Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Advice for Long Flights

One of the difficulties of travel is unusually long flights. About 20 years ago I flew from New York to Johannesburg on South African Airways, and the flight took 14 hours. Then it was the longest non-stop flight in the world.

Today, though, 16 hour or longer flights are common. Being in a small space for this length of time is a real challenge to both body and mind, but there are ways of coping. Check out www.flyertalk.com issue of May 13 for different people's suggestions on how to deal with it.

 Most of the travellers emphasize not drinking alcohol but drinking plenty of water or juice, and trying to sleep for part of the flight. Some also recommend using prescription medication for sleep, and carrying ear plugs, eye masks and inflatable pillows, and getting up frequently to walk around. This last item is not always easy, especially if there is turbulence and the seat belt sign is on a lot.

Others do recommend some alcohol to deal with anxiety. It all seems to depend on the individual. I don't have any foolproof recommendations myself, other than avoiding these very long flights if possible.

I like inflatable pillows, and sometimes drink a little alcohol. I try to avoid drinking a lot of water because of the bathroom problem. I have never tried a sleep medication. Sometimes I can sleep on planes, but not when I am visiting a new place because I am usually too excited about the trip. Perhaps the best solution is just to grin and bear it, because even the longest flight eventually ends.


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