Tips on How to Survive a 15-hour Flight

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If you have a long flight coming up and are looking for tips on how to survive it then you have come to the right place. I have taken several long-haul flights recently and have come up with a strategy on how reduce (or even eliminate) jet lag. Let’s begin!

Every time I am in a plane, I see people making little errors that will cause them to get jet lag when they reach their journey. Many people think that jet lag is unavoidable, and in very long flights that is true. However, if a flight is less than 6 hours there is no reason that you should get jet lag, even if you’re crossing time zones. However, with long haul flights jet lag is hard to fight. Especially ones that are over 8 hours.

1. DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL OR SODA, STICK TO WATER

The biggest mistake that people make over and over again is drinking too little water and too much alcohol. In truth, even one cup of alcohol is too much when you are flying. At around 12 percent humidity, an airplane cabin is drier than you will find most deserts. This is chiefly a by-product of cruising at high-altitudes, where moisture content is somewhere between low and nonexistent. Therefore, if you drink alcohol in an airplane, it’s worst drinking alcohol in a dessert – which is a guaranteed way to get a headache – especially since alcohol is dehydrating by itself. Do yourself a favor and stick to water or juice. Soda isn’t hydrating either.

2. BRING A LARGE EMPTY WATER BOTTLE THROUGH SECURITY THEN FILL IT UP BEFORE YOU GET ON THE PLANE

I recommend bringing a large empty water bottle with you through security then filling it up once you are at your gate. There are two reasons for this. The first is you don’t have to pay the premium price that airports charge for water. The second is that you will not have to ask the flight attendant for more water continuously. In general, they don’t provide people with enough water to not get a headache while flying. It is best to drink eight ounces of water for every hour that you’re on the flight. This will ensure that you are properly hydrated.

3. WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHING 

Wearing my Betabrand hoodie

Wear clothing that you would be comfortable sleeping in but also going through security check line in. I normally wear black cotton leggings, a loose fitting shirt, and my favorite traveling hoodie. This hoodie is from Betabrand and I love it because it has thumbholes, a secret pocket for your flight ticket, and a pocket for your passport. It helps to keep me organized because the two most important pieces of airline travel are always on me, even if my bag isn’t. The hoodie also has a built in eye cover lined with fur that can also transform into a neck pillow. Betabrand has an entire line of men and women’s travel clothing. It’s worth checking out!

4. HAVE A FLIGHT KIT AT HAND 

I also bring with me a flight kit that makes the journey more enjoyable and helps to reduce jet lag. I always keep this with me in my seat. Since sleeping on a flight is key to adjusting to a time difference, I do everything I can to get to sleep easier. In your kit, you should have: 

  • An eye mask because it’s scientifically proven that people sleep better in total darkness.
  • ear plugs to quiet the noise from any crying babies on the plane.
  • lavender oilis my secret weapon. It has calming elements that can help you relax and fall asleep faster.
  • Two pairs of headphones because if one breaks you don’t want to be stuck on a long flight with no headphones to watch a movie with.
  • A kindle to read
  • Chapstick
  • Two to three healthy snacks that aren’t too salty. The reason they should not have much salt is because the plane cabin is so dry already! Avoiding extra salty snacks, like chips, will help to avoid jet lag.
  • Moisturizer
  • Toothbrush & paste
  • Face wash
  • Patchology facemasks (1 for every 8 hours you are on the flight)

5. MOISTURIZE YOUR SKIN EVERY 3 HOURS

My Patchology facemasks and Cosmedix travel kit.

Another secret weapon I use is to apply lotion to my face and hands every three hours. This is again because the airplane cabin is dryer than a desert. I love the age-defying starter kit from Cosmedix because it has lotion, face wash, defense serum, and renewal serum in one compact kit. On flights over 8 hours, I will also do a face mask from Patchology. Since your skin is the body’s largest organ, applying lotion to it will help keep you hydrated and reduce the chances of jet lag. 

6. SET YOUR WATCH TO THE LOCAL TIME IMMEDIATELY 

Watch by Daniel Wellington – Captured in Cyprus by Sarah

The moment you get on the plane, set your watch to the time zone that you are flying to and base your schedule in the plane off of that. For example, if it is daytime in that location you are traveling to when the plane takes off, try to stay awake until it is bedtime in that location. This will help you adapt to the local time faster. 

7. KEEP A NORMAL SCHEDULE 

Although you’re in a completely abnormal situation, try to do the tasks you would normally do. For example, if you are about to go to sleep, brush your teeth, and do anything else in your bedtime routine. I normally wash my face, put on night lotion, and change into pajamas. I recommend changing once for every 8 hours you are on a flight to feel fresher. 

8. UPGRADE YOUR SEATS 

If you can pull this one off then the rest of the tips don’t really matter. Getting your seat upgraded from economy to literally anything better will be a game changer. There are many ways to try to do this. Sometimes if you want something, all you have to do is ask. When you check in, say to the agent: “If you are upgrading passengers on this flight, I would like to be considered.” Be sure to smile. Many of the people gate agents deal with are complaining; you’ll stand out if you’re friendly and polite. 

Remember, the early bird gets the worm. Instead of trying to get the attention of the agent while he or she is busy with other passengers, show up early and be the first one to ask. Your flight may have only one or two upgrades available.

9. ADD A STOP OVER

One way to survive a 15 hour flight is to simply not have one! A great strategy to making travel less stressful is to add a stop over at another location when you’re traveling far. AirWander creates unique flight combinations and presents bonus destinations (stopovers) for any itinerary. Only with AirWander travelers can easily add optimal cities to their trip which can reduce their total flight cost and will definitely add wanderlust. Travelers who don’t have time to visit a bonus destination also can benefit from AirWander flight combinations, which can reduce the flight cost by up to 80%.

Doing these nine tips will help you survive a 15-hour flight even if you are in economy seating. Enjoy your flight and have a wonderful trip!

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4 Comments

  1. Shirley Lance on January 16, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Great tips!! I travel quite a bit on 22 hour flights and really like the 2-3hr stops overs and have stayed in one of the hotels in the Airport at KL, Malaysia to catch a morning flight to Sarawak. We only get 4 hrs to 5 hrs rest or sleep before the next flight but well worth the money and really helps. Going through Dubai has an 11hr stopover!!
    I agree with all your tips. What also helps me is to do the leg exercises they give in the magazine or your own. I do some in my seat and also get up and go to one of the larger areas to do some stretches, as well as walk down the aisles by the seats in the plane when folks are sleeping to increase my circulation. The last trip I had a course starting when I arrived after a 25 hours of flying, so I asked my doctor for a couple of sleeping pills which I used on one of the 12 or 15 hour flights and it really helped. These are trips from Toronto to Malaysia, China, Singapore. Have a super day!!

  2. Rocky on March 2, 2021 at 4:34 am

    Nice tips. The only thing I do on my 16.5 hr straight flight is sleep..sleep..sleep..time will just pass by unknowingly..if you can’t sleep read books/kindle…if not, find a hot chick/air hostess and start a friendship.. trust me you will not notice time..

  3. Elle on December 8, 2021 at 4:57 am

    I appreciate the tips. Only one I disagree with is the lavender oil- I love it too. As a respiratory therapist I learned that many scents, even totally natural ones like lavender or other essential oils can cause severe reactions for others. For some it could be an emergency- imagine a flight where you’re captive and have to use an inhaler constantly. Also, scent is subjective- what you find pleasant might be really gross to someone else.

  4. Jess on March 1, 2022 at 1:49 pm

    So grateful for these tips! Taking my first 12hr flight and I was a little antsy on how I will survive in the most comfortable way possible.

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