Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How I survive the longest flight ever...

Folks, I live far, faraway from Texas.  There may be corners of this Earth that are farther but not many.  When I fly from Australia to Texas, I fly Qantas.  Oh, I've tried Virgin and United...but I prefer Qantas, no doubt, no question, the end.  Currently, Qantas is the only airline that offers direct non-stop flights from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth (SYD to DFW) and return.  Here's what wikipedia (because we all know the valuable source of information that is) says about these flights:
Qantas Flight 7 (QF7/QFA7) and Qantas Flight 8 (QF8/QFA8) are flights operated by Australian airline Qantas between Sydney Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. They are currently the longest regularly scheduled non-stop commercial flights in the world as measured by distance—13,804 kilometres (8,577 mi; 7,454 nmi), which is over one third of the distance around EarthBoth flights are operated with Airbus A380 aircraft.
Photo source
This flight wasn't always available.  I used to fly SYD to LAX (or SFO) to Houston or Dallas.  I was overjoyed when they announced this added flight option to their schedules.

I get on an airplane in Sydney, and I land in Texas.  No connections.  No going through customs at LAX (the worst!) or SFO, then rechecking my bags.  No missing a connecting flight because the original one was delayed.  No added travel time sitting in LAX or SFO waiting for a connecting flight that may or may not be delayed, overbooked, or cancelled.

I get on a plane in Sydney during the day, get off the plane at DFW during the day...the calendar date is the same.  It's really like I traveled through some loophole to get to somewhere else in the world at the same time & date.  Tricking my mind to believe this helps with jetlag.  So does being excited for my first Tex Mex meal and to see my loved ones waiting to hug me.

Going back, I get on a plane in DFW at night; I arrive in Sydney in the morning.  If I sleep, it's like I went to sleep and lost a day.  Because I lose a calendar day going back.  I pretend that day didn't happen and trick my mind that I'm waking up the next day after going to sleep at night.  Just like normal, right?

I'm on a plane in the air for 15 hours and 35 minutes going to Texas, and 16 hours and 50 minutes return.  That's right almost 17 hours in a metal tube flying over the Pacific Ocean.  And, you know what?  I'm totally okay with that.

Have I confused you enough?

 How do I survive this lengthy flight?

I'm not an anxious flyer.  I don't hyperventilate.  My heart doesn't race.  Even though I regularly experience motion sickness in a car, I'm totally fine in an airplane.  This helps with the 15 - 17 hour fly time. 

I sleep.  I sleep in planes, cars, trains, pretty much anything with the hum of a motor, and I can fall asleep.  A lot of people have trouble with this.  Not me.  I'm a sleeper.  I may even drool or snore.  Yep, I'm that person that may show up on someone's social media trying to shame me.  They were a passenger next to me snapping funny photos while I was snoozing.

Comfort is key.  I dress comfortably.  I don't dress like a slob, but I dress to be comfortable.  There are people on this flight who I suspect wear their pajama pants.  I don't go that far.  Well, I kinda do...because I'll wear legging sometimes, and sometimes I sleep in leggings, so.......

Also, changing hemispheres and changing seasons, I keep in mind dressing for both sets of weather.  Most of the time, Sydney and Texas are both pretty darn mild, so that makes it a little easier for me as well.

I prefer wearing a super soft and comfortable maxi dress plus a hoodie.  I may be cold.  I find hoodies comfortable.  Or if I am warm, I can take off the hoodie...but I like having a hoodie.  Maxi dresses, I can wear and they cover my legs, but I can curl my legs up like a pretzel too, if I find this comfortable at sometime during the flight.  I wear comfortable shoes.  My feet swell.  Many people's do.  So, I don't wear tight shoes.  I made that mistake once.  Only once.  If I wear sandals or flip-flops, I take comfy socks.  I put on my comfy socks for the duration of the flight.  When I get up and walk around, I don't mind walking in my socks.  I don't want to take my shoes on and off.

If you're a drinker, Qantas gives free booze on international flights.  Last time I was on Virgin (a few years ago), you only got one free drink with your meal.  They charged for the rest.  Booze sometimes help with sleep and relaxation.  But, I don't drink too much booze because it's a looooong flight.  

Instead of boozin', I prefer movie-watchin' (on planes). Qantas inflight entertainment system is the bomb.  For international flights, there's over 100 different movies to choose from (last flight, I watched If I Stay and Boyhood; Neil watched an Expendables and Pulp Fiction).  You can start them at any time, pause, rewind, you're in control.  There's probably even more television shows to watch.  One time, I watched an entire series of Modern Family.  I'm sure the person sitting next to me thought I was a weirdo with all my spontaneous laughter.

There's a lot of music channels too, and you can program your own playlist.  But, let's be serious.  You know I go prepared with my own flight friendly playlist on my ipod.  I load up a playlist of relaxing songs...ones that I really like to keep me feeling positive.  When I want to sleep, this is when the inflight entertainment option of creating my own playlist comes in handy.  I prepare a playlist that I can sleep through without using my ipod battery.  Although, they having charging stations now...I'm pretty sure. 

I'm not a talker on flights.  Normally, I don't mind talking to strangers and hearing random stories about other people's lives.  On a flight, I'm different.  I want to be in my little world with little to no interruptions.  Headphones while watching a movie or listening to music is good for this.  For some reason, I find if I'm reading a book, the passenger next to me feels that it is acceptable to talk to me.

