Overnight Economy Flights: How to Survive the Long Haul

Originally published on LeonardRaymundo.org

Flying does not come easy for all travelers, especially for those flying for 10-12 hours or more. Overnight flights can be difficult for even the most experienced economy flyers, and not having an actual bed to sleep in like those in first class doesn’t help. However, there are a number of tips and tricks you can use to make the trip itself much easier, the following being just a few.

Take Advantage of Upgrades

This does not mean immediately upgrade to first or business class. Not only is that often an extremely expensive decision, it would contradict this entire blog. But, if you can pay a little extra for additional legroom or a recliner seat, take advantage of those small opportunities to maximize your comfort and chance to actually sleep on the flight.

These upgrades might also come with priority boarding, allowing you to beat the rush of everyone else joining you on your flight. Knowing how long and taxing immigration lines can be, this perk alone is usually enough to convince economy flyers that the small bump in price is worth it.

Eat Beforehand

Almost everyone has heard the cliche line from standup comedians, “What’s the deal with airline food?” The reason being, airline food is not always that great. It’s even lower quality in economy. To avoid getting on a long flight with an empty stomach, essentially relying on the in-flight meals, eat in an airport restaurant or at home before your flight. This can also help you fall asleep sooner and faster while you’re up in the air.

Do Not Drink Beforehand

Unlike food, drinking liquids right before the flight will only result in you having to stand up and use the restroom more frequently. The same goes for drinking one too many alcoholic beverages mid-flight. While there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine or two to help you sleep better, pounding several drinks will have adverse effects and can also prevent you from being able to sleep for longer periods of time.

An effective strategy is to hydrate as much as you can the day before your flight. This will prevent feelings of extreme thirst the day after while allowing you to casually sip before your plane departs, also preventing one too many bathroom breaks.

Block Out the Sound

The final piece to the puzzle of falling asleep on an overnighter is making sure that too much noise is not the reason you spend your entire flight awake. Invest in a nice pair of noise cancelling headphones to block out the sounds around you, which are sometimes unavoidable. Smaller children don’t often take kindly to air travel while their parents don’t want the attention. Let everyone be and create your own quiet space with headphones and an eye mask for added effect.