As an expat I regularly fly between South Africa and the UK. I've also made numerous trips from the UK to the States.
For me flying is something I have to do and flying in economy for up to 11 hours in one trip is just a necessity and not an enjoyable part of the trip.
But it's something I have to do and I've picked up lots of tips from fellow travellers and experience.
So here are my Top 5 Tips for surviving a long haul flight.
1. Join the airlines loyalty scheme. If you make regular trips you can benefit from using airlines
lounges. You will benefit from free beverages, not have to convert currency and use the
showers (towels and toiletries provided.
2. Travel light. Check the airlines restrictions for hand luggage. Just because a bag is marked 'cabin
size' doesn't mean it is suitable for all airlines. Check the hand luggage allowance weight. Take
into consideration the weight of the bag/case you use.
3. Pack a hand towel, face cloth, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, change of underwear and a
clean top to freshen up with. If you have a direct flight and have travelled for 11 hours, instead
of standing in the queue for passports, first visit the bathrooms and freshen up. That way when
you're met the other side you'll look like you've flown 1st class.
4. Find your gate. Check where your plane is departing from as soon as you arrive in the departure
lounge, especially if you have a connecting flight. Flying regularly through Dubai airport
between South Africa and the UK, there is a minimum of a 3 hour stop over, knowing where
your departure gate is and the time taken to reach it, does allow you to be more relaxed when
using the lounges or duty free shopping. Remember to check the boards in case of change to
5. Carry all documents, valuables, laptop, cameras, phones and charging cables in your hand
luggage. There is nothing worse than a delay and dead batteries or worse discovering your case
on arrival has been tampered with and wasting valuable time filling in police and insurance