Uncategorized Wellness

How to have a Healthy Long-Haul Flight

As I’m in a long-distance relationship, I’ve had to get a fair few long-haul flights over the past few years. Here are some hints and tips that I’ve picked up to arrive healthy and happy.


I’m pretty good for staying hydrated I have to say. I’m one of these weird people who actually likes drinking water. However, the day before a flight I always make sure that I drink plenty of water as well as making sure that I drink plenty of water on the day of the flight itself.

Now, plastic bottles are the scourge of the planet but did you know that in any airport there is always somewhere that you can refill your own water bottle? I take one of those metal bottles (which keeps water nice and cool for 12 hours) and fill it up. I make sure that I drink a bottle full while I am waiting for the flight to be called and then fill it up right before I get on the plane. I make sure that I have two bottles of water for the flight and then take up the offer of drinks on the plane. Generally, I avoid the free alcohol (unless it’s a night flight when I’ll have a glass of red wine with my dinner) and drink juice to hydrate. I rarely turn down a chance for a drink.

Don’t Feel Obliged to eat the Plane Food

So people have mixed opinions on plane food but I think that we can all agree that in cattle class it’s not the best. The food also tends to be fairly low on protein and has, on occasion, made my stomach feel bad by the time that I’ve landed. I sometimes eat the plane food but I tend to feel better on the flights where I stick to my own snacks. I like to take fruit, yogurt, nuts (unless it’s a nut-free flight – although I’ve only ever been on one) and protein flapjack/bars. This way I feel like I’ve had some vitamins and minerals as well as protein. But make sure that you are mindful of portion sizes! We tend to bloat on planes so you won’t be able to comfortably eat as much food as you usually do (which is why plane food portions are so small).

Remember that if you’re on a really long flight that you might want to reduce your fibre intake a little to avoid bathroom embarasment and to spare everybody else!

Freshen up

This can make the difference between feeling fresh when you land and feeling a bit gross. I take a makeup remover wipe, a mini hydrating spritzer, a thick moisturiser (only because my friend managed to talk me out of taking one of those sheet masks), anti-bacterial gel for hands (I’ve been known to wipe the tray in front with this and a tissue), hand cream, perfume, toothpaste and a toothbrush. I also take makeup if I’m trying to impress and apply it about an hour before landing (before the descent!).

You’ll have to experiment with what is best with your hair but I find that if I straighten it then coil it up on the top of my head in a topknot and leave it for the duration of the flight, when I let it down is is smooth yet wavy with nice volume.

Get Moving

Okay, so this is pretty hard to do on a plane. Before the flight I try to walk as much as possible, as in laps of the departure lounge. You are going to be sitting down for hours and when you arrive you may be tired so it’s worth trying to get those steps in early.

When on the flight, try and do some stretches to make sure that the blood is flowing. I like to wiggle as much as I can and contract and relax muscles just to keep the blood flowing (I also wear compression socks). When you get up to go to the toilet, try to do a few stretches while you’re up – you’ll feel so much better when you’re back in your seat.

Be mindful of Time Zones

So jetlag can really screw you over. I am so sensitive to it, it’s a nightmare. Keep an eye on the time when you’re on the flight and you may want to set your watch to the time that it is at the destination (although be careful about doing this when you have a connecting flight because you don’t want to get confused and miss the connection!).

As much as you can, try to eat at meal times at the destination and sleep when you would be sleeping in the destination. Sleeping on a plane is hard (especially if you’re tall). I find a neck pillow indispensable (in addition to using the little pillow that most airlines provide) as well as a large thick scarf that can be used as a blanket. I use the airline’s blanket to put around my lap (as who knows how clean they are?!) and put my scarf around the top half of my body. To block out what is going on around me I use an eye mask and ear plugs.

So those are my main pieces of advice for long-haul flights – what do you suggest?