failing that I find buying up to some version of "comfort plus" to be helpful. Upper class is not necessarily an option for everyone. It is also worthwhile being aware of the seating schemes. A somewhat archaic example is that in the last rows of coach in a 747 the window rows narrow down to two seats which means a couple gets the row to the themselves and no middle seat. Awareness of how different aircraft are configured and what the service amenities are matters.

2. I stay off the alcohol and my wife is a non-drinker anyway. The idea that you get plastered and then go to sleep might work for some.

3. Noise cancelling earphones and a sleep mask. I have a sleep mask that has "solid" cups over the eyes that don't rub on your eyelashes. Yes, I like the Bose earphones even if they are a little bulky.

4. Reading. I have never been into inflight movies and just bring a kindle. My wife brings paperbacks. If you can't turn off the screen in the seat in front of you if there is one, then cover it up with something.

5. Comfortable clothes. It is possible to find comfortable shirts and trousers or skirts or slacks that look good when you present yourself at the gate but are comfortable for sitting, lying around, walking for a long day. Same for shoes, but they don't have to be worn out sneakers. Note shorts and flip flops are not comfortable nor do they get the best reception. Be prepared that in larger cities in some parts of the world dress standards might be a little higher than some other places.

6. Research routings for time of day and connect times and also shortest duration routings. There are airports that are easy to navigate and ones that should be avoided. The cheapest ticket is not always worth the aggravation and be very aware of short connect times. You can also consult fight stats for habitually late and cancelled flights and avoid them. Ratings like this are not just puff: https://justrichest.com/traveler-alert- ... d-in-2015/

7. Consider stopovers and alternate routings. While a long overnight flight in a comfortable cabin class might be a good choice, breaking the trip into stopovers can give better choices of shorter flights, add to the value of the travel, and alleviate jet lag.

8. Be sure to get pre-check status or preferably Global Entry.

9. Don't carry too much luggage. It can be handy to pack down to carryon only and lots of real travel pros do that. That was my rule for business travel even for a couple of weeks in Europe. We have reversed that in later years and prefer to lug the minimum through airports. It is still critical to keep luggage at what each person can wheel on their own up and down train station stairways.

10. While lounges might seem elitist they are actually really helpful for international travelers however you manage to obtain access.

11. Think about how to get to a hotel as soon as you arrive and/or also before you depart. We have gotten to be more and more enamored of airport hotels anymore. People have their own ideas about jet lag, but I find the issue is not circadian but just loss of sleep and best managed by getting sleep and good food as soon as possible. An overnight stopover can be better than connecting on. Often stops less than 24hr. are a connection and not a stopover, but you do need to check your luggage correctly.

12. We like to understand how the local transportation works before we leave. The right answer can be anything from local bus or rail, to a standard taxi, to some kind of service. If you end up in Buenos Aires be sure to check into using a remis. If you arrive a Washington National, take the train. If you arrive at LaGuardia arrive somewhere else. If you arrive at Heathrow take the Heathrow Express. At Amsterdam have a Eurail Pass and you are already on top of a whole international train network. Make sure your luggage is trainable.

13. Go to Flyertalk and read up on the cities, airports, and airlines you are planning on.

14. Also confirm to pack any meds or other irreplacables in hand luggage. I also pack for hand carry a change of clothes, sleeping clothes, a rainjacket or at least a compact umbrella, and a hat. The general idea is to be able to be anywhere for at least a day and a night without the checked luggage. Those who are all carryon don't need to worry about this. These days watch out that even what you thought was carryon can be taken from you and checked if it is luggage size rather than personal size. I get what I need in backpack that meets weight limits for the personal article -- which you also need to check for every airline you board as the rules can be different.
PoppyA
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by PoppyA »

All good suggestions above. Also think about Toothpaste & brush, comb, face wipes, deodorant. Things to refresh you after you sleep.
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gwe67
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by gwe67 »

If you travel with another person, put half of your clothing in their luggage, and half of theirs in your luggage. If one bag gets lost, both people can function for days.
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dbr
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by dbr »

ResearchMed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:14 pm
Double check if destinations my have legal restrictions on any meds, OTC or Rx. Those can be surprising (e.g., Japan *absolutely* prohibits the original formula Sudafed).
This is absolutely important. Australia and New Zealand can be very particular as well and they are also picky about vegetation and wildlife issue. Don't try to bring your muddy boots from hiking somewhere into Australia or New Zealand. They may take them away and wash them for you or they may trash them.

