In a few weeks I’ll be taking my second trip in Premium Economy on the current longest flight in the world, from Newark, N.J. to Singapore and back on Singapore Airlines (SQ21/22).
You can read my review of that first flight here.
Luckily the Airbus A350-900ULR used by Singapore Airlines on this route is configured with only Business Class and Premium Economy cabins, so the 18+ hour flight is a little more bearable than Economy Class on most other long haul flights.
As I think about preparation for this upcoming trip, my friend that will be traveling with me reminded me that the longest flight he has ever taken has been around 3 hours. I thought it would be useful for him and for others too if I provided some of my tips to help make it through this flight and any other long flight. So here it is:
- Pick the right seat. For me, this is the most important consideration. In this day and age of charging for everything, a lot of times it costs a little extra money to pick your seat, but on a long haul flight your comfort is important, so it can be money well spent. That seat will be your home for 18+ hours, so thinking about the location in advance can make your life a little easier. I prefer a window seat because I feel it gives me a little more room and privacy (and I love to take photos), but you may feel differently. You can check a site like Seat Guru to see the seat configuration on your particular flight, and read reviews of many of the seats.
- Wear comfortable clothes. This may seem obvious, but wearing clothes that you can get serious rest in is critical on a long flight. It doesn’t mean you should wear pajamas to the airport, but thinking about your outfit beforehand might help you arrive to your destination a little more refreshed than if you weren’t able to rest because you weren’t comfortable.
- Keep the area around your feet clear. This tip is more important to me than most since I’m tall and need all the legroom I can get, but I think this can be important for everyone. The A350-900ULR that is used on the longest flight ends up having more overhead bin space available because the seating configuration allows for less seats overall than most long haul aircraft. This means that even if you have a carryon bag and a personal item, you may still have room in the overhead bin for your personal item. You should make use of the space if it’s available.
- Bring a travel blanket. Yes, you will be provided a blanket by the airline, but I would use the extra blanket as a sort of pillow to sit on. The seats on this particular plane are somewhat hard, and having an extra blanket you can fold up and sit on can make a big difference. There are travel blankets available on Amazon that fold up and fit into a small bag that you can stuff into your carryon, so you won’t need a lot of extra space for an extra blanket.
- Keep a positive attitude. When you are confined to a small space with so many people for such a long period of time it’s possible to lose focus and get frustrated with the situation. This is admittedly easier for some people than others, but if you make an effort to keep a positive attitude you’ll be much happier, and the time will tend to go by faster.
- Don’t watch the flight time. This tip backs up #5 since watching the flight time can lead to frustration that the trip will never end. The Singapore Airlines flights on the longest route have an amazing feature in the entertainment system that allows you to track the flight and see all kinds of data during the trip. Definitely take a look at it, but don’t obsess over it. Keep your mind occupied with movies, TV or music, and try to get some sleep
- Bring your own snacks. You can expect to eat pretty well on the World’s Longest Flight, but don’t assume that you won’t want more than is provided. I like to go to Walmart and pick up some small peanut packages and cereal bars to keep in my laptop bag. Pick up some of your favorite snacks before your next long flight.
- Bring a friend. I travel solo quite often and I enjoy the freedom that comes with that, but in my opinion there is nothing better especially on a long flight than to be sitting next to a good friend or loved one. Being able to share the experience with someone else can make a long flight seem much shorter.
- Get friendly with your neighbor. If you’re traveling alone, or if your friend or family member is on one side and a stranger is on the other, you will be sharing a very small space for a long period of time, so acquaint yourself with that person and that will go a long way towards getting through the long flight.
- Download movies and shows from Netflix to your device. I realize not everyone has Netflix, but there is a lot to be said for being able to pick your entertainment on a long flight. Singapore Airlines provides a wide range of entertainment choices on the World’s Longest Flight, but having your own choices can help pass the time.
There are of course other tips that you’ll find on pretty much every other list of this type like – stay hydrated, bring your own travel pillow and ear plugs, and get up to stretch your legs, but hopefully my perspective on the Top 10 items will help you on your next long flight.
It may seem daunting to think about being on a plane for 18-19 hours, but honestly it’s not that bad. I actually enjoy it, especially when I think about the ultimate destination. The World’s Longest Flight is actually very often reasonably priced, so I recommend that people try it, especially if they’ve never been to Singapore, or another destination in that region.
Surviving a long flight isn’t as hard as you might think, but a little preparation will make it all the more enjoyable.