Long Haul Flight Essentials + How to Survive Long Flights in Economy

by Joanna E
Long Haul Flight Essentials + How to Survive Long Flights in economy

I’ve been on a good amount of flights since my first one in 1994, but they had nothing on the 9+ hours to Greece or 15 hour flight in Economy that I’ll be taking to Thailand. The red eye to Athens was slightly rough, but I survived! If you’re looking for long haul flight essentials or tips for surviving a long haul flight in economy, here are some tips to keep in mind.

What to Wear on a Long Haul Flight in Economy

The best clothes for a long haul flight are ones that keep you comfortable. I usually wear a tracksuit, sweat pants, and comfortable footwear, but when the weather is warm, workout clothes work well. It is your choice to cover your head or not. Most naturals, bring along a bonnet or satin scarf to keep their hair in place.

Carry on Essentials for Long Flights

If you’re wondering what to pack in your carry-on luggage or personal bag, here are some ideas of what to take on a long haul flight.

Basic Toiletries

Whether I am bringing a carry-on or packing in my personal bag, I bring along basic toiletries and beauty essentials are a must to look and feel fresh post-flight. Pack basic toiletries like toothpaste and toothbrush, lip balm, lotion, a facial mist or sheet mask to keep your skin hydrated.


Coming at a close second, snacks are essential because airplane food is not always the best. If there are any specific food restrictions based on allergies or diet, make sure to let the airline know before the flight when booking or checking in. Otherwise, bring along your favorite packaged snack to eat. Snacks are a must long haul flight essential when booking budget airlines since food is not included.

Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Wipes

There are so many germs on the plane! Bring disinfecting wipes to wipe down your tray table and armrest. This will definitely come in handy if you’re traveling with kids. If you happen to use the restroom, make sure to have hand sanitizer in your personal or carry-on item. Not everyone washes their hands after using the bathroom.

Eye Mask

Eye masks are one of my favorite long haul flight essentials because they keep incoming light away from your eyes, helping you sleep better. For someone that works all day before an overnight flight, eye masks help me go to sleep faster. You need to be well-rested and adjust to the new time to avoid jet lag.

Travel Blanket and Neck Pillow

To avoid the bobblehead effect and sleep comfortably, a neck pillow is a great option. Purchase one with an attachment or hook for your carry-on or personal item so they don’t get lost. Never assume the blankets and pillows on your seat are new because they’re packaged; they’re just recycled from previous passengers. I’ve been on some COLD flights. Bring a travel blanket to keep yourself warm and to avoid an unexpected surprise.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise canceling headphones help reduce the sound of chatty Patty and crying babies. You can also try using ear plugs since they are more cost effective.

Battery Power-bank

If you use your phone or electronic device as a form of entertainment, pack a battery power bank. If you don’t have a portable charger, see if your plane has in-seat power outlets or USB ports for individual entertainment systems.

Compression Socks

If you suffer from blood clots, purchase some Compression socks. Compression socks are good long haul flight essentials because they are designed to help maintain blood flow and reduce discomfort and swelling in your legs.


If you are like me, you probably get bored easily. In-flight entertainment isn’t always entertaining so bring a book, tablet, Kindle, laptop, iPad, portable game or something to keep you occupied. This will make the time pass by quicker.

Long Haul Flight Essentials


Travel Tips for Long Haul Flights

It’s kind of weird the first time around, but flying on long international flights gets easier for me the more I do it. In addition to bringing my travel essentials, here are some tips on how to survive long flights in economy class.

Stay Hydrated – Drink Water!

Staying hydrated is one of the most important to surviving a long flight. With recirculated air, carbonated drinks, and food full of sodium, you can leave a flight feeling dehydrated. To stay hydrated, drink herbal tea, water (you can refill at the airport with an empty water bottle), eat dried or fresh fruits, salads, and vegetables.

Get Some Rest

The one thing I DO appreciate about long flights is I get to sleep more. My doctor wanted to prescribe sleeping aids, but on the way to Shanghai, I slept for 10 or 11 hours. Sleeping also helps prepare your body for the new time zone to avoid jet lag, As long as I had a blanket and travel pillow, I was refreshed for my upcoming trip.

Get an Aisle Seat to Stretch

A great tip on how to survive long flights is to choose the right seat. I personally prefer the aisle if it is a 7+ hour flight. If you plan on getting up often to stretch, choose an aisle seat. I don’t suggest doing yoga in the middle of the plane, but it is good to get up and out of your seat periodically to stretch your legs. If you can’t move around or just prefer a window seat, do in-seat foot pumps or ankle rolls. This helps prevent Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (blood clots).

Upgrade if Necessary

I love traveling, but sometimes it is tough to survive long flights in economy. If you have the money (or the status), upgrade to First class, Business class, or Premium economy for more legroom. Some airlines offer reclining, flatbed or angled seats, private suites and even showers! Sometimes you just want to be more comfortable and there’s nothing wrong with that.

How to survive long flights

What tips do you have on how to survive long flights in economy class?

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Kemkem November 30, 2016 - 9:30 AM

For me, l like books on my iPad. On the long haul flights you have amazing choices of movies it’s hard to get bored. My secret? red wine with dinner or lunch since they’re free. One bottle and l’m down for the count 🙂

Joanna E November 30, 2016 - 9:34 AM

Agreed! The wine will get me sleepy easy. lol I watched about 6 movies on the way to Greece. Hope I have a great choice on this flight.

Terri November 30, 2016 - 9:30 AM

This is a great list. I always bring my pillow and blanket. I wouldn’t dare use the ones provided on flight. I never thought about packing a power bank though.

robincharmagne November 30, 2016 - 6:54 PM

This is a good list. I would add snacks, airline snacks are not that great. And hand wipes are good to have on hand.

Joanna E November 30, 2016 - 11:01 PM

Yes, snack are always good. Thanks for reading Robin.

Kim November 30, 2016 - 10:41 PM

This is a great list! I pack most, if not all. I wear compression tights, I haven’t yet tried the socks though. Any type of sanitizing product is necessary

Don December 1, 2016 - 12:22 PM

Great idea about the socks. We will pick some up.

Donna Shana December 1, 2016 - 1:45 PM

Ok, good list. You know I never remember to get compression socks. I have a bit of a restless leg problem and I usually end up standing or shifting in my seat the entire flight!

Tanya Barnett December 1, 2016 - 7:48 PM

I carry all of these except for the socks. I never thought about wearing the compression socks.

Latoya December 1, 2016 - 8:00 PM

I flew for the first time this year and I was scared out of my mind. Mind you the total flight time was only about an 1.5 (30 minutes to ATL and a layover for a 1hr flight to Orlando). So, I’m not sure if I will ever be able to stomach a longer flight than that, but I will keep these in mind. Word is I’m supposed to be going to a blogger conference in Texas next year and I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to manage that flight, lol!

RaNesha December 2, 2016 - 7:17 AM

We plan to visit New Zealand soon I am going to borrow your tips

Mimi Green December 2, 2016 - 8:05 AM

The longest flight I’ve done is 6 hours. I don’t board a flight without having my peppermint candy and oil.

Kirstin Fuller December 2, 2016 - 8:16 AM

Fab advice. Most of these I travel with all the time. I pack several power banks just in case one is depleted, I’ll always have a power source ready.

Thirty30Courtney December 2, 2016 - 10:14 AM

I really need to start wearing compression socks. I act like I’m invincible because I’m 27 but my health is important. Thanks for the reminder.

Kiwi December 5, 2016 - 6:20 AM

I never thought about compression socks! I want to go to Tokyo early 2017 so I will remember to get me some!


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