Some of these drug restrictions can be severe. Not only will your medication be confiscated but there will not be a replacement available in country that you can identify or know works.

Also be sure vaccinations are up to date and documented. There are countries where such things as Yellow Fever certificate etc. is required. I can't travel to some parts of the world anymore because Yellow Fever booster is not supposed to be given past a certain age and the certificate expires after ten years.

That also brings up being sure to have VISAs and all the kinds of travel permits paid and stamped ahead of time and to not forget to pay the airport tax when you are trying to leave. I got caught once in Ecuador because I had some kind of "special" entrance paperwork and didn't know you had to go in person to a police station to get the exit permission.
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Vulcan »

BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm For purposes of discussion, let’s define a “long flight” as 8+ hours.
8 hrs ain't that long. I remember thinking to myself in the middle of my first flight to Asia: "ANOTHER eight hours?"
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Watty
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Watty »

If you take any medicines then plan how you will schedule them with the time zone changes. For example if you take a pill every morning and you have an 8 hour time zone change then you will need to figure out when you should take your next pill. With some medicines it may make sense to ask your doctor.

If you will arrive in the morning check with your hotel to make sure you can drop off your luggage then go out for the day. I try to stay up until the evening the day that I arrive so I can get on the local schedule quicker.

Ask if the hotel has a gym with a shower that you can use to freshen up before you go out.

Also ask about early check-in, if they have an empty room the night before you may get lucky be able to do that. Having a higher status with the hotels point program may help with this.
BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm For purposes of discussion, let’s define a “long flight” as 8+ hours.


Your mental attitude makes a huge difference.

Get up and walk around every hour.

I try think of sitting in the airplane seat as if I was sitting at my desk in front of a computer. I have had plenty of times when I would need to work at my computer for 10 or 12 hours or more during a big project or problem so I try to keep that in mind and the flight may seem little different than a long day at the office. 8 hours is really not that bad.

Other than being a bit boring I have never had trouble with long flights up to about 12 hours, it is the time zone changes that I notice the most. In planning look at your times as being door to door, not just the flight time.

I do try to start shifting my sleeping hours a few days before I will be changing a lot of time zones.

If you will be renting a car at your destination then try avoid picking it up for at least a day after you arrive, especially if you will be driving on the left.
hi_there
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by hi_there »

I've flown 50+ times between NY and California, and perhaps 20+ times from US to Asia and Australia, even on the "world's longest flight" a couple of times. At this point I don't care about anything other than comfort and convenience. I agree with most of the recommendations above, but will add:

1) If not Business Class+, consider upgrading to Premium Economy or just seats with extra legroom. Besides better service and more room, this will have what I consider a very important benefit: it will filter the people you have to sit next to during the flight. You'll also be more likely to sit next to empty seats. Since you are flying internationally, absolutely consider the likely composition of plane passengers in terms of culture, loudness, smell, where they put their feet, and tendency to travel with (excited) extended family. Flights to some countries are vastly better than others, btw. I'll leave it there unless someone asks about it. Am I judgmental? Sure - but like I said above, I don't care about anything other than comfort.

2) There is lots of talk above about shoes and going barefoot. For me, there is only one choice, which is sandals or flip flops on the flight. Business Class usually gives you slippers to wear on the plane, but for others, just bring your own. As a courtesy to others, keep your feet clean if you can. I won't say I have many good traits compared to others, but one of them is good foot hygiene.
JS-Elcano
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by JS-Elcano »

BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm I have a couple trips coming up that will require multiple international flights. The longest flight I have been on is about 6 hours, which was manageable, but I did get a bit restless.

