How to Survive Long Flights Comfortably!

I've been traveling full time 11 months of the year and have picked up a lot of tips and tricks along the way to survive long flights comfortably. I fly all around the USA, to Hawaii, Asia, and throughout Europe, and have finally figured out how to make even the lowest budget low cost carrier journeys pleasant and hassle free. In this blog post I'm going to share pre-flight tips and tricks, the best seats on the plane, what to bring on the plane including food and water, as well as other must brings and preparations.

These tips will work for economy flights on  both budget and low cost carrier airlines such as Alligent, Frontier, Spirit, Air Asia, Jetstar, Scoot, Nok, Vietjet, Norwegian, EasyJet, Ryan Air, Wizz Air or whatever other low cost carriers you fly on as well as make other airlines more comfortable as well. Here's everything I've learned from taking hundreds of flights these past 10 years.

I travel 11 months of the year and fly LCC's A LOT in Europe and Asia. The best tips are: 

1. Download Netflix Movies and Shows Offline 

I do this even if I know there'll be a screen on board as sometimes it randomly either won't work or the airline may charge you for "premium" movies and shows. Make sure you do this at home before you get to the airport as the connections there are usually too slow to download full movies. 

I recomend shows that you can watch in any order without worrying about the plot or travel shows about your destination. Recommendations include Street Food, Somebody Feed Phil, Instant Hotel, Archer, Dark Tourist, Britain's Biggest Adventures, Comedy Shows, or any movies you haven't yet seen, especially travel related ones like the examples below. 

Pro Tip: Don't do this too far in advance as Netflix "Expires" downloads after 7 days. 

2. Download Audiobooks & Podcasts

Even though you may plan on watching movies and shows the entire flight or even reading a book, there's a good chance you'll want to rest and close your eyes but not actually sleep. Loading up your phone with audiobooks that you can download on audible or podcasts that you can download offline and load up using your favorite podcast app is easy. I personally use Pocket Casts but you can also use Podcasts that come with iOS or Podcast Addict for Android. 

Subscribe and download your favorite shows, or search for ones that have episodes featuring your destination. Obviously you can subscribe to both Travel Like a Boss and Invest Like a Boss while you're loading up your phone. 

best and favorite podcasts
My favorite podcasts: What's on my phone.

3. Fully charge your phone 

This may sound silly, but you'll be surprised how many people forget to charge their phones before a long flight. Make sure it's charged at home, then charge it again while waiting to board.

I think it's insane that some airlines will have 9+ hour fights on planes that don't have any charging ports, or ones that will charge $8 for you to use them such as Scoot Airlines from Singapore. I do love that some airlines such as Alaska have free USB charge points and phone/tablet holders at eye level built into their seats!

4. Bring a small power bank

On long flights over 6 hours your phone may run out of battery, especially if you're watching movies. The better airlines will have charge points, so bring your USB cable. But the terrible ones won't so bring a small power bank just in case. Just make sure it's 100Wh / 27,000mAh or less as it won't be allowed on the plane otherwise. 

I like this small, lightweight power bank made by Anker as it provides up to 2 full charges and is the size of a pack of playing cards. You'll never need more than that so stay lightweight and minimal. 

Small, lightweight power bank for carry on

5. Use over the ear headphones.

These make a huge difference when flying compared to in ear buds in terms of both comfort as well as noise levels. Planes are loud. With engines, screaming babies, and everything else that's going on, having over the ear headphones makes a huge different. If you can afford them, get the Bose QC35 Noise Canceling Headphones, I've had them for years and love them. 

You can also use cheaper non-noise canceling headphones that are still over ear, although a bit more bulky such as the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x as a budget option. But the noise canceling really is a huge bonus. 

Read the review of the Bose QC35 here

6. Bring an empty water bottle and fill it after security. 

Most decent airports now a days have bottle refill stations near the bathrooms. If you really can't find a place to fill your bottle, you can ask nicely at one of the cafes for them to fill it up for you.

7. Eat a full meal before the flight, or at the airport.

I personally love eating at airports as it allows me to go an extra hour early and gives me something to do if everything goes smoothly, and an extra hour of buffer if things don't. 

I usually eat at whatever local restaurants they have and try to avoid the Burger Kings and McDonalds. Also as a pro tip, if you have a Priority Pass, you can usually eat in the airport lounges for free, or get $30 credit at some airport restaurants!

8. Bring nuts, beef jerky, and a sandwich on board. 

Even if I eat before hand, I'm usually hungry on the plane, especially if it's a 4+ hour flight. Having a meal also gives you something to do and passes the time. I personally love watching movies on the plane while watching a movie.

But some airlines charge insane prices for meals. Norwegian Airlines has the audacity to charge $45 for a meal on board which is insane, so for them I'd definitely pack a sandwich and some nuts. But airlines such as AirAsia have decent food for $5 or so including a water which is reasonable. 

9. Also bring a light sweater as it might get chilly. 

It hasn't happened to me in a few years, but I remember times freezing on airplanes. Either way, bring long pants, and a light sweater or comfortable jacket on board. Luckily, I travel carry on only so I technically have everything I own with me at all times anyways so if I really wanted to, I could just go into my bag and put on an entire different outfit.

Also just in case you want to sleep, bring an eye mask and some ear plugs with you. Some airlines have them if you ask, but many don't. I've kept the free ones I've gotten every time I've flown business class but you can also buy a cheap set here on Amazon.   

Here's a link to my Traveling with Carry On Only article as well as the video posted below. 

10. Choose your seats wisely!

If you want to sleep the entire flight and not be bothered, book a window seat. Just make sure you get up at least once every 4-5 hours and stretch. Or if you're like me and like to stretch a lot, book an aisle seat so you can easily stand up and walk around often.

Also if you're a big guy like myself, don't cheap out and get stuck in the middle seat! Make sure you book a window or aisle seat as it's unfair to the two people next to you if you don't. You can also fly business class, especially if it's an airplane with lay down seats. It makes a world of difference for long flights over 6 hours, especially overnight ones! 

That's it! Feel free to post your own travel tips for surviving a long flight below in the comments! What do you bring with you and what could you not live without?

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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  1. Forgot to mention, I also bring an eye mask and earplugs for sleeping. What's in your carry on for surviving long flights?

    1. Great list! Pretty much everything that I take, other than a Kindle and a "travel mat" created by my good friend James. It's a roll up memory foam mat, makes long haul flights really comfortable.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing valuable post.


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