So, now that you know what to bring, what do you do and how do you get some sleep?! As mentioned before, I’m about to board my 10th 12+ hour flight in seven months. I don’t fly business class, and this is the routine I swear by to survive a long-haul flight in economy.
Check out my hour-by-hour (adjustable to your flight plan!) guide below:
- Pick a window seat - more room for different sleeping positions.
- Purchase (or bring) your own dinner/breakfast - airline food is gross, filled with sodium and covered in plastic packaging. Bleh.
- Pack your essentials strategically. Check out my guide on what to pack to survive a long haul flight in economy.
Hour 0 (as soon as you board):
- Use the bathroom as late as possible before take off. I like to board the plane, set my stuff in my seat and head straight to the bathroom.
- Adjust your mental clock to your destination time zone as soon as you step on the plane. You will never get over jet lag if you keep calculating what time it is at home.
- Try to get some work done, or watch that movie you’ve been dying to see to make the time pass.
- Your service team will serve “dinner”. Take out your own food at this time. Don’t be the person eating stinky food unless everyone else is eating too.
- Ask a flight attendant to fill up your entire water bottle for you, so you eliminate use of plastic cups and you won’t have to keep asking.
- When your flight attendant will pick up everyone’s trash, ask your seat mates to use the restroom before they have a chance to zzzz out.
- Go to the bathroom, change into pajamas, put on compression socks, put up hair, brush teeth, remove makeup.
- Return to your seat.
- Mix in melatonin powder in a cup of water (or take sleep additive of choice).
- Turn on a movie you’ve seen before. This will help your mind focus on something, but you won’t be stimulated and tempted to fight sleep to see the ending.
- The airline will dim the lights in the cabin. and your sleepiness will start to kick in.
- Use ear buds + sleeping mask to catch as much sleep as possible.
- Your service team will serve “breakfast”. Refuse the airline food once again, and pull out your own breakfast. My go-to? An RxBar and banana I purchased at the previous airport.
- Same drill. Once your service team picks up the trash from everyone else’s breakfast, ask your seat mate to use the restroom.
- Change back into regular clothes (+new underwear) and bring a water bottle with you to brush teeth. Fix hair, apply moisturizer and toner to rehydrate your skin.
- Return to your seat.
- Land feeling (somewhat) refreshed, and ready to meet your travel destination.
There she is! My exact in-flight plan that has saved me countless hours lost to jet lag, and how I manage to sleep on a long haul flight in economy.
If you’re planning a fantastic long trip, or have any recommendations on how to tweak my plan, let me know!