I know this is a well traveled group that has discovered the secrets for making the most of long flights. What are your best tips for successfully managing long flights? For purposes of discussion, let’s define a “long flight” as 8+ hours. A few specific areas of interest:

1. Electronics
2. Anxiety/sleep aids
3. Clothing
4. Carry on items
5. Food/hydration
6. Others
If the upgrade is reasonable ($500) I fly business now.

But when I fly economy I make sure I have an isle seat (easy to get up and out), have my reusable flask filled with water, bring my own noise canceling head phones and a neck pillow as well as a sweatshirt with full-length zipper (because the temperature can vary a lot on different planes and sometimes it's very cold). I would also make sure you know if they are serving any food; I was on an 8 hr flight last week and they did not serve any food except a totally pointless snack box immediately after boarding, which included an Oreo cookie and some processed cheese :oops: If you are into movies then their entertainment offerings will keep you busy, but I usually try to sleep.
As for clothing, I do wear long pants even if I go to a warm destination since the airports and planes are usually cold. I take a small backpack with my water bottle, earplugs, headphones, a couple of nut bars, laptop/cables/phone, and zippered sweatshirt.
Parkinglotracer
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flig

Post by Parkinglotracer »

BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm I have a couple trips coming up that will require multiple international flights. The longest flight I have been on is about 6 hours, which was manageable, but I did get a bit restless.

I know this is a well traveled group that has discovered the secrets for making the most of long flights. What are your best tips for successfully managing long flights? For purposes of discussion, let’s define a “long flight” as 8+ hours. A few specific areas of interest:

1. Electronics
2. Anxiety/sleep aids
3. Clothing
4. Carry on items
5. Food/hydration
6. Others
Great tips already listed above ; here are a few more with some overseas tips

I take a picture of my passport to have on my phone in case I lose my passport

I make a copy of my passport and put it somewhere away from my wallet and passport in case I lose those

I pack nothing in my luggage that is critical to the success of my trip ( medicine, valuables, paperwork)

I carry on at least 1 change of clothes in case my luggage is lost

I bend my legs a lot during the trip and stay hydrated to prevent thrombosis

I carry on my shaving kit and bring a few Ammonium AD’s ( anti diarrhea medicine ) to take in case I eat something bad while on the trip and need to clog up the pipes for work meetings or trip home

I check the us gov website for travel alerts for unrest, etc

Stay at well known hotels if in suspect places

Exchange money at airport not at corner stores

Only get in Clearly marked taxi’s

Consider having a burner wallet with a few bucks and old credit cards in case of robbery; put the other wallet in front pocket

Leave the nice watch and nice stuff at home to stay below the radar

When I get in a cab always immediately open the door to make sure it is not locked closed so you can get out when you want

Have a back pack vs a brief case so you look less like a target and can run with it if needed

Leave the I am American sweatshirts and clothes at home

Expect that your room and phone are bugged overseas

[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]

Remember just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean someone is not out to get you

And have fun :)









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LilyFleur
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by LilyFleur »

DivesEtPauper wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:00 pm
BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm 1. Electronics
Noise cancelling headphones. Money well spent, IMO.
Completely agree. Less noise seems to help me arrive less tired.
I also bring a tablet with lots of good Netflix shows downloaded and ready to go.
I get up and walk around the plane regularly, do stretches in the back of the plane.
Mr.BB
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Mr.BB »

Depending on the time of your flight(s), I would try to get a good workout in before your flight. Also, since you will be at the airport a couple of hours ahead of time, spend some time stretching instead of just sitting at the gate.
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runner540
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by runner540 »

BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm I have a couple trips coming up that will require multiple international flights. The longest flight I have been on is about 6 hours, which was manageable, but I did get a bit restless.

