Stepping onto that plane and jetting out of the UK used to be one of the most exciting parts of the holiday for me, and to a point it still is, but these constant plane related tragedies listed on the news have slowly but surely made me a bit of a nervous flyer. Not only that, but I get increasingly bored, I hate plane food and I’m terrified of people being ill around me. So overall, planes and I do not bode well when paired together. This aside, I try to enjoy the flight because it usually means it’s the start of a holiday (unless you’re flying home of course, because that sucks).
With our holiday quickly approaching, it’s only just dawned on me that I will in fact be spending almost 50 hours on a plane, in economy may I add, over the course of the 28 days – with the longest flight being almost 18 hours (to be fair it’s two separate flights one after the other, but regardless it’s a bloody long time). Two of the flights are relatively short and sweet, but the other four are a minimum of seven hours. The longest time I’ve spent on a flight, if I remember correctly, was roughly 13 hours to Malaysia. On the way out I slept quite a bit, and on the way back I remember sitting there thinking “I have lasagna, movies and a friend I made in the hotel swimming pool several rows up from me – this is fab”. Well, times have changed and even my 40 minute drive to work bores the hell of me. Translated, that means I have no hope (no offence Darryl, you’re great company, but I know how much you like your movies and I’m pretty sure I won’t actually be able to get a word in between take-off and landing).
So, in all seriousness, what on earth am I going to do for 50 hours of being confined to a tiny, crumb-covered leather seat with minimal leg room?
I used to be a serious book-worm, though over the years it reduced more and more, and eventually, I only tended to read on holiday around the pool between people watching sessions. I adore books, the more unpredictable and gripping the better, so about a month ago I got myself back into reading in preparation for the first of many flights. I finally finished the book that I began reading in Ibiza last year, and now I’m onto my second. So before I head down to Gatwick in a few weeks time, I’m going to make sure I grab hold of two or three books that can keep me company during the flights. Failing that – magazines. Any reading material is welcome. In-flight magazine, come at me.
Whack on the iPod
I love music, but I’m ashamed to say I’m the type that will only listen to two-thirds of a song before skipping on to the next one – unless it’s Beyoncé. No one skips Beyoncé. Because of this, I get through my iPod playlist pretty quickly, but nevertheless it’s a good option for at least part of the journey. It also distracts you from screaming kiddies or the guy that is finding his film way too hilarious – win win.
Have a movie and TV sesh
We all love a good movie, don’t we? They’re great because each movie eats up at least two hours of your time, and it’ll also distract you massively from the fact you’re currently squeezed into a horrendously tight space for hours on end. Failing that, watch as much of a TV series as you can. Make it a challenge to do that. I dare you. I even dare myself. Though it has to be said – and I know you can all relate to this – whilst the movie/TV option is great if it’s you that’s enjoying it, it’s not so great if you’re the only person in your row who isn’t. Problem one, it’s even more of a pain in the ass to get out for a wee. Problem two, you might be sat next to a serious chuckler – god forbid a crier. Problem three, if it cuts out – you instantly hate everything about the situation and regret not bringing your iPad full of movies.
Do what some like to call “people watching”
A tad creepy, but an excellent way to pass time. Just avoid being caught staring because remember you do still have to sit there for the remainder of the flight with both of you now feeling awfully uncomfortable. Even just watching people’s emotions and reactions to things are brilliant. Though if you’re hoping for a peaceful flight with minimal human interaction, noise or disturbance – perhaps it’s best to keep those headphones on. Once, a long long time ago, my dad and I were watching the funniest cartoon program I have literally ever seen in my life and I kid you not we began hyperventilating between the tears from sheer laughter. A great flight for us, and excellent entertainment for those who fellow “people watchers”, but not so much those who weren’t.
If you’re a blogger, blog your heart out
Take your iPad or laptop, because now’s your chance to get on top of your posts. If you’re not a blogger and don’t fancy starting one, you could always create your own “electronic journal” so to speak and blab away about what you’ve been up to on the journey so far. As you’ll know if you’re reading this, I am of course a blogger, so I can assure you I will be blogging until the cows come home at every given opportunity. I have a list of roughly 40 blog post ideas, so I can no doubt throw at least five together per flight (maybe ten for the extra-long hauls), all I need then is a spot of Wi-Fi to hit “upload” and there we have it, a new blog post for my friends and family back home – and any strangers out there who like to read about my life. If that’s you, welcome!
Catch up on your social media feeds
Speaking of Wi-Fi, on some flights you can actually get a decent internet connection, allowing you to Instagram and Tweet the journey away. I once had a Facebook message pop up from my dad when he was roughly 40,000 ft above the Atlantic Ocean on his way to America. Bizarre, but brilliant. If you need to work during the flight, Wi-Fi is a beautiful thing, though flights are actually quite an ideal time to shut off from the world.
Have a cat-nap, or go into hibernation mode – you decide
If you can sleep well on a plane, I salute you, as I cannot. Trust me, despite having a neck pillow, ear plugs and a blanket at the ready I will still find myself gazing around like a delirious hedgehog in the daytime. Maybe because I’m nosey? Maybe just because I’m damn uncomfortable. Regardless, I struggle with sleep on flights, and I’m seriously hoping this will not be the case when I’m jetting away at speed from Bali Airport at the beginning of my 18 hour return journey. Britain better welcome me with a bed and a bacon roll, I’m going to need it.
Take advantage of the free food and beverages
Depending on how just long the long-haul flight is, no doubt you’ll get at least one meal – so aim to stretch the eating process out as long as possible (unless, like me, you can’t bear the smell/taste/texture/anything about it and need to get rid of it asap). Also take a bag of sweets, which are great for take-off and landing, and make them last as long as possible. If you have a sweet or two to look forward to, life’s always better. Am I right, or am I right?
So there we have it. It’s all pretty obvious stuff, but the important part of this blog post is in this paragraph. My top tip is to try scheduling your time efficiently to cram in as much of the above as possible. For example, if you have a 10 hour flight, allocate an hour to appreciate the take-off and landing, two hours for food, four hours for two movies, two hours for reading and listening to music, and split the remaining hour into two or three segments to allow you to stretch your legs and people watch.
Let me know if you have a long-haul flight coming up and where you’re heading to!