How To Survive A Long-Haul Flight
Illustration by Mr Nick Hardcastle
There’s an old proverb which says that a man who travels faster than the speed of a camel is in danger of leaving his soul behind. While most of us wouldn’t relish the idea of making the trip to Hong Kong on a moody, hump-backed beast, anyone who has endured a long-haul flight can attest to the feeling of damnation that comes with clocking up the air miles.
The first two or three hours seem quite doable, but by hour five, a numb sensation starts to set in around the lower body (cue DVT paranoia), your feet will no longer fit into your shoes and every fellow passenger seems to be testing your resolve by incessantly coughing or impinging on your personal space. And that’s all before the delirium of jet lag kicks in.
But there are some simple steps you can take to make the experience of crossing far-flung time zones just that little bit more bearable…
It goes without saying that comfort is key when you’re going to be stuck wearing the same thing for six hours plus, so consider your next long-haul trip a good excuse to invest in some cashmere sweatpants. This superlative pair from Derek Rose are just the business (class). Cut in a comfortable, but not too slouchy tapered fit, they’re guaranteed to keep you snug at altitude. And if you’re treating yourself, why not just go all out with the cashmere. This Loro Piana sweater is knitted in an extra-fine gauge, so it won’t add too much bulk to your frame – an important factor to consider when you’re spending half a day confined to a space the size of a toilet cubicle. The zip-fastening makes it easy to slip on or off depending on cabin temperature.
Tune out the noise
You thought you’d done a good job strategically picking your seat – it’s by the window so you won’t be disturbed by weak-bladdered passengers, and far enough away from the wing to avoid the worst of the engine vibrations. Unfortunately, no-one told you about the big-lunged child across the aisle, who seems intent on passing the 12 hours to Singapore by emitting head-splitting shrieks at regular intervals. You’re definitely going to need something to block that out if you’re going to stay sane, and these B&O Play earphones are the answer to your acoustic woes. Featuring noise-isolating technology and a compact in-ear design, they’re a good way to turn the volume down on the unwanted disturbances around you. Of course, noise isn’t the only problem on a flight – there’s also the glaring cabin lights, which are particularly annoying when you’re trying get ahead of your jet lag by sleeping on route. For a total blackout effect, Bottega Veneta’s luxurious take on the eye mask will be far more effective (being covered in the brand’s trademark “intrecciato” leather weave) than the flimsy nylon variety handed to you by the in-flight attendant. Also, it looks better.
One of the main reasons you’ll feel dreadful and look a little bit papery after emerging from a long-haul flight is that all the air within the cabin is recirculated, meaning it’s completely devoid of moisture. Dried-out skin not only looks flat and dull, it’s much more prone to irritation and inflammation, so it’s very much worth your while to pack a few grooming power products to make sure you stay hydrated. Perricone MD’s Nourishing Moisturizer is a great all-rounder, and comes in a conveniently sized 59ml tub that will fly through security. As there’s only so many times you want to reapply such a thing, though you can top it up throughout your flight with a spray-on product, such as Ren Skincare’s Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist. This is not only hydrating and refreshing, but contains a bundle of antioxidants that will help to protect your skin from the slightly increased level of background radiation (or, as it puts it on the packet “free radicals”) that occurs at 30,000 feet.