I know this is a well traveled group that has discovered the secrets for making the most of long flights. What are your best tips for successfully managing long flights? For purposes of discussion, let’s define a “long flight” as 8+ hours. A few specific areas of interest:

1. Electronics
2. Anxiety/sleep aids
3. Clothing
4. Carry on items
5. Food/hydration
6. Others
I used to take these flights several times a year (business and pleasure) often overnight. Economy every time except once I got upgraded. Generally the crew is much friendlier and nicer about ensuring your comfort on international flights than domestic.
What I did:
1. Headphones to listen to inflight movie. Download podcasts or music to phone.
2. No medication. Get a sleep mask, and a neck pillow, and use the onboard blanket/pillows. Used this for years when I was flying a lot $15
https://www.amazon.com/Dream-Essentials ... B003CGIBYQ
3. Comfortable but not pajamas. (Jeans are not comfortable for a long flight for me). Layers, layers, layers.
4. all luggage. Make sure snacks, medication, toiletries and entertainment are accessible without getting up often to get int he overhead bin
5. snacks, a bottle to refill (you may need to throw away produce/nuts upon arrival). On night flights, I would eat dinner, brush my teeth, wash my face, etc. before boarding, and then get to sleep. Skipping the high salt in flight meal and alcohol.
6. When you get up to use the bathroom, get tea or water or snacks from the galley, get something from your bag: walk up and down the plane, do some stretches.
rich126
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by rich126 »

BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm I have a couple trips coming up that will require multiple international flights. The longest flight I have been on is about 6 hours, which was manageable, but I did get a bit restless.

I know this is a well traveled group that has discovered the secrets for making the most of long flights. What are your best tips for successfully managing long flights? For purposes of discussion, let’s define a “long flight” as 8+ hours. A few specific areas of interest:

1. Electronics
2. Anxiety/sleep aids
3. Clothing
4. Carry on items
5. Food/hydration
6. Others
I'm a person w/o much patience but have flown a lot over my lifetime. Flown to the mideast twice, basically a 24 hr day with connections.

Just realize it will be a long day with possible delays and try to avoid looking at the clock. I can't sleep on flights and never resort to drugs or alcohol. If you are a book person that can help. Watch movies. Download things to your iPad (or some tablet is better than a laptop, especially if you are in coach) ahead of time to avoid potential wifi/technical issues on the flight.

Noise cancellation headphones help greatly with engine noise. Wear lose fitting clothes and drink plenty of water.

It has been quite a while since I've flown coach on international flights, that is what my FF miles/points are for.

If you have to fly from the west coast to Europe it could be easier to fly to the east coast and get a night's rest in a hotel room and then continue the next day. That isn't w/o other issues (what happens if the first flight is delayed).

Personally I couldn't imagine flying for work anymore and even as a vacation in business class I can only handle it once a year or so anymore. I stress out over too many things out of my control, especially flight connections.

Outbound I never check bags and pack light. In most cases no one cares if you wear the same clothes for a couple of days. And packing light definitely is a plus if you are riding trains or other public transportation since I've seen too many people haul big bags up/down steps and it is painful to watch. No one really needs multiple pairs of shoes, or 3 different sweaters, etc. If something really goes bad, you can always buy something in an emergency.
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by gailcox »

From the perspective from an International Flight Attendant who normally works flights that are 12 hours plus:

1.Electronics: of course your phone, kindle or tablet. Make sure to bring plenty of cords and cubes to recharge. Also, a battery pack. A small fan, see below.

2. Anxiety/Sleep Aids: something natural such as melatonin (make sure you are used to taking it so you know you respond favorably to it). I'm not a fan of most passengers when they are taking ambien---sometimes they wake up and do strange things they don't remember, such as taking their clothes off or peeing somewhere that isn't the lav. Both have happened on my flights. If you experience anxiety in your everyday life, take what ever you are used to taking. Target has a great OTC sleep aid, called Sleep Aid. For anxiety, you may find a channel on the entertainment system called "Calm" that guides you thru deep breathing and other exercises to curb anxiety. I also have a wonderful 'cupped' eye mask that really helps me sleep and it blocks all the light out. Ear plugs or noise canceling headset.

