How to survive your first long-haul flight

I’m not the most patient person. I’ll do almost anything to avoid a queue, and I have a habit of chanting “too much of the red man, not enough of the green man” under my breath at pedestrian crossings.

So I was pretty sure it’d be a challenge getting through all 14 hours of my direct flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles.  I mean, I checked the flight timer about seventy times during my last international trip, and I only went to Auckland . Still, if you want to travel, flying long distances are part of the experience, so I knew I had to learn to deal. If you’re an impatient sort like me, here are some tips.

Focus on the positives


You’re about to visit another country. How exciting is that? It’s what you’ve been saving for. Better yet, you can sit back and watch TV shows and movies while flight attendants pour free food and drinks down your gob. Live it up! About two hours before my flight was due to land in L.A, I closed my eyes and unsuccessfully tried to sleep for about the thousandth time.  All of a sudden the crew announced over the loudspeaker that they were about to start serving hot breakfasts. My eyes flew open. I was living the dream!

Wear comfortable clothing

This is the one and only time when it isn’t a good idea to dress like Vince Noir from The Mighty Boosh. Instead, sacrifice style for comfort.

Bring your own entertainment

flight entertainment

What? The in-flight entertainment system doesn’t feature enough arty foreign films? Take matters into your own hands by bringing your iPad or Android Tablet and loading it up with whatever you enjoy, whether it’s fishing documentaries or James Blunt’s latest album (not that I listen to that constantly or anything. Anyway…). Or bring some travel games along. They’re always stacks of fun.

Try to get an upgrade

I flew economy on my way to L.A, thinking that once I got there I’d sell my brilliant screenplay to some famous director, rake in an obscene amount of cash and live it up in first class on my flight back home. Astonishingly, my plan didn’t work. Instead I recommend dating somebody rich and going on holiday with them.

Get an aisle seat

You’re gonna need to use the bathroom at some point. Plus with an aisle seat it’s a lot easier to get up, walk around, stretch your legs, do back flips, start flash mobs and other activities that are good for your circulation.

Lay off the coffee and booze

“WHAT?” I hear you scream as you pick up something to throw at my head. Chill out, I don’t mean forever. It’s just that coffee and alcohol can add further dehydration to what is already a dehydrating experience. I still had a coffee though. I’m only human.

Adjust to the local time zone

adjust to time zone

It was a sunny California morning when I landed at LAX. In order to beat (or at least minimise) my jet lag, I held off sleeping until night time. I kept myself busy with activities like wandering Hollywood  Boulevard, eating at In-N-Out Burger, and hassling famous directors to read my screenplay. It was all pretty tiring, but it was worth it. That night I had one of the most satisfying sleeps of my life, and I woke up the next morning feeling much like my regular self.

Follow my tips and you may or may not get through your long-haul flight with a smile on your face. The next step? Staying patient while clearing customs. I’m afraid you’re on your own there.

What was your longest flight? Share any tips you have below!

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