We are used to taking a 2-hour flight from Macau, where we are currently living, to the Philippines, our home country. The longest flight that we had was a four-hour flight to Thailand. And even that, is like a I-seat-finish-one-book-and-voila-we-are-here flight. Long distance flight is not something we are accustomed to. Not until we made our trip to the United States.
Taking a long distance flight needs a lot of preparation to make sure that everything runs smoothly. There are some things you can’t be ready for and some things are unavoidable, but, at least you can be prepared. So, are you about to have your first long distance flight? Here are 15 things on how to properly prepare for a Long Distance Flight.
1. Know your fight itinerary.
If you are on a connecting flight, be aware of the connection time. Connection time is crucial if the first leg of your flight is delayed, you might miss the next leg of your travel. Make sure that ample time is provided for connection. Buy your ticket whether connection on a single transaction, thus, one airline. This will make you not liable in case the first flight is delayed. They will put you right straight on the next available flight free of charge. There is a high chance you get seat upgrade. Research about transit procedure proves to be very helpful too.
2. Be aware of airlines’ electronic restrictions.
Read airline forums and see what gadgets your airline prohibits. Some airline may not allow you to use any kind of electronic gadgets. Some, may allow you to use tablet, kindle, and laptop, but not a cellular phone even when it’s on airplane mode. You do not want to download all your movies and music in your phone and not be able to use it, that’s going to be a bummer. It’s gonna be a very long flight.
3. Inform the airline of your dietary restrictions/mea preference in advance.
When you make your booking, you may choose your preferred meal or if it’s not available, send them an e-mail in advance. Tell them specifically your food allergies, because, the last thing you would want is to need medical attention during flights.
4. Make a check list.
This might be the OC part of me saying, but, making a check list is important before traveling. List down all your needed medicine, gadgets, documents, equipments, and the list goes on. If you’ll go hiking, bring everything and do not ever think that you can buy it at your destination. It’s a waste of time and what if there is none?
5. Check in online.
Checking in online allows you to choose your own seats, cut the queues, and gives you extra time for preparation. Some airlines allow you to check in 48 hours in advance, while most, a day within your flight.
6. Weigh and properly tag your luggage.
Flights to US and other countries give more than 45 kilos of check-in luggage for each passenger. But each luggage should only weigh up to 23 kilos, so you must take two luggage if you exceed the weight. Weigh it before going to the airport to prevent paying for luggage fee or for having the hassle of fixing your suitcase right there and then. After weighing, tag your luggage properly for easy identification.
7. Prepare a carry-on luggage.
One of the fears of having a long flight is missing your luggage. That’s a nightmare especially if all our belongings are in the check-in luggage. It will take a day or couple of days to retrieve, making you buy some personal things that are not on your budget. To prevent this, prepare a carry-on luggage with one or two pairs of clothing and toiletries. For toiletries, make sure the liquid do not exceed the required quantity to hand carry.
8. Purchase a travel insurance.
Some would say that having travel insurance is futile. Well, I would say no. Having travel insurance can make you feel secure. We do not know whether your flights get delayed or your luggage get lost, or something emergency happens. We will never know, but, at least your travel is insured. If you do not get to use your insurance, that means your flight/travel has run smoothly. Travel insurance may cost as low as USD40.
9. Download movies/songs/podcast.
Everyone knows that sometimes in-flight entertainment is unreliable. Sometimes the movies are not what you’ll watch while your stuck on this big flying tube. Download your own movies to help you pass time. Listening to podcast is more distracting than listening to music, so download that too.
10. Bring a book.
Book is my best travel buddy next to my wife. Book is always reliable, whether on long flights or whenever. Though, you must choose books that will help you engage intensely and not some boring-can-make-you-go-to-sleep books.
11. Bring extra food.
I know of some people who never eat airplane food. I wouldn’t blame them sometimes. If the food is not really good, it’s important that you bring your own food. Nobody wants to be hungry.
12. Sleep well before you travel.
It’s a common mistake that people think that not sleeping before flying is a good idea, so you can sleep during flights. That is a big no no. No matter how you lack sleep, sleeping during flights are sometimes hard. With all these people talking, babies crying, flight crew’s serving refreshments, or simply the uncomfortable seat, good luck on thinking you will have a very good trip to neverland.
13. Have your noise-canceling earplug and eye mask ready.
Of course, the long flights are not all for watching movies or reading books or chit chatting. You also need to rest your eyes and your body. If it’s the time to sleep, give in and wear your ear plug and eye mask to help you.
14. Charge all your electronic devices.
I know that on these age, we will forget to bring some important things, but, never our gadgets. So, this one is definitely a given.
15. Make a contingency plan for any flight delays or cancellations.
It might totally ruin your vacation if you made a plan on your arrival, arrange everything and your flights got delayed. You never want that to happen. Make sure that contingencies are in order to prevent disappointment.
After making sure that everything is prepared, you can definitely be guaranteed the best time on your vacation. Remember that if everything doesn’t go according to plan, be spontaneous. Travelers are the most resourceful people in the world. You deserve this vacation. Enjoy!