An extended encounter with cattle class is all about endurance, but there are a few things you can do to improve the experience.
Travel Insurance Direct's Travel Safety Expert, Phil Sylvester, has pulled together his top tips for making it through a long-haul flight with your sanity intact.
1. Always use the airline seat map to choose your seats wisely when booking and checking in online.
“There are no “good” seats in economy,” Phil says, “But there are a few “bad” ones - too close to the toilet, or kitchen. Often the last row before the bulkhead won’t recline as far as other seats.
2. Terrified of turbulence?
“Get a seat over the wing – there is less up and down movement.”
3. If you prefer peace, choose a seat forward of the engines as they tend to be a little more quiet – depending on the amount of babies on board, of course.
4. Embrace your inner-zen when it comes to queueing, because there’s going to be a whole lot of it.
“Queuing to get your bags checked in, queuing to get through passport control, queuing to get through security, queuing to board the plane. Then everything in reverse at the other end - just go with it.”
“Don’t rush to join the queue,” Phil says, “They’ve reserved you a seat, it won’t take-off without you, and no-one get off until the doors are open.”
5. Make security checks simpler by taking a small bag.
“You can put all your loose change, phone, watch, wallet, belt, titanium teeth in the bag. You’ll walk through easily, simply grab the bag and go somewhere less crowded to put everything back on.”
6. A sleep kit is key.
“A good quality eye mask, earplugs for reducing ambient noise, that hissing of air and engines really tires you out. Take a good book, or electronic reader. If you’re the sleeping pill kind, take one.”
7. As much as we hate to hear it - “Go easy on the alcohol,” Phil says.
“Nothing worse than waking up with a hangover and there’s still five hours to go. A little alcohol can help relax you and get comfortable, but don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.”
8. Take your own headphones.
"Those airline-supplied sets just don’t cut it for good movie audio, so get a good pair but make sure you have the plug adapters right for your airline.”
9. 17 hours is a long time to stay solitary so make sure you get up and active during the flight.
“Get up and walk around occasionally, or do those anti-DVT exercises. Maybe invest in some compression socks.”
10. Finally, you want yourself and your irreplaceable valuables to survive the trip - “Things do get stolen from overhead lockers on planes, so invest in an under-the-shirt passport wallet,” Phil says.
“If you do think you’ve been robbed, report it to the cabin staff, and the airline when you land. Get a written report; you’ll need it for your claim.”
This article originally appeared on 7travel.com.au.