Travelling is fun but for a lot of people, the thought of a long or ultra-long haul flight is the stuff of nightmares. I, on the other hand, I love long-haul flights. Yes, I am weird. For me the idea of being out of network coverage for 15 – 20 hours, no one to bother me about work and the chance to just be with myself and relax is unbeatable. Clearly, I have a lot of unnecessary patience. 

It was not always that I loved to sit inside an aluminium cylinder for hours together. Hence, I would like to share my secrets of how to survive on long haul flights and hope that you grow to love it as much as I do.


I discovered my love for long haul flights when I realised the power of noise cancellation headphones. These things are miraculous. You put them on and you automatically silence that talkative little twit beside you (probably much to his annoyance). As you can see, I hate talking to random strangers on flights. Flights are mostly the only time when my brain can decompress and unwind and if you are going to keep talking incessantly about your life (which I don’t care about BTW), you shall be subjected to headphones. 

Don’t forget to load that tablet with entertainment for the flight. Many airlines have in-flight entertainment but they may not have what you want. I always fire up my iPad with movies that I want to watch (but I don’t want to go to the theatre to watch them), music, e-books and offline games and my 20 hours is sorted. 

Now you might be thinking that you might take one 20 hour flight once in a lifetime. Why do you need to buy an iPad (which is expensive for the average Indian) just for that one flight? Well… you don’t have to buy an iPad. There are multiple tablets available in the market and online shopping sites (Amazon. Sign up for Amazon Prime and get awesome deals too) that start from Rs. 5000 or less. Take your pick!

You will also need to keep all these electronics charged. Carry your chargers in your carry-on luggage for easy access. However, you should keep a backup option as well – a power bank, just in case there aren’t any charging plugs available at your seat.

Clothing & Accessories

I don’t know if you have noticed, but a lot of women wear shorts and hot pants in planes. I have no idea how they survive the freezing cold temperature after about 30 minutes in the plane. I prefer to dress lose and be covered. I wear a lot of layers. So if I feel cold I keep them all on and if I start to feel uncomfortably hot (which is never on planes!) I can choose to de-layer myself. Also, constricting clothes can stop your blood circulation after a point of time and that can lead to many anomalies. 

Another thing that I just don’t get. Stilettoes while travelling! Don’t get me wrong… I love them. But why would you torture your feet on a long flight? Why? Sandals or closed flat shoes are the best.  You can wear/remove them easily and they go well with socks and they don’t kill your legs. 

Don’t wear too many accessories on a flight. You will eventually get annoyed managing them while sleeping, eating and just generally also. Worse case, you might accidentally break or lose them.

Always carry a scarf/shawl to keep you warm. Someone also told me to carry a light blanket but I don’t see that happening anytime in my life.

Always keep the following products with you.

  • Lip balm – your lips will get dry and start chapping.
  • Hydrating body lotion, hand and face cream – to keep your skin hydrated.
  • Nasal spray – if you have a tendency towards catching cold (like yours truly)
  • Eye drops – sometimes eyes get really dry and itchy on flights. Clear eye drops really help!
  • Nail cutter – if you have long nails, you wouldn’t want to break one and keep scratching yourself with the edges.
  • Glasses – If you wear lenses switch to glasses for the flight. Lenses can be quite the pain on long hauls.

The Seat

Check with your crew if there are a couple of vacant seats on the plane. It will give you more room to spread your legs or even lie down (which is a luxury in coach).
Remember that some airlines cram in more seats than others.

Do your homework on cabin layouts in advance at websites such as Unless you love the stink of the lavatories and a good shake during turbulence, avoid sitting at the very back of a plane.

Here is a quick low-down on how aircraft seats work:

  • If you want more leg room, opt for exit rows
  •  If you want to avoid crying children, stay away from the beginning of economy section (that is the first row of economy and the next dividers) as this is often where you'll find special provision for babies on international flights
  •   If you like to move about the plane (or have quick access to the loos) make sure you get an aisle seat


I cannot sleep on flights unless I am very tired. This is quite the pain in the wrong place. Because nobody (not even a weirdo like me) wants to sit and watch movies or listen to music or read for the entire duration of the flight. I have figured out a solution for that as well. 

I carry the most boring book that I have ever read in my life – The Animal Farm. How the storyline is reflective of the Russian Revolution is beyond me. And who the hell names a pig, “Pig”? Anyway, I have never crossed page number 12 in that book. Why? That page is my cue to fall asleep! Voila!

Talking about sleep, many airlines will give you pillows and blankets. But those pillows are not very useful. I would suggest that you invest in a good neck pillow so that your head doesn’t slide off every 30 seconds.

And finally, the death glare

Karma loves to mess with me. On every early morning or red eye flight that I have taken in my life, there has been that annoying little kid who won’t stop yelling his lungs out for no apparent reason. Said child will be seated within your vicinity so that you do not miss out on his/her outburst. 

This is when the death glare comes in handy. Muster up the ugliest/scariest face that you can make. Now, wait for the kid or the parents to look at you. Once they do, inflict master blaster rays of the look at them. Your expression should show that if the kid doesn’t shut the hell up or the parents fail from shutting him up, you will line them up in a skewer, add some barbeque sauce and make them your dinner. 


Deea is an Influencer Marketer, content creator, traveller, photographer and blogger.