3. Clothing: something cotton and comfortable. Layer your clothing so you can take off if you get warm or add if you get cold. I run hot and I bring a small fan with me that plugs into the usb port, when I am a passenger. It's my #1 thing I bring. If you tend to get cold, there are some great small hot water bottles on amazon. Ask the crew to fill up with hot water and you are set! Don't walk around the plane with bare feet or socked-only feet. Besides the floor being filthy in the cabin and the lavs, broken glass can never fully be picked up if we break a glass. Always wear shoes when walking around the plane. A largish scarf that can be used as a blanket is also good.

4. Carry on items: always bring a small carry on with a change or two of clothes in case your checked luggage doesn't make it. You'll also want your meds with you----do NOT check your meds ever. If you take meds, please have a list with what they are treating and put the list somewhere on you (such as a shirt pocket or in a wallet) so in case you have a medical emergency and are not conscious, the crew can find the list. (who to contact in an emergency on this list, too) One of my passengers had a heart attack, we quickly found his meds list, which helped save his life. Toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, eye drops for dry eyes, hand sanitizer, face mask. I will wear a face mask when traveling abroad just to keep the bad germs from being inhaled. Know where your passport is. Put a copy of it in your luggage.

5. Food/hydration: Always carry water with you. The crew won't be catered with enough water bottles to provide you with a bottle. Take more water than you think you need. Try to drink 8 ounces per hour. Being dehydrated can ruin your trip. Some passengers carry packets of powder to add to water that will help hydrate. Don't drink too much alcohol on the plane, it can sneak up on you and it makes getting to sleep difficult sometimes. As far as food, bring healthy snacks such as nuts, health bar, fruit, etc.

6. Others: the crew really appreciates it when passengers bring us treats, such as mints, individually wrapped chocolates, health bars, Starbucks gift cards, etc. Those passengers get a nice thank you and anything else (not an upgrade) we can do to make their flight better, be it extra pillows, a better seat in the same cabin, free liquor we will provide it. This gesture means a LOT to the crew on these long flights.

Have a safe flight!
squirm
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by squirm »

Fiber up a couple days before.
stan1
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by stan1 »

hicabob wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:23 pm
btq96r wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:00 pm I take my shoes off almost as soon as I buckle up, but I always put them back on, even if untied to use the lav on a plane. Never would I walk into an airport lavatory without shoes on.

Un-tied shoelaces in an overseas flight lav? Not for me.
Pro tip: Tuck the laces into the shoe. It will be fine for a few minutes.
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Voltaire2.0
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Voltaire2.0 »

Sleeping mask
A firm neck roll/pillow
A good selection of music on your phone or similar device
Noise-cancelling headphones
Slip-on shoes
As soon as the place takes off, set your mind to the time zone of your destination. If it's nighttime there, sleep. Eat at their mealtimes, also.
OCDinvestor
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by OCDinvestor »

Buy Apple Airtags and shove one in each checked luggage.

If luggage gets lost, you can instantly know where in the world (literally) your luggage is, know who to contact, estimate delivery, etc.

If it doesn’t get lost, at least you know when it starts circling on the carousel!
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Develop a zen-like patience. It will help you more than most of the gadgets.

Also, know your limits. My limit is a 9 hour flight, so I limit my travels to Europe and the Americas.
Last edited by UpperNwGuy on Sat Jul 10, 2021 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MishkaWorries
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by MishkaWorries »

hicabob wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:23 pm
btq96r wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:00 pm I take my shoes off almost as soon as I buckle up, but I always put them back on, even if untied to use the lav on a plane. Never would I walk into an airport lavatory without shoes on.

