Insider spoke to five flight attendants who gave advice on how to survive a long-haul flight.
One flight attendant doesn't forget to pack a face mask, eye mask, and noise-canceling headphones.
Another said that red-eye flights are the optimal time to travel long distances.
While faraway destinations can seem like a dream, getting there can often feel like a nightmare. Insider spoke to five flight attendants who shared their best tips for surviving a long-haul flight.
Between a cramped airplane cabin, little legroom, and airplane food, long-haul flights can feel daunting.
But flight attendants agreed that there are ways travelers can make those lengthy flights a little easier.
From what to pack to when to fly, Insider spoke to five flight attendants who shared their best tips for surviving long-haul flights.
Some of the flight attendants who spoke to Insider for this article asked to omit full names and remain anonymous for privacy reasons. Insider verified these individuals' employment as flight attendants with pay stubs and ID badges.
A flight attendant who works long-haul flights out of Europe said she never forgets to pack a face mask — but not for the reason you might think.
Karen, a flight attendant who works transatlantic flights out of Norway and posts content under the username @karenvaje, is well-accustomed to the challenges of long-haul flights.
And one of the biggest obstacles when she travels long distances is feeling exposed while she sleeps.
She joked that her mouth typically hangs wide open as she drifts in and out of sleep — a feeling she doesn't like.
To overcome this, Karen said she now always packs a face mask.
"I found out during the pandemic that I like wearing a mask," she said.
A face mask paired with an eye mask and noise-canceling headphones is her ideal combination for getting sleep on a long flight.
"You sleep so much better," she said. "I can sleep through a whole fight as long as I just feel covered. So packing a mask, for me, is my best piece of advice."
Another flight attendant suggested skipping daytime flights and opting for red-eyes.
London, who has worked as a flight attendant for four years and shares her life on TikTok under the username @londonkaizen, told Insider that she's frequently traveling between Boston and Los Angeles.
The nearly seven-hour flight means she's had some practice with long travel times. And from her experience, she's learned that red-eye flights are the smartest ones to book.
"This way, it aligns with your sleep schedule," she said. "You are getting rest at night, and then whenever you get to your destination, you're up and ready to go about your day."
Plus, she said the late-night flights are typically quieter and often involve fewer families, and therefore fewer crying children onboard.
By booking a red-eye, long-haul flight, London added that it's helped her fight jet lag and maximize time in new destinations.
One flight attendant said she packs items that prioritize sleep.
Demi, a flight attendant in her first year of flying who goes by @deardemdiary on TikTok, told Insider that sleep is her top priority on any long-haul flight.
And to accomplish that, she said she makes room in her personal bag for items that will help her catch some Zs.
"My best advice would be to sleep," Demi said. "Bring headphones and a neck pillow."
If you can't sleep, Demi suggests reading a book or watching a movie. She's "even seen people crocheting," she said.
A flight attendant advised passengers to bring their own entertainment instead of relying on an airplane's screens.
Liz, a flight attendant for Southwest who shares her lifestyle on her TikTok account @wanderlizst, never forgets to have playlists and movies downloaded before a long-haul flight.
While passengers might be able to sleep for some of the flight time, sleeping for the entirety of a long-haul flight is unlikely. To occupy that time, Liz said she always boards a long-haul flight with music, movies, TV shows, and books downloaded on her phone.
That way she can occupy any time she isn't sleeping with the content she enjoys — especially since the airplane might not have something she wants to watch.
Plus, WiFi often costs extra on flights, so Liz saves money by having media downloaded before stepping onto the plane.
Finally, one flight attendant urged travelers not to forget a reusable water bottle.
Leanna, a flight attendant who goes by @leannacoy on TikTok, told Insider her key to surviving long flights is staying hydrated.
As Insider has previously reported, flying dehydrates you. Airplanes have dry cabins, which causes passengers to lose water at a higher rate than normal. With this in mind, the Aerospace Medical Association advises travelers to drink at least 8 ounces of water for every hour they're in the air.
In an effort to reach that goal, Leanna said she always packs an empty reusable water bottle.
"When I'm traveling, I always bring my reusable water bottle," she said. "This way you don't have to pay for water at the airport and you don't have to keep getting just a little cup of water from flight attendants."
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