6 Ways to Get Comfy on a Long-Haul Flight, According to an Airline Staff Member

6 Ways to Get Comfy on a Long-Haul Flight, According to an Airline Staff Member

Travel is not just back, it’s back with fresh new routes for folks hoping to travel between hemispheres. Back in September 2022, Air New Zealand began running direct flights from Auckland to New York City, and Qantas’ inaugural Perth to Rome direct flight took flight in June 2022. A long-haul flight like that clocks in at about 15 hours, which is a considerable amount of time to spend in the air. So, how do you increase your comfort levels when spending hours on a plane?

We chatted with Debbie Ridgway, Air New Zealand’s 787 Inflight Service Manager, to ask for her top tips on getting comfy when taking a long-haul flight. Here’s what she shared.

Tips for getting comfortable on your next long-haul flight

long haul flight comfort

Before your long-haul flight:

Ridgway split her top tips into two parts: before the flight and during the flight. Here’s what she suggests you try and do before every long-haul flight.

  1. Take a nap: “I like to sleep when I can prior to flying, so if I’m even the slightest bit tired during the day, I’ll try and get a nap in to refresh myself. The much-needed downtime can be useful,” she shared.
  2. Exercise before your flight: “Going to the gym or for a walk for some exercise helps put you into a good mindset and [can] reduce any pre-flight stress.”
  3. Do an outside activity: “It could be a simple stroll down the block, or spending time in my garden. I find that if I’m going to be in a smaller space for a long period of time, the fresh air [beforehand] helps with my mental health and keeps me grounded!”

During your long-haul flight:

  1. Choose comfy clothing: “Dress in light and loose-fitting clothing – something that you can move around in comfortably.”
  2. Stretch that bod: “Once the seatbelt sign is off, feel free to get up and move about to stretch your legs, as you don’t want to be sitting still for prolonged periods. You could even grab a pair of travel socks to promote circulation in your legs while you’re sitting. There are also seat stretches you can do via our In-Flight Entertainment on Air New Zealand aircraft.
  3. Keep your water intake up: “Hydration is key – during the day, I try to drink 4 litres of water before a night flight and then another 2L on board. Your body definitely needs it to stay hydrated, and it helps with any tiredness.”

How to get to sleep during a flight

Snoozing mid-flight is something that some people are naturally able to master, and others will forever struggle with. It’s just one of those unfair things in life. However, Ridgway does have some tips you can try next time you travel on a long-haul flight.

In essence, her advice is to try and approach it like your average bedtime routine where possible.

“To ensure you have a better sleep on a flight, I would recommend avoiding using your electronic devices too much before trying to get to sleep, as blue light suppresses the body’s production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us feel drowsy),” Ridgway said.

She recommends switching off anything electronic between half an hour to an hour before your intended bedtime.

“Instead of getting your entertainment from your electronic devices, why not crack open your favourite novel or jot down a list of things to do on your holiday?” she suggested.

“Finally, I would also try replicating your normal sleeping routine as best you can – use a face mist to hydrate, do your skincare routine, and brush your teeth.”

What other details should I keep in mind?

These are small points, but worth remembering as they’re key for the above comfort tips.

Ridgway shared that travellers on long-haul flights should keep in mind that “The crew on your flight are there to ensure you feel as at ease as possible, and you can ask us to provide you with toiletries such as toothbrushes and toothpaste if you need it.”

Additionally, rather than waiting for individual cups of water, ask if the crew would mind refilling your bottle for you. “We can fill it up for you at the drinking water taps located around the aircraft. Keep in mind, the tap water in our aircraft toilets is not for consumption,” she highlighted.

If you’d like more travel comfort tips, may we suggest taking a look at this mind-blowing explanation on how to properly wear a travel pillow next? We have been doing it wrong since forever.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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