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How to Survive a Long Haul Flight in Coach

If I flew First Class, I wouldn’t be writing this post… because it’s amazing up there.

But since I’m a normal person, just praying I don’t have to sit by the bathroom, let’s talk about the best way to endure a long haul flight in coach.

I haven’t taken a transatlantic flight in a couple of years, but I’ve done a lot of East Coast–>West Coast. Lengthy flights to California, Mexico, and Washington take mental & physical preparation – that’s for sure. These are all 4-7 hr flights depending where your connection is. With our upcoming trip to Italy (!!!), I really thought through what I do differently to prepare for these longer flights, compared to a quick 1-2hr jump to NYC or Chicago. Here’s how to survive a long haul flight when you’re not being served champagne.

Stay Entertained
Be realistic, but prepare content (video, music, reading material) for your entire flight. If you bring a book, make sure it’s a brand new one. You don’t want to run out of reading material half way through your flight (trust me)! If you’re downloading movies onto a laptop or tablet, consider a secondary battery or charger. I purchased this one on Amazon & it recharges my phone twice or my iPad once. That sets me up for binge watching episodes of New Girl I downloaded or reading my eBook. And don’t forget your headphones!
Pro tip: Download new content the night before you leave and put your laptop or tablet on the charger.

Stay Hydrated
The day before your flight, start chugging water. There’s nothing worse than getting on a plane and feeling parched. In the same mindset, limit caffiene 24 hours before your flight if you can (it’s so hard). It’s of course always important to drink lots of water, but stepping up your H2O game before/during/after travel is crutial. I use my Vapur water bottle to continuously fill up without buying a $3 bottle on every layover.

Pick Good Seats (& learn about your perks!)
This might seem obvious, but all economy seats are not created equal. You’ve got your preference, windor or aisle (real quick: is anyone a ‘middle seat person’ by choice?) – then take a look at You’ll plug in some information (like your flight number or what route you’re taking with which airline) and out comes a diagram of your flight, pictures provided by other passengers, tips on the good & bad seats, as well as awesome information about your plane; like if it has outlets, entertainment, free food/food for purchase, wifi, etc. It’s better to know in advance if you’re getting in a TV-less, outlet-less, steel trap for 12 hours.

Pack for Comfort
Wearing comfortable clothes, like soft shirts & stretchy fabrics, will help you get cozy. I also typically carry on a scarf to use as an extra blanket & I’ve recently realized that NOT bringing a pair of socks is a huge mistake when you sit by the window! I also have my favorite pillow & eyemask to hopefully catch a nap…!

Remember, It’s Gonna Be A Long Flight
… there’s no reason to be uncomfortable the whole time. Think about the things you typically do in 4 hours time: have a snack, apply chapstick, chew gum, etc. Prepare for these little habits with an “in flight kit”. This is mine. 

Socks, Pillow, eye mask & ear plugs, Spare headphones, Gum, Concealer, Lotion Stick, Chapstick, Headband/hair tie, 
Oil blotting sheets, Ginger Tea, Emergen-C, Hand sanitizer, Anti-bacterial wipes, Tissues and, Sudafed.

I’ll add a small bag of almonds & a granola bar or two in before I leave (because airplane food is the worst). They’re all compact, so I keep them in an extra small packing cube, which stays fla
t and slips right into my bag. Plus, these are things I’ll end up using once I arrive at my destination anyway. Win-win.

This will have to do until I’m a high roller who lives in First Class. Fingers crossed for a free anniversary upgrade!!!

What do you do to prepare for a lengthy flight? Any pre-flight rituals or stretches I need to know about?