Un-tied shoelaces in an overseas flight lav? Not for me.
I always wear slip-on shoes when flying. Easy to get through security and easy to put on and off while in the plane.
We plan. G-d laughs.
Exterous
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Exterous »

Lots of good info so far. A couple of things I try and look for in addition to what has been mentioned already:

1. Aircraft layout. Equipment swaps happen so there is no guarantee of a specific layout but I look for routes with favorable airline seating arrangements. Since these days its usually my wife and myself traveling I'm willing to take a slightly longer or less convenient timing if the plane has a 2-X-2 seat configuration compared to a 3-3 or a 3-X-3. You can usually see seat maps when looking at flight options on the carrier's website

2. Showers at airports. If I'm landing at my destination in the morning after a long flight I'll check if the airport has a shower (or try and route to an airport with one if it fits in our plan). Doesn't matter for everyone but I feel refreshed by a shower after a long flight and there is no guarantee you'll be able to check in to your hotel in the morning to take one there

Air travel is incredibly safe but I don't take off my shoes until several minutes after take off and put them back on before landing. Those are the most dangerous parts of flying and I'd rather have my shoes on if I have to extract myself from a crashed plane. Probably a bit neurotic and I'll likely never encounter such a situation but its an extra 20min or so of wearing shoes so doesn't seem like a big sacrifice. And I would never go barefoot to the lav...

Its been mentioned several times but - noise cancelling headphones. Huge benefit. I personally like the bose in ear noise cancelling ones as they do a great job with noise and I can sleep with them in, even laying on my side in a lieflat seat
Trader Joe
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Trader Joe »

BogleFed wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:25 pm I have a couple trips coming up that will require multiple international flights. The longest flight I have been on is about 6 hours, which was manageable, but I did get a bit restless.

I know this is a well traveled group that has discovered the secrets for making the most of long flights. What are your best tips for successfully managing long flights? For purposes of discussion, let’s define a “long flight” as 8+ hours. A few specific areas of interest:

1. Electronics
2. Anxiety/sleep aids
3. Clothing
4. Carry on items
5. Food/hydration
6. Others
Yes, frequent international traveler here. My recommendations are as follows:

1. Fly Business Class (for flat sleeping).
2. Purchase flight internet connection.
3. Bring Ear Plugs for sleeping.
4. Be vocal. Tell the flight attendant(s) what you need when you need it.
5. Wear the free sandals that are provided to you - or wear your own shoes. Never use socks alone (that is just gross!).
6. Select an isle seat.

Safe travels.
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Nate79
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Nate79 »

One thing I try to do for long flights is always carry on my own food. Airplane meals are nasty so I try to grab a to go meal in the airport before boarding.
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tooluser
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by tooluser »

Agree with the Zen-like attitude. I found that there is a relief rather than anxiety with the longer flights. At 4-5 hours, it's both too long and too short a flight to be comfortable. At 10-12 hours, you know you are there for a while. Relax and breathe (easier said than done if masks are required). There is no hurry, take your time.

For a long flight, if you can't actually sleep, you should still be dozing/napping for a couple of hours at some point. Close your eyes, settle in, and if nearby seatmates are annoying, then think about how you can best tolerate or empathize with them, rather than struggling against them. Think good thoughts, long-term life plans, remodeling projects for home or career, plot details of a fiction book you'd like to write. If you can't sleep, put the dozey time to good use. I find I get many micro-sleeps of a few seconds duration (many short dreams), which is surprisingly more restful than trying to stay awake.

Definitely pack a change of clothing. I had a severe wardrobe malfunction once.

I keep my shoes on the whole time, not sure what all the foot fuss is about.
Brian96
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Brian96 »

Bring a butt pillow. Airplane seats have no cushion.
JohnFiscal
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by JohnFiscal »

I have made over a dozen trips with flight durations over 24 hours, to as long as 27 hours. Usually a 14-16 hour trans-pacific crossing from Atlanta to either Seoul or Tokyo, then another 5-8 hour flight to final destination. Then the reverse back home (and there's a 2 hour flight between there and Atlanta). So trip duration of 26 hours between airports is not unusual, then add a couple hours at each end for local ground travel.

