7 Ways to Survive A Long Flight When You’re Sitting in Coach

Bring it on.

By Chanel Dror

In less than two weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane for the longest flight I’ve ever taken. The total amount of time spent on the aircraft? 16.5 hours, non-stop. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t freaking out a little bit. Put me on an 11-hour flight to Europe any day, but 16.5?! That’s cause for concern, right? I’m doing lots of planning to prepare for the journey, and while I’ve listed out a few of ideas below, I’d love to hear any expert advice you guys might have. Currently accepting all the help I can get!

image via wit and delight

flight, plane, travel

photo via debiflue

1. Sit Strategically

Surviving a long international flight starts with making preparations long before takeoff. This flight to Tai Pei is the first time I’ve used SeatGuru, which allows you to see detailed information and reviews about every seat on your aircraft. Can you imagine having limited leg room or a chair that doesn’t recline for that many hours? Doing your due diligence when you’re buying your ticket or checking in helps to avoid those kinds of nightmares.

Pistachio Coconut Almond Pulp Granolaphoto via julia garland

2. Pack Your Snacks

We all know that airplane food can be hit-or-miss (and usually, it’s a miss.) For this trip, I’m channeling my inner soccer mom and packing all the healthy snacks imaginable ahead of time. Fruits and veggies, nuts, and granola are high on my list — what am I forgetting?!

photo via urban outfitters

3. Get Some Good Headphones

I wouldn’t dream of traveling without my noise cancelling headphones. The moment I put them on — whether it’s to watch movies or listen to music — the roar of the engine and the sound of crying babies just fade away…

beauty, makeup, makeup bag, skincarephoto via new darlings

4. Pack Your In-Flight Beauty Essentials

There’s nothing that instantly upgrades my in-seat experience like a little spa sesh (Camille swears by these under eye patches). I love to have mini-sized pampering products on hand for an instant pick-me-up. For the full breakdown on our fave ways to make your seat feel like a mini spa, check out our post on the best TSA-approved toiletries for your in-flight beauty routine.

photo via free people

5. Invest In a Travel Pillow

I have a bad habit of buying a new one of these at the gate just before boarding, and then leaving it on the plane. They’re just such a pain to carry around! But since I’ve never been on a flight quite this long, I’m now planning in advance to find the best travel pillow money can buy. Travel + Leisure recommends a few — do any of you have one that you swear by?

Get the Southwest Companion Passphoto via sole society

6. Pack Less

Ever noticed how the more you have crammed into your carry on, the more you struggle with the simple task of finding things and returning them to your bag? And if that tray table is down with beverages on it, well, navigating that situation isn’t pretty. It could even result in a pulled muscle! No? Just me? Fine.

Over the years I’ve learned that the fewer things I pack into that bag, the better. And if I can organize them to be accessible in the seat back pocket in front of me, I might even have a — dare I say it — comfortable flying experience.

Camille Styles Fitness Tutorials: ballerina stretchesphoto via free people

7. Get Moving

We all know the importance of staying mobile on long international flights. On this trip, I’m planning on setting a reminder to get up and walk around every hour, and I’ll have this blog post bookmarked for frequent deep stretching.

Nitsa Citrine of Sun Potion at home in Malibu

photo by claire huntsberger

8. Think Happy Thoughts

When all else fails, shifting your mindset could mean the difference between 15 hours of misery, and the exciting first leg of your adventure. On The Tim Ferris Show, scientist M. Sanjayan recently described the mind shift technique he employs on long flights. Rather than focusing on how uncomfortable you are, imagine how much more uncomfortable you could be. When compared to a standing room-only 12 hour-long bus ride through rural India, suddenly, you might find comfort in your reclining upholstered seat and air conditioned cabin.