Your best long haul flight advice??

Old Aug 9th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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Your best long haul flight advice??

... and please don't say "fly first class"... if that were an option, I would... trust me!

But I find myself traveling economy from Orlando to Sydney in a few days and I'm a bit freaked out about being on a plane for so long. I'm not too worried about the 5 hours MCO to LAX, but the 15 hours from LAX to SYD has me worried. I'm a "fluffy" woman, and not much of an airplane sleeper (I firmly believe it is my worrying that keeps the plane in the air... come on... have you seen how big those things are? no way they stay in the air without someone worrying). So, I'm looking for your best advice for how to make the 15 hour flight more bearable?? I will try to get some rest, but it will probably be in fits and starts, so I'll still have a lot of time to pass...

Thanks for any advice you can share!
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 07:37 AM
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Tina, if you're taking the night flight, it's not such a big deal. Honestly. Have dinner, a glass or 2 of wine, read your book & listen to some music/radio programme/ watch some tv until you doze off. Some people take a sleeping pill. I don't - a champagne & a glass of red works just fine for me.

You can always go for a walk to stretch your legs, ask for a tea/coffee or whatever.

If you have an iphone/notebook, you can watch videos, play games etc. If you do crosswords or soduku, bring a couple.

What's the absolute worst that can happen? You don't sleep one single wink for 15 hours. In the unlikely event it did happen, I'll bet you've done that before & survived. I know I have.

At least this time you're coming to a great place where Spring will be sprung in a couple of weeks & hopefully you're coming for a happy/interesting/profitable purpose.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 07:56 AM
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OK since flying First Class is not in the cards your options are very limited. After all, you are stuck in a relatively small "cylindar" and are allotted only a single seat with a moderate amount of leg room. Other than following the advice Bokhara2 there's really nothing else to do. Think about it - you can't step outside for a break, you can't ask the pilot to land the plane somewhere enroute (unless you take a multi-stop flight) - you are there for the duration of the flight. I know this might sound harsh but it's the price you pay to make the trip. Everyone who has ever made the trip will tell you the same thing - just try to make the best of a difficult situation. Trty to keep your self relaxed and occupied.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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It's not harsh, RoamsAround - long leg flights are the reality all of us who live in this part of the world face every time we go anywhere except New Zealand. As does everyone who comes to visit us. We can't change it, so may as well just get on with it.

The flights from Europe are quite a bit longer than the LAX-SYD leg & the thousands of people who transit our airports every day are testament to the fact that we all manage to do it.

Tina, if you can stretch to Premium Economy, you'll have quite a bit more room.

I've flown all classes; regrettably more economy than at the pointy end, but honestly, I don't find even economy all that bad. I usually try for an aisle in the forward quadrant. Used to go for the exit rows, but it can be a bit of a gathering place for the walkers & chatters, so gave that away.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 09:01 AM
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Thanks for the advice... and the tough love. I know the "cost" of visiting Australia is the long flight, I'm just a bit nervous since it's my first time. I did go for an aisle seat so I can get up and move about without bothering anyone. Unfortunately, no such thing as Premium Economy on Delta!

I'm trying to stay focused on the fun of the trip waiting for me once I arrive.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 09:43 AM
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I've done the economy class from D.C. to Sydney a few times and it's just not that bad. First, I keep reminding myself that I am going to AUSTRALIA!!! Then, I keep myself entertained with movies, games, and TV shows on the individual screen at my seat. Finally, I snooze a bit and I think you will find yourself doing so too because the cabin is kept dark and the passengers are generally very quiet.
My main suggestion is for when you get to Sydney. You will arrive in the early morning and I suggest that you drop off your bags at your hotel and then start walking. Sydney is an easy place to walk around and there's so much to see. Keep yourself going as long as you can that day and try not to go to sleep before a "normal" hour. I generally can make it until around 9pm on the first day and then I don't really suffer from jet lag for the rest of my stay.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 10:27 AM
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If you can book yourself a row with an empty middle seat that helps, although no guarantees that it won't fill up by flight time.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 11:48 AM
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Thanks again! My host has a pretty full day planned for the day I arrive, but still an early to bed evening - by 9 pm sounds about right. I'm sure the adrenaline will have kicked in by then, whether I sleep or not!

