How to cope with a long-haul flight

Before your long-haul flight, it's crucial to assess your health and ensure that you are fit for the journey. Each airline has its own medical clearance procedures, so it's essential to check and adhere to them before you travel. Certain medical situations warrant consultation with your GP before departing on a long-haul flight. Read Dr Handford's article 'Am I fit to fly?' for more information.

Comfort and entertainment are key to coping with long-haul journeys. To quote an adage “Preparation is the key to success”. When it comes to long-haul flights, preparation means making sure that you have a comfortable travel outfit planned and carefully choose your flight bag essentials.

Top tips for long-haul flights:

Dress for comfort

Dressing practically can go a long way to ensuring a comfortable journey. Dress in layers. The climate within the aircraft can fluctuate, making it essential to have options that allow you to adapt effortlessly. Bringing a blanket or scarf that can double as a blanket will provide extra warmth if on board air conditioning is making it feel chilly. Consider choosing bottoms with elasticated waistbands. They will offer flexibility and stretch when sitting or lying down.

Flight bag essentials

The contents of your flight bag can significantly influence your overall travel experience. From entertainment to relaxation, here's a curated list of flight bag essentials that can make a substantial difference:


  • Kindle or a good book
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Portable charger for electronic devices
  • Tablet or laptop for movies and games

Comfort and Wellness

  • Neck pillow for added support
  • Eye mask to block out ambient light
  • Hydrating facial mist to combat in-flight dryness
  • Healthy snacks to keep energy levels up

Stay Organised

  • Travel wallet for important documents
  • Ziplock bags for liquids and toiletries
  • Travel-sized toiletries to freshen up during the journey
  • Pen for filling out customs forms

Health on board

Long-haul flights introduce passengers to unique challenges. Reduced air pressure at high altitudes can affect oxygen levels in the bloodstream, posing risks for those with underlying lung or heart conditions.

Extended periods of immobility during flights increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Dr. Handford has written an article with recommendations for minimising the risk of DVTs. The advice includes regular leg movement, hydration, and considering compression socks to prevent swelling.

Combatting jet lag on long haul flights

Dr Handford has written about combatting jet lag. Suggestions include adjusting your activities and meals according to your destination's time zone, maximising exposure to daylight, and staying hydrated. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine during the flight can contribute to a smoother adjustment.

Travel insurance

Remember to purchase travel insurance for your long-haul trip Good To Go travel insurance cover all types of existing medical conditions and has no upper age limit.