Saturday, March 31, 2012

Longest Flights and How to Survive Them

Dubai to LA
So I found this article on the top 11 longest flights and I wanted to share. We want to go to Thailand someday and I can’t imagine being on a flight THAT long! But sometimes that’s what you got to do to get where you want to go. The 2 longest flights I have been on was a 14 hours flight from Norway to Newark (we had to turn around about an hour and a half into the flight for a medical emergency and then had to wait on the airplane to make sure the heavy landing did cause any problems) and then from Frankfurt to Houston, I think it was like 10 hours. Here is the list of the longest commercial flights.

11. New York to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific (Tie)
Miles: 8,059, Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours, Cost $644
10. Houston to Brisbane on Qantas (Tie)
Miles: 8,584, Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours, Cost $1962
9. Johannesburg to New York on South African Airways (Tie)
Miles: 7,970, Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours, Cost $1200 - $1700
8. Newark to Hong Kong on United Airlines (Tie)
Miles: 8,065, Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours, Cost $1500 - $1900
7. Atlanta to Johannesburg on Delta Airlines (Tie)
Miles: 8,433, Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours 15 Minutes, Cost $1300
6. Doha to Houston on Qatar Airways (Tie)
Miles: 8,047, Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours 15 Minutes, Cost $1850
5. Dubai to Houston on Emirates Airways
Miles: 8,164, Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours 20 Minutes, Cost $1400 - $2300
4. Dubai to Los Angeles on Emirates Airways
Miles: 8,335, Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours 30 Minutes, Cost $1800 - $2400
3. Los Angeles to Bangkok on Thai Airways
Miles: 8,260, Scheduled Duration: 17 Hours 30 Minutes, Cost $1500 - $1900
2. Newark to Singapore on Singapore Airlines
Miles: 10,371, Scheduled Duration: 18 Hours, Cost $6000 - $8000
1. Los Angeles to Singapore, Singapore Airlines
Miles: 9,500, Scheduled Duration: 18 Hours 30 Minutes, Cost $6000 - $8000

LA to Singapore

For ways to prepare for long flights like those listed above, here is a helpful list prepared by Joel Fineman:

10. Charge up your portable electronics
For many flyers, portable electronics (and the batteries that sustain them) act as lifelines. Staring into small colorful screens can calm nervous travelers and keep children occupied. But your gadgets are no good unless they can survive the flight's entire duration, which requires ample battery power. Although the top carriers provide passengers with personal entertainment systems loaded with hundreds of films, television programming, and games, this option may not satisfy everyone. If you're a tech addict, charge all of your own devices before you board.

9. Carry layers
You may not be headed to some place cold, but you should bring layers on long flights. Onboard temperatures can vary, so the ability to shed or to don clothes mid-flight is useful. Plus, you can use large sweaters and coats as blankets and pillows. (I always have a jacket or hoodie with me no matter where I am headed.)

8. Prepare for kids
Taking charge of other people's screaming and kicking children is not your job. But sometimes, polite parental assistance can do wonders. Bring a small, cheap toy along and hand it to the bored, frustrated toddler. Or promise the youngster behind you a cash reward at the end of the flight if he refrains from kicking your seat. With crying babies, you're just out of luck. But a good set of ear plugs should do the trick.

7. Bring your medication
You have no control over what pet dander, perfumes, or other airborne irritants your fellow passengers bring on board. If you have allergies, be prepared by either medicating before take-off or having your meds easily accessible in flight. The same goes for those with other conditions-such as migraines-which you might experience on an aircraft. Remember: There's no pharmacy on board. Also, carry any prescribed meds in their original containers in case TSA officials question you about them. (I always bring my meds in my carry-on; don’t want the airline losing your luggage with your medication in the luggage!)

6. Wear appropriate shoes
Feet tend to swell at high elevations, making shoes uncomfortable. There are several ways to relieve the pressure: Wear relaxed-fit or slip-on shoes, hydrate before and during the flight, walk down the aisles, and don't cross your legs. Removing your shoes for trips to the lavatory should not be one of these tactics. This will expose your possibly stinky feet not only to bacteria on the floor, but also to fellow travelers.

5. Maintain your personal bubble
Admittedly, personal space on a plane is minimal, so do your best to hold onto as much distance as possible. Honing in on a book is the old-school way; however, using noise-canceling headphones to plug into the onboard entertainment system or your own device always does the trick. (And don’t touch anyone! You don’t want to get sick while on the flight and you have no way to get to cold medicine!)

4. Sleep to sync up with the new time zone
When you're on a plane for 10-plus hours and hopping time zones, you're going to fall asleep. Try scheduling six to eight hours of rest that align with your destination's nighttime. Ignore meal service, block out sounds, and turn off the entertainment system. Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants can help you catch some zzzs. Sleeping will make the flight seem shorter and help you feel more refreshed upon arrival.

3. Snag your ideal seat
Ideal seat selection requires early booking and insight. The former is up to you. For the latter, we can direct you to some helpful resources. Use to pick the best available seat before you purchase your ticket. You can search by route or by airline and flight number. Additionally, you can set email alerts via to notify you when your requested seat type becomes available. (On one of our flights we had picked our seats WAY in advance and were all ready to go. I just happened to check them a few months later and they had changed our flight times and doing that made us lose our seats! I was really mad because now we were sitting pretty much in the back of the plain…and I hate that!)

2. Pack snacks
Nothing can rile you up more than hunger. To keep you satisfied (and calm) in-flight, take precautionary steps before you board. You already know the airline's cuisine may be poor, so come prepared. Bring substantial, no-mess snacks (e.g. bagels) and a travel-size bottle of hot sauce to add flavor (or subdue it). Also, consider the menu of available pre-order meals to make sure the airline can meet your dietary restrictions and preferences.

1. Be nice to your flight attendants
On a long flight, you can be stressed out, exhausted, and just plain out-of-it. But that's not an excuse to be rude to your flight attendants. These men and women can make or break your flying experience, and if you're stuck on a plane for the good part of a day, you want them on your side. Do your best to make nice with attendants as soon as you board the plane. Benefits can include anything from a polite answer to your questions (i.e. "How much longer?") to a complimentary beverage or a seat change. (Sometimes these people can be pretty awful but I always try to keep in mind that they have probably been dealing with dumb people all day and are bit stressed…try to be nice!)

Photos thanks to:
Pic 1: Joi and Carol M. Highsmith/Flickr and Wikimedia Commons
Pic 2: John Sullivan/Wikimedia Common/and the Singapore Tourism Board
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