10 Tips to Survive Long Flights (and maybe even enjoy them!)

Last Updated on by Talita

Learn how to “survive” and not “struggle” on long flights…especially if you’re afraid to fly. Plus a list of the 10 longest flights in the world! You should try them!

Nice view from the plane

Picture by Tony Hisgett, licensed under CC BY 2.0


Did you know the longest flight in the world is 19 hours?! It’s the new flight from Singapore Airlines between Singapore and New York.

But even if you never take this specific flight, international flights that are pretty long. For example, a flight from Brazil to the United States is, on average, 8-12 hours depending on if you go to the west or east coast. To Europe is on average 11 hours of flying, depending on your destination country.

I actually really like long flights. It gives me time to watch a lot of movies. But I know there’s a lot of people out there who don’t handle long flights very well and all they want to do is sleep and wake up once they arrive.

With that in mind, I made this quick list with some tips on surviving long flights so you can have a more pleasant experience and arrive well-rested at your final destination.

Here they are:


  1. Book a night flight (AKA a “red eye” flight). 


If it’s possible and not too expensive, book an overnight flight. It’s much easier to sleep on the plane if you’re flying during your “normal” sleeping hours.


  1. Eat the meals served.


Once on board, eat the meals you’re served by the airline. The process of digestion will make you tired and help you sleep during the flight. But don’t forget…avoid coffee or soda with caffeine if your plan is to fall asleep.


  1. If you drink alcohol, have a drink! Or not…


Some people are nervous flyers and the first thing they do once they get on a plane is to have a drink to “shut down” and help them sleep during the flight. But there’s also people who don’t like to drink and don’t think a drink will help them in a dry environment like the inside of an airplane. So, this’ll depend on you and how you feel when you drink.


  1. Load up your cell phone, tablet or laptop with films and shows.


If your plan is to NOT sleep and instead watch movies like I do, then get ready before the flight since unfortunately, not all planes have the personal entertainment screens (or if they do, you might not like the movies they have)! To be prepared, load up your tablet, phone or computer with shows or series. I prefer full films. But I know some people prefer not to watch movies in the planes because then they feel obligated to stay awake and watch them. With TV shows of 30-50 minutes, it’s easier to stop watching and try to get some sleep if you want to.

If you have a Netflix account, you can actually download shows offline to watch later without internet (such as on a plane). Learn how to do that here.


  1. Brush your teeth before sleeping.


Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste with you on the plane. Just remember that your toothpaste has to be less than 100ml or else you won’t be able to take it with you!

The idea here is to keep your day-to-day routine so you feel better.

Just be careful, because the water on the plane is also not drinkable, so either ask the flight attendants for water or use your water bottle to brush your teeth.


  1. Use an eye mask.


Yup, I mean those eye masks that your grandparents use to sleep. Then you won’t wake up each time the cabin lights are turned our or when the person next to you decides to spend the entire flight reading with their light on.

If you don’t have an eye mask, bring a bandana or a scarf and tie it around your head to cover your eyes. I always do this when I want to sleep but am bothered by the light.


  1. Use headphones that block out the noise.


Noise-canceling headphones are great and better than just a regular headset or those with sponge earbuds. I recommend these highly-rated ones here from Amazon and eBay. 


  1. Download some podcasts to listen to.


I always download a ton of podcasts on my phone before long flights. The voices of the speakers often help put me to sleep (sorry podcast hosts!)

I really like the Podbean app (it’s free!) for finding and downloading podcasts to your phone.


  1. Bring layers inside the plane.


Taking clothes to keep you warm on a plane is essential, even if you’re going to a hot destination. On long flights, planes cool down and I always wake up feeling cold if I don’t have extra layers or if they don’t give out blankets.


  1. When you wake up, eat breakfast and wash your face.


When you wake up, eat the meal served (hopefully breakfast!), brush your teeth, and at the very least wash your face. Again, just trying to reach the normality of any old day. So you can go for that coffee now!


The 10 Longest Flights in the World


Nice view from the window in the plane

Picture by Fabrice Florin, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


Speaking of long flights, here are the 10 longest flights in the world (just in case you’re curious):


  • Singapore-Newark (New York), Singapore Airlines – 16,700 km / 10,438 miles (about 19 hours)


  • Doha-Auckland, Qatar Airways – 14,529km / 9,081 miles (about 16 hours and 30 minutes)


  • London-Perth, Qantas – 14,496km / 9,060 miles (about 16 hours and 30 minutes)


  • Dubai-Auckland, Emirates – 14,200km  / 8,875 miles (about 16 hours and 10 minutes)


  • Los Angeles-Singapore, United Airlines – 14,113km / 8,821 miles (about 16 hours)


  • Houston-Sydney, United Airlines – 13,833km / 8,646 miles / 8,646 miles

(about 15 hours and 45 minutes)


  • Sydney-Dallas, Qantas – 13,804km / 8,628 miles (about 15 hours and 45 minutes)


  • San Francisco- Singapore, United Airlines & Singapore Airlines – 13,592km / 8,495 miles (about 15 hours and 30 minutes)


  • Atlanta-Johannesburg, Delta – 13,581km / 8,488 miles (about 15 hours and 30 minutes)


  • Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles, Etihad – 13,502km / 8,439 miles (about 15 hours and 15 minutes)



The 3 Cheapest Websites to Buy Plane Tickets


And since we’re already talking about flights and plane tickets, here are the 3 websites I also use to search for and buy the best flights: Kayak, Momondo, and Skyscanner. As international companies, they all have a ton of options for flights in destinations all around the world.

All the sites below also give you the final ticket price (with taxes and fees included) so you can search and compare prices easily.



If you want to learn more about these websites, take a look at my article with The 3 Best Websites to Buy Cheap Plane Tickets and Flights in 2018.

And if you want more advice on saving money when buying plane tickets, don’t miss my article with 16 Tips to Save on Flights.

Plus, as you noticed, some of the longest flights depart from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. If you are visiting the United Arab Emirates, don’t miss this excellent article with 4 ways to get around Dubai

And that’s it. An article that’s short, quick, yet useful.

If there are any questions, just use the comment area below and I always respond!

Happy travels!


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 Still haven’t booked your plane ticket and want to save big? Take a look at our page with 16 Tips to Save on Flights where you’ll also find the 4 best websites to buy your plane tickets. 


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And finally, will you need to rent a car during your trip? Then surely our page with The 5 Best and Cheapest Websites to Compare and Rent Cars Around the World will help you choose the best rental car and find a good deal.


One Response

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