Discovering our World

Travel, beauty, fashion, style and lifestyle blog by Ashley Liddle

How to: What is worth remembering when preparing for a long plane flight?

This year I’m going to Europe, because it’s been a while since the last time and I already miss my family, friends and European atmosphere a bit.

Flights from the US to Europe are long. It takes about 11 hours to fly from Los Angeles to Poland. This time I chose LOT because I like flying Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. It is one of the most modern aircraft operating transatlantic flights. The Boeing 787-9 is almost 63 meters long, which is more than six meters longer than each of the eight smaller B787-8s used by LOT. The “nine” takes 294 passengers on board, which is 42 more than the “eight”. Inside, we feel like in a big airship. Thanks to its mass, turbulence is less felt and the landing seems smoother. I also like to use the preview cameras that show the view outside the aircraft from 3 angles – the very front, tail and landing gear.

The service at LOT is very nice, drinks are often offered on transatlantic flights, two hot meals are served, and in the meantime snacks, e.g. peanuts or chocolate wafers. When choosing LOT, I usually change planes in Warsaw. The flight from Los Angeles to Warsaw takes 11 hours, then only 2 hours and I’m already in Belgium, where I’m going this year.

So what is worth remembering when preparing for such a long flight?

1. A seat by the window or the alley?

Firstly, it is a good idea to check in online within 24 hours before departure. During this check-in you will be able to choose your seats.

There are three classes of seats to choose from on board: 24 in the business class, which unfold into a flat bed (six more than the smaller version of the Dreamliner), 21 in the economy premium with a distance between the seats increased by several centimeters (their number has not changed), 249 in economy class (36 more than in the B787-8). The seating arrangement in the larger Dreamliners remains the same as in the B787-8, i.e.: 2-2-2 in business class, 2-3-2 in premium economy and 3-3-3 in economy. The new Dreamliner takes not only more passengers, but also cargo. For those who like to sleep on the plane, I recommend seats by the window, because you can count not only on amazing views, but also comfortably lean a pillow against the wall. The downside is the need to apologize to the neighbors when going to the passage, for example, to the toilet. Another good choice is the aisle seats in the middle row. We have the freedom to get up and stretch our legs whenever we want, and if we are traveling in two, no one but the accompanying person will disturb us asking for passage. It is best if you manage to choose seats near the emergency exit, because then we gain more legroom. Therefore, it is worth checking in as early as possible, because these places are usually filled up quickly. I do not recommend places near the toilet, because not only will there be more traffic, but also quite loud here and the sounds are rather unpleasant.

2. How to dress?

Dress comfortably and lightly, but warmly. The planes are not cold, but they are air-conditioned and you can feel a slight breeze of cool air. The most important thing is to dress comfortably, because you will spend a lot of time in a sitting position. For me, leggings, a t-shirt and a sports sweatshirt are the most comfortable.

3. Slippers

This is my new discovery. I often had a dilemma what shoes to put on, so that they could be easily removed and put on, but also matched the rest of the outfit. I do not recommend any high-heeled shoes of the “stiletto” type, because you should expect to cover long distances at the terminals, and sometimes you have to be in a hurry. Adidas or other flat shoes are best. The most important thing is that they are comfortable. I like to take off my shoes during the flight because then my legs rest, but it is inconvenient to put them on and take them off every time I get up from the chair. I also do not recommend walking barefoot or in socks in the corridor and to the toilet. So why not bring slippers? The best ones are those that can be thrown into the washing machine after the flight, because the floors in airplane toilets are not very trustworthy. I spent my previous flight in slippers and from now on I will always pack them in my carry-on suitcase.

4. Travel pillow

Some people cannot imagine flying without them, others do not understand how to use them. I usually take a travel pillow with me just in case. It is true that on long routes, airlines provide all passengers with a light blanket and a small rectangular pillow, so the tourist “moon” in its standard form seems redundant. However, recently at TJ Maxx in the US, I found a new type of travel pillows that are flat at the back (finally!) and elevated at the sides. They also have a fastened string so that the sides do not come apart and a removable bag for packing. They are very comfortable and effectively stiffen the head.

5. Lotions, eye-drops, cosmetics

I usually have a basic makeup bag with me. The standard set includes hand cream, lip balm and eye drops. Because the air in the plane is very dry, the skin of the hands after washing dries up immediately, so it is worth having a moisturizing cream with you. The same with the lip balm, and I actually don’t go anywhere without it. If you wear contact lenses, especially remember about moisturizing eye drops. They add invaluable comfort on such a long flight. I usually also pack glasses, a container and lens solution in my carry-on bag in case I want to take them off. This is especially useful on night flights from the US to Europe.

6. Electronic devices

In the new Dreamliner, all seats are equipped with an electric socket, a USB port and an individual in-flight entertainment system. What about your electronics? Here, of course, everyone can take whatever they want, but it is worth remembering to charge all electronic devices well before departure. I usually take my laptop, iPod, wireless headphones, Kindle, phone and iPad with me. I pack chargers in my hand luggage in case I have a lot of time at the airport and want to use them. Sometimes you can prepare movies on laptops or download some games or your favorite book before departure. However, the selection of movies on the plane is so wide and current that it is actually enough for general entertainment. Of course, travelers often plan some activities for work, but in my case it doesn’t work – there is no aura to focus on. It is best to spend as many hours as possible during the flight (especially at night) for sleep, due to the time difference that will catch up with us in a moment. Therefore, the manufacturer used LED lighting and electrophotochromatically darkened windows, whose task is to minimize the effect of the so-called jet lag.

7. Medications

They are not necessary, but it is worth preparing in case of headache, abdominal pain, malaise or stress. In the case of a cold, it is necessary to take appropriate tablets with you, because the high pressure in the cabin significantly worsens even minor ailments, especially clogged sinuses, and dry air aggravates sore throat.

8. Noise-free headphones

Something luxurious for the ears. I’ve recently purchased headphones that cancel out the outside noise to almost zero. Great stuff, especially for the plane. Listening through them gives the impression that there is complete silence outside.

That would be it for my advice. Write to me, I’d love to read your comments. Would you add anything else to this list?