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How To Survive A Flight


Deep vein thrombosis, dehydration, boredom, jet lag, dry skin... you may be going on holiday, but a flight can feel like the punishment before the prize.

Don't let these easily avoided annoyances ruin your trip, just read Essential Travel Magazine's top ten tips on How To Survive A Flight.

  • Do

    1. PLAN YOUR FLIGHT. Consider your departure and arrival times: flying out at night will give you the opportunity to sleep, but it may also mean you land at your destination at 3am. Also, if possible, book a seat you find comfortable. An aisle seat if you like to move around, a window seat if you hate to be disturbed and the seat by the emergency doors if you need a little extra leg room.

    2. RESEARCH THE AIRLINES. If you're on a long haul flight, the airline is important. Make sure you're happy with the on board entertainment, food and drink options (vegetarian, vegan etc), leg room variations and the airline's reputation - a website like may help. It's also worth checking the cost of an upgrade: the added quality of service may just be worth it!

    3. PACK WISELY. Your hand luggage is incredibly important, not only for your entertainment, but your comfort too. For the former, pack things that keep you occupied: MP3, book, hand held console, laptop, diary, knitting... As for the latter, it's handy to have travel size deodorant and toothbrush to help you feel fresh. Remember to pack earplugs (for those crying babies) and an eyemask (for sleeping).

    4. PAY ATTENTION. Part of surviving a flight means understanding what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure you listen closely to the pre flight safety announcement and check the saftey card in the front pocket of your seat.

    5. STAY MOIST. Dehydration can make your flight uncomfortable and your jet lag even worse. Drink plenty of water, use eyedrops if you suffer from dry eyes and pack a moisturiser for your skin. And, as hard as it may be, lay off the booze!

    6. FRESHEN UP. After a few hours on a flight you can start to feel a little rough around the edges. This is where your careful packing comes into play. Freshen up and change your clothes before you land.

  • Don't

    1. STUFF YOUR FACE. There's nothing worse than feeling bloated or uncomfortable during a flight. So avoid alcohol for 24 hours before you travel, and drink plenty of water. Don't eat fatty or indigestion-inducing foods at the airport.

    2. LOOK GOOD. Even Victoria Beckham changes into joggers once she's on the flight. So, ditch the heels, tight fitting jeans and suits in favour of loose fitting cotton clothes. Layer up so you're prepared for freezing and overly warm conditions.

    3. BE LAZY. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DTV) can occur whenever the body is immobile for extended periods of time. So remember to take regular breaks and walk around.

    4. FALL ASLEEP. Combating jetlag is no mean feat, but it can be done. As well as staying hydrated during the flight, you should set your watch to the local time around an hour before you land to help reprogramme your body clock. If you arrive at night, hit the hay, otherwise try to stay awake for as long as possible to help you adjust to a new sleep pattern.

Last Updated: December 2009