Worried about long flights?
Travel Insurance

Worried about long flights?

Here are some handy tips to prepare you for the flight.

Lighter and more fuel-efficient planes with the ability to fly greater distances is prompting airlines to introduce flights of longer durations. There are flights from Mumbai to New York, Singapore to the US, etc., that last over 15 hours.

While such non-stop long-haul flights are tempting if you do not want to go through the hassles of stops, connecting flights, layovers, they are not as easy to endure if you are not adequately prepared. Travelling in a cramped space, in a pressurised environment of semi-circulated air, and low humidity can take a toll on the body.

It starts with planning and preparation:

As far as possible, you should look at booking flights at more convenient hours, and again to the extent possible, fly the newer aircraft where cabins are pressurised at lower altitudes, and have quieter engines.

Then, you need to begin your health regimen at least 2 days prior to departure. You should drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep. Some relaxing aromatic oil on the temple or pillow can help with further relaxation. You should also try to get some moderate exercise and some fresh air, possibly during the daytime to get some vital Vitamin-D. Remember to carry medicines that you may require, in your hand baggage, with doctor’s prescription.

While legroom in the economy class across most airlines is cramped, you should try to get the best seats which afford the opportunity of some additional space to enable you to stretch your legs even while seated. Getting to the airport well in time to complete the check-in, security and immigration formalities will result in a relaxed experience, and give you the opportunity to walk around the terminal, shop, have a light snack, and if possible even buy some fresh food that you could have on the plane.

During the Flight

If you are taking a long flight, board as late as possible to spend the minimum time possible within the aircraft. Wear loose, comfortable clothes in layers, such as T-shirt or top, long pullover; scarf or shawl, loose pants, comfortable shoes, compression socks since sitting for long could result in swelling of ankles, and carry your own travel pillow. Remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated due to the dry on-board environment. Preferably, you should carry your own empty bottle that you should fill at the airport itself once you have crossed security.

Avoid sodas, alcohol and caffeine since they dehydrate you. If you want, you could have green or herbal tea. The dry cabin atmosphere also dries your skin and lips, and it is important that you moisturise with a good quality face cream, and use a lip balm.

Also, as far as possible, eat a light meal during flights – preferably fresh fruits and avoid the processed airline meals that could be high in sugar and starch. You sho1uld ideally eat at the airport before the flight, avoiding items that give you gas, or slow down digestion.

You should move around as much as possible during the flight, or do a range of in-flight exercises that boost blood circulation, such as lifting your calves, rotating your ankles, some gentle stretches of neck, shoulders etc. Light exercises will reduce the chance of deep-vein thrombosis and blood clots that could be life threatening.

Wash your hands regularly. If possible, carry wet tissues or small sanitiser bottles, especially when you use the toilet.

Many people suffer from painful ears, especially during descents, as changes in air pressure affects the ears. Swallowing, yawning, chewing gum, etc., are some helpful options to avoid ear pain.


Once you arrive at the destination, go for a walk and get your feet moving, if possible bare feet on natural grass, and remember to get a good night’s sleep to get you refreshed at the soonest.

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