Books...I still bring reading material, even if I don't use it...because...well...I love books.  I prefer fast-paced suspense thrillers and easy to read YA books instead of more thought-provoking historical fictions while on a long flight.  Plus, I want a smaller book (not a big bulky one) because I still read books.  Those things you hold in your hand and turn physical pages.  Not ereaders. 

Snacks are important.  Sure, Qantas feeds you two meals plus snacks on this flight.  I'm not a fan of the flight food.  I come prepared with my own snacks.  Plus, I have a big water bottle because staying hydrated for this length of flight is important.  But not too big of a bottle, because you don't want to have to get up and down to go to the toilet too often.

Speaking of toilets...when I fly the A380, I prefer to pre-book my seats upstairs.  Most of the upstairs is for business and premium classes, but there's a back portion for peasants like me.  Not many of us peasants are seated upstairs, so not as many people trying to use the same handful of toilets.

I bring with me a small travel kit with a toothbrush & toothpaste, a scented lotion (so I don't stank when I arrive), deoderant (for the same reason), lip balms, and hair ties.  If I have this, then I'm usually set for feeling slightly refreshed before landing.

Can you think of any of tricks or pieces of advice for long haul air travel?


  1. I also fall asleep on any type of transportation, as soon as there's movement I'm out cold. It's a pretty convinient quirk when you're subject to as many long flights as we are!

  2. i can't sleep on planes. i can't get comfortable enough. the last time i flew overseas, i took two benadryl on the way to the airport and almost fell asleep waiting at the gate. and then i was up. so then i took two tylenol pm. and stayed up some more.

  3. I am not really a fan of long flights. I can never sleep. I always feel like everybody else is asleep but it never works for me. And I usually fall asleep on the couch after watching a movie for 5 minutes. So I always bring lots of reading material (books and magazines) and watch shows and movies. A lot. Oh, and I hate connecting flights so much. They only cause problems. I also bring a lot of snacks because I do not like the plane food, sometimes their vegan options aren't even vegan. Haha. So my hand luggage is usually huge. Because I need to eat. And read. Have safe travels! And I hope you won't miss your guy and furry babies too much!

  4. I just feel like for long flights you just have to act like you're a child in the sense that you need endless possibilities of things to do. Even on short flights I always make sure I have multiple options so if I get bored I can move onto the next one. My only struggle is I can't always fall asleep, but I've just learned recently that if I put on my music to the loudness level I can't hear things going on around me I can doze a little. My friend told my I should get a sleeping mask but I feel like that's too diva.

  5. My last long flight was Chicago - Tokyo (15 hrs) and I was not prepared. Great tips - I'll have to remember this!

  6. Sounds like you have it all planned out. I have only been on a plane once from Milwaukee to Las Vegas but this fall we may be flying down to Dallas for my uncle's wedding. That that will not no where near the amount of time that you'll be in the plane but I do like your travel tips. Thanks! :)

    Mandie ~

  7. Excellent! I want to be as prepared as possible.

  8. Great tip on booking/reserving the upstairs seats! This is the flight I'm eying when I'm able to travel to Australia someday...

    I'm with you on loving maxi dresses while flying. It makes you look more "dressed up" than you actually are. Have you tried compression socks? I'm trying to decide if I need to invest in some for the overseas trip we will be taking next year.

  9. woah woah woah there are seats upstairs? you have to provide me more information with this because i do not understand.
    i have flown with qantas / american airlines on that syd-dallas flight ONCE and it was amazing. Sure it sucks hairy balls being on a plane for 16+ hours but because i have to fly onwards to KY, it cuts out that middle flight which I love. I am a bit of an anxious flyer though, but the longer flight + short flight from dallas to KY is better than a long + medium length flight + a short flight to KY, if that makes sense.
    I wore a maxi dress just once on a flight (LA to Hawaii) and I was so effing cold, never again lol.
    I normally fly with Delta. I don't mind Virgin, hate United. I choose delta over qantas purely because of cost! if qantas / american airlines was cheaper (or i can get it cheaper) i'd absolutely choose them.

  10. I have never gone on a flight that long! One day, I hope to travel more, but it just hasn't happened yet. I am one of those people that can sleep pretty much anywhere too, so that helps a lot when traveling. I also like to bring this small tube pillow that has this bean bag like filling-- it can be squished just about anywhere so it is easy to shove in my purse/carryon for flights.

  11. I sleep on flights and car rides too! Also I hate talking. I know it drove my husband crazy when we were going on our honeymoon and I was ready to just listen to my iPod and sleep...he gets stir crazy on flights. I just get comfy and wanna enjoy the peace of not having to clean up or look after anyone for a couple hours!

  12. Upstairs? I need to fly Qantas pronto because that's awesome.

    I cannot fathom spending that amount of time on a plane but since I plan to go to Australia some day, I should. These are great tips for long flights. Short ones, too. I do many of the same for even three hour flights.

  13. I didnt fly Qantas but my mum who goes way more than i has. I did the syd-LA and while it may be shorter than to Texas it was still darn brutal. I love flying and had to resort to all kindsa methods to entertain myself.

  14. The longest flight I have ever been on was from Atlanta to Buenos Aires (10 hours). I can't imagine flying from Sydney to Dallas! Yikes!

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