And (fingers crossed) so far the seat next to me has remained empty for the long flight to Sydney... although the flight to LA is completely sold out, so extra elbow room there!
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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My strategy has always been to drink myself to sleep with multiple G&Ts and red wines, then wake and drink lots of water for the rest of the trip.

Doctors wouldnt recommend alcohol, however, as the resulting dehydration can raise the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is already relatively high due to the fact you sit motionless for so long. I always get up and walk (staggger)around as much as possible, and do the recommended leg exercises.

Another essential for me is a good eye blind, which really helps me sleep by totally blocking the ambient cabin light. A good book and some crosswords help me pass the time awake. I usually enjoy talking to my "neighbor" as long as he/she knows when enough is enough.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 03:57 PM
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"I usually enjoy talking to my "neighbor" as long as he/she knows when enough is enough"

That's all very well, Ralph - but do you?

Overheard at the International Airport Arrivals Lounge ... "Good Lawd, Maude - I was stuck next to this American who proceeded to drink the bar dry while regaling me with his travels in Australia. The only relief was when he left on lurching loops around the aisles, before falling asleep & snoring his head off until the hostie woke us for breakfast. I'm exhausted! Exhausted, I tell you!"

Sorry old boy, couldn't help myself (LOL)
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 05:19 PM
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I've flown more long haul flights than I care to remember, most of them in coach. They never seem to get any better..prepare to be uncomfortable.

My technique - I pick my seat carefully with the help of Seat Guru, always an aisle seat. I take eye shades, my own noise cancelling headphones, ear plugs, a pashmina shawl, an IPOD and/or the plane's soft music station, a water bottle that I fill up before boarding and tuck into the seatback in front of me and a book. After meal service I pop half an Ambien and if I'm very, very lucky, I get a few hours of sleep.

I always wear loose comfortable clothing, a dark top (for spills) and black socks (for walking around the cabin, which wreaks havoc on white socks).
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 06:26 PM
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When you arrive in SYD, it will be too early to check into your hotel. Check your bags there and make your way to Circular Quay. Take a ferry to Manly, walk around a little bit, explore and then return the same way. The combination of motion, fresh air and sunshine will keep you awake. After you check into your hotel, DO NOT take a nap. Instead, have an early dinner and go to bed a little earlier than normal. By morning you will feel much better. Remember, no naps!!!

RalphR mentioned the possible risk of DVT. Make a small investment in a pair (or two) of compression stockings or socks. I always use them on flights of more than 5-6 hours...and my feet feel much better at the end of the flight. In Orlando, you can find them at Wal-Mart and probably at Walgreens or CVS too. Have a great trip!


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Vic's travels: http://my.flightmemory.com/vogilvie
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 07:20 PM
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I love long haul flights! (sad I know)

If you can. Have a shower in LAX. Don't sit down at LAX walk around and get the blood moving. It will make you tired as well.

Avoid caffeine. (how an american does that I'm not sure)

About half way through the flight go to the rear toilets which are often a bit bigger and usually and have a baby change table. Take with you a section of Chux ((tm)the kitchen dish clothes with all the holes.) Have a wash, clean your teeth, brush your hair and change your underwear and socks. Do your makeup if you want. You will feel refreshed and clean.

I find planes are hot so travel in shorts and a cotton shirt. Depending on how long its been, I will change these as well as they don't take up much space in hand luggage. (38 hours is about the longest it has taken me from hotel to my home)

Take some elastic chord (about 1.5-2yards) in a loop and use it to do some exercises. You get some strange looks, but mostly "why didn't I think of that".

As you cross each time zone change your watch and put you mind into the new zone. Don't think of what is is where you came from, or where you are going. Only where you are.