• I like to have a small flashlight on the plane with me, for digging around in my backpack or bag, the seatback pocket, etc. I have found the very best flashlight for me to be a "Streamlight 65020 Stylus LED Pen Light, with Navigation Green Beam - 7 Lumens". I've carried stronger small flashlights and they are overkill and could be annoying to flight crew and other passengers. The 7 lumens is entirely sufficient for use around my seat, trying to look into the overhead bin (which may actually be impossible to access during flight on large aircraft). The green beam is awesome for preserving "night vision" inside the aircraft. This light is also handy around hotel rooms and I even use it pretty much daily at home. It's around $15 at Amazon.

• When traveling I also carry a small Streamlight flashlight with two lithium batteries (and a few spares). I also keep this in my bag that's easily accessible during flight. I don't use it on planes anymore, it's too bright and I fear activating the "strobe" option...which would probably make me very unpopular with the crew.

• I've learned that it can be extremely difficult to access bags stored in the overhead when on a large wide-body plane. So I no longer count on being able to access anything there during flight. I try to keep everything I might need in a bag under the seat. Including my green penlight.

• For such a long trip I don't wear my contact lenses. Learned that lesson.

• And for such a long trip I like to maintain some personal hygiene so I will generally shave at least once in the 24+ hour travel. And I will certainly perform dental/oral hygiene several times during the trip. Maybe I shave at the end of the 14 hour flight so I don't need to pack the shaver in my under-seat bag. But the kit for oral hygiene is in the under-seat bag.

• wife and I like to bring along some type of cover, such as a very light blanket, etc. Those 14+ hour flights at close to 40,000 feet can get very cold with the outside temperature extremely cold (-50° F).

• I have arthritis and sitting in the "comfort seating" for so long is really painful for me. I will take Tylenol and/or Advil (so these must be in our under-seat bags) and my comfort is improved immensely.

• I try not to drink or eat too much. You must stay hydrated but I don't want to hit the head too often. I try to make my trips to the head around mid-fllght of those 14-16 hour treks...most people are sleeping or engrossed in movies.

• I'm still looking for the perfect under-seat bag. A top-opening backpack can be so handy for this use, just pull it out a little and open the top, easy. But for organization and for use walking around I prefer a messenger bag...but mine is such a pain to get to when it's under the seat. Choose a bag carefully for this application.

• I have TSA PreChek and Global Entry, but I still travel very lean through airports. I remove my belt, my watch, no coins in my pockets, no paper, nothing. I keep all that claptrap in my under-seat bag... a backpack or messenger bag. I don't want to be bothered removing that stuff and then worrying about it. It's enough just to worry about passports and boarding passes.
Last edited by JohnFiscal on Sat Jul 10, 2021 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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kramer
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by kramer »

Know yourself. I finally gave up trying to sleep on long flights, so I now I prefer a mid-day or earlier departure instead of an evening departure. I do envy The Sleepers but I am sadly not in their Tribe.

I find it hard to read that long in that situation so I always bring lots of podcasts loaded (and noise-cancelling ear phones), which is a more relaxing activity than watching movies or reading, especially in the latter half of the flight. You can use bluetooth for headphones on the flight.

Always be ready for a range of temperatures, I wear short sleeves and have the thinnest possible jacket that can squish up into like the size of an apple.

I like to have all my phone connectivity already taken care of instead of scrambling at the airport to buy a sim card or something (which I would research ahead of time). I have Google Fi now which just works everywhere.
MJS
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by MJS »

Traveller's crud can happen. Get a roomy singer's face mask, and/or add a silicon mask-support thingy [insert, bracket, frame or brace]. It's not just Covid; the mask helps to avoid catching a cold or the flu. Wiping down your seat area with sanitizing wipes, and good hand washing, helps to avoid norovirus.
Shallowpockets
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Shallowpockets »

I would avoid using any meds. If your anxiety is related to being on the plane and thoughts of bad things happening, you want to be alert. When bad things happen on a plane they may happen quickly. You don’t want to be coming out of a groggy fog and be unable to execute what you may need to do. Plus, a med may help you sleep, but during that sleep you may be so inert that when you wake from extended time in one position, you may have aches and pains. Without meds, you will shift your position more often. Ambien would be the worst of the lot.
Other than that, movies. Watching movies takes care of the ambient noise also.
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BogleFed
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by BogleFed »

