Long distance flying seems to be a long lost friend of mine which I encounter once every few years, no matter where I go! The longest I’ve flown is about 24 hours (including a stop) from Australia to the US, and shortest was 2 hours from Brisbane to Melbourne. I can say that long distance requires a lot more and isn’t always very easy, so here are my tips:
1) Do not assume that just because you arrived once 3 hours early and had to wait at the airport with nothing to do for 2 hours, it will always be like that. I’ve done that, thinking I had plenty of time and not need to rush to get to the airport 3 hours early, but turned out that day, there was such a big, long queue that I ended up feeling as if I didn’t have ENOUGH time!
2) Bring an ipad, they seem to last very long in terms of battery life, and they can help you pass time at the airport. No matter what, there’s always going to be waiting times, and with the ipad, you can easily connect to the internet and watch your favourite movie/show.
3) Put your password, ticket and very important documents in a waist bag, but DO NOT EVER TAKE IT OFF, even when you go to the toilet. Horror story: I had my password, visa, plane ticket, boarding pass, money, ID and every other important document imaginable in that bag, and when I went to the toilet, I took it off because it was getting in the way. I ended up leaving it IN THE TOILET and forgot all about it, until I went back to the seat and felt that something was missing. Did I have a heart attack or what! I rushed back and thank God the person who was in it was the next person in line and they didn’t take it. I can’t imagine the trouble I would’ve had if I lost that.
4) Do not even try to bring water bottles inside, even if it’s unopened.
5) Sleeping on the plane usually passes time very quickly. I find it particularly comfortable to put my legs up a bit higher on the seat, that makes me sleep better.
6) Sometimes, it’s fun to talk to the person sitting next to you if they appear to be friendly.
7) If you haven’t flown a lot and get scared easily, just remember that shaking and such aren’t going to make the plane drop and fall, I used to think that – but they’re just clouds and rough climates, it happens all the time.
8) Don’t watch scary movies like Final Destination before you get on, once I saw this video of a plane blowing up and I could never view planes the same for a long time, it freaked me out!
9) If you feel scared or trapped, be sure to take some ginger with you, it will calm your stomach.
10) If you’re worried about food hygiene (an emetophobic like me is always afraid of things like that), just think: So many people on the plane is eating it and they do this every day, surely they know their hygiene and know how to prepare it properly, they wouldn’t put hundreds of people like that at risk, plus imagine the chaos if everyone got food poisoning on the plane. there’s only 2 toilets at the end of each section.
11) If you are really afraid of flying (not phobia, because that’s more severe), just think that these attendants are on there every day. If it’s that dangerous, they probably wouldn’t be working there. Remember to look at the TV screen at the airport to see just how many planes have “landed”, the more you realise that there are hundreds of planes flying each day with very little accidents, you’ll probably feel much safer.
12) Try and get into the time zone of your destination before you leave, so work out what time it would be there and try planning or doing things around then. For example, at 4pm Australia is usually my bed time in the US, so I should learn to go to bed earlier to avoid jet lag.
13) Try and distract yourself on the plane by watching movies and TV shows.
14) Choose good airlines, my favourite ones: Qantas and Singapore Airlines. I didn’t like Jetstar (too shaky) and United Airlines much. United may seem cheaper but the entertainment system was horrible when I was on it in 2010. They had one TV screen where everyone watched the same movie. Qantas gave every person a screen so you can choose your own movie.
15) Make sure you got your visa sorted out before you take off. Some countries don’t require an actual visa but you need to pay $15 for an electronic one, if you don’t get it – you won’t be able to pass. Don’t assume that just because they don’t seem to check it, they don’t need it. All the details are recorded on your passport.
(Lastly, try and get a window seat once if you can, the view is SO BEAUTIFUL it’s absolutely necessary to experience it!)