Enjoy the freedom, no dishes, no cooking, no chores, not work etc. to be done. Just eating, drinking, reading, listening to music and chatting with the person you are with.

Ear plugs and an eye cover are a good idea as well.

Loosen your shoes as well. Wear your most comfortable shoes and clothes. Long haul travel is not a fashion parade. Loose clothes and layers.

"...a water bottle that I fill up before boarding..." Make sure it is of the right size to travel or it will be taken off you.

Drink lots of water. Rule of thumb - one alcoholic drink in the air is worth two on the ground.

Orlando is right. No napping, when you arrive. For the first day or so try and eat what you would normally eat. Boring, but gives your body a chance to catch up. Then try vegemite. THINLY at first. Don't get sucked into a thick spreading.

Deck of cards,travel games etc.A lot of lanes now havescreensin the back of the seats with lots of games, movies etc.

On behalf of all Australians, let me say that it is very flattering that you are all so excited about coming here.

We are not in the middle of nowhere, but we can see it from here!

When you fly here just think- You only have to do it twice! For us to go anywhere other than NZ it is a long flight. Asia is 8-10 hours. Europe and the US you know.

Try Melbourne, Singapore, London, Reykjavik. Literally half way around the world. Loved it.

PS We don't have pet kangaroos nor do we ride them. But I have known people who have ridden emus.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 07:45 PM
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"...a water bottle that I fill up before boarding..." Make sure it is of the right size to travel or it will be taken off you."


Size doesn't matter when it's EMPTY.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 09:51 PM
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Melnq8 - Point taken.

I agree if it is empty, size doesn't matter. Many don't have it empty though.

And some will just think "bottled water" and I've seen plenty taken off people.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 10:48 PM
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"Avoid caffeine. (how an american does that I'm not sure)
"
Drink traditional American-style coffee perhaps?
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 10:53 PM
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Also, get No Jet Lag tablets from your health food store or travel store at the airport. I have used these on three trips to Africa and swear by them. Chew two every few hours that you are awake, but do not wake up just to take them. Ditto on setting your watch to the time zone you are going to and unless taking medication such as I do for diabetes, try not to count the hours backwards. As far as seat selection, try not to get by the kitchen area if possible. the smells are deadly at the midnight feeding.
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 02:15 PM
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Or go to Taronga Zoo after you put your bags at the hotel -- the ferry ride there will get you some air and the wandering down the zoo path will be let you walk and enjoy views of Sydney (the zoo's built on a hill across from the Harbo(u)r.

Personally, my trick to get sleep on the plane was to put a sleeping 20-month old boy on my shoulder and curl up with him - but as my son's grown a bit I'm thinking that was a one-off opportunity.
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 05:50 PM
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Melnq8 - My wife has just pointed out that many of the airports we went throught last year were doing a Second Security check at the Gate. Metal detector; X-Ray and Passport and boarding pass. Then straight onto the plane. This was for Domestic flights as well.

They were confiscating water, perfume, deodorant and alcohol etc. unless it was in a sealed and registered Duty Free bag, even if it was bought in the transit lounge area and had a receipt.

I don't mind losing some water, but some of the finest from Scotland is another matter.

Things may not be as strict now.

Cheers.
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 07:03 PM
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Hi Tina!

The most important advice I can probably give you is to break up the flight. As you're coming from Florida, if you can spare the extra time, overnight at an inexpensive airport hotel that offers a shuttle, either in San Francisco (recommend, first choice) or LAX.

As Bokkhara said, if on the night flight, which you would be from either SFO or LAX, it makes it sooo much easier. A few glasses of wine, a glass of water to wash down my Melatonin, dinner, and by then I'm sleepy enough to crash! Melatonin is an over the counter pill, but I suggest you try it BEFORE the flight, as anyone can have an adverse reaction to anything.

Peter, unlike Sydney, there's no shower available at LAX.

Hope this is helpful!

Melodie
Certified Aussie Specialist
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