Really appreciate all the great tips!
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Bogle7
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Bogle7 »

London wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:32 pmFly business class with a lay flat seat.
+1
Or, first class.
Old fart who does three index funds, baby.
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galawdawg
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by galawdawg »

Bogle7 wrote: Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:04 pm
London wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:32 pmFly business class with a lay flat seat.
+1
Or, first class.
And if those are out of reach, take a look at premium economy offerings. DW and I flew premium economy on an Air Canada 787 to Israel a number of years ago and it was a very comfortable flight even at 10+ hours.
KrisNC
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by KrisNC »

1. Wear comfortable clothing/ layers
2. Slip on shoes
3. IPad loaded with books, movies, shows.
4. Firm neck pillow
5. Long scarf that can be used as blanket
6. Keep all essentials in carryon bag
7. Maybe am paranoid,I wear a passport holder around my neck
8. Snacks and water
9. Try to sleep/be awake in sync with the destination.
10. Relax, watch movies, medidate/introspection/journal
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Watty
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Watty »

One thing I have not seen mentioned is that with the pandemic you will likely need to wear a facemask for the entire flight. I am still really good about wearing them but that could be an issue for a long light. I would likely at least want to have several face masks so I could switch to a fresh one several times during the flight.
Yarlonkol12
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by Yarlonkol12 »

Ive traveled from Atlanta to India a few times, about a 22+ hour journey in total over 2 flights. As I have never been able to sleep on planes, instead of doing 2 10 hour back to back flights I found building a few days at the layover country to be worth while if you can spare the time and want to visit the layover country anyway

Im 6’3” and always fly coach, if I flew an upgraded class I might be able to sleep on the plane which changes the equation. In flight I do audio books, reading, and movies on my phone with noise cancelling headphones
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whodidntante
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by whodidntante »

Regarding the flight:
- If bodyweight is an issue for you, do something about it. It will significantly improve your comfort.
- If possible, don't be tall. :wink:
- Comfortable clothing. I don't like to look like I'm going for a run, but something like khaki pants and polo will do just fine. Jeans are miserable on a flight.
- I recommend short sleeves and have a very light jacket within reach. Temperatures on international flights vary widely and you're very much along for the ride.
- Not a fan of economy class airplane food. Most of the time I'll fast (including no alcohol). Too much alcohol can make a flight miserable.
- Download a few podcasts before getting on the plane.
- High-quality over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones.
- External battery pack to charge your phone and headphones. You don't really want to land and start your day in a foreign country with battery anxiety.
- Stretch, walk around, change position.
- Make sure you are not dehydrated and not deficient in electrolytes when the flight begins. Drink a reasonable amount of water in flight.
- Using a few wet wipes to clean up mid-flight (please go to the bathroom first LOL) will make you feel better.

Regarding jet lag:
- Melatonin to regulate sleep cycle.
- I take NMN, NR, or Niacin in the form of nicotic acid upon landing, assuming most of the day is ahead. If not, the next morning.
- I'll go to the gym and exercise upon landing (unless it's bedtime), or go for a run. This helps a great deal.
- Don't consume more caffeine than is normal for you.
thrillhou
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Re: Boglehead Tips for Long Flights

Post by thrillhou »

kramer wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 10:51 pm I like to have all my phone connectivity already taken care of instead of scrambling at the airport to buy a sim card or something (which I would research ahead of time). I have Google Fi now which just works everywhere.
I like this suggestion, but can be confusing even for technologically savvy who are also thrifty... It's easy to get a card, but is it the best value?? :D


Also, I would recommend knowing the carry-on rules for the non-int'l flights. For example, a couple years ago I was surprised to learn that Austrian Air had weight limits on the carry-on. There can also be very strict rules for the size too -- which are strictly enforced at the gate as well. So, you could do what other have wisely recommended by putting backup or essential things in your carry-on; but if you end up gate checking it... you're now taking on the risk of having it last and thereby defeating your the best laid plans.
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