I may not be a pilot, flight attendant, or even an airline ticket agent, but I know a thing or two about long flights and long flight essential items. In fact, I’ve made the trek from New York to the west coast and back countless times. I’ve even endured the eleven hour flight from Boston to Honolulu a handful of times as well.
Over the years I have had some nightmare flight experiences. I’ve had flights get cancelled while already in the terminal, I’ve sat in the “jump seat”, and I’ve flown Spirit Airlines, the cheapest of the cheap (no seriously, they don’t even give out free water). Needless to say, I’m confident in my abilities to navigate an airport, identify ride share pickup areas, maneuver through the transportation security administration without raising an eyebrow, and last but not least, sit comfortably aboard an airplane.
But enough about me, this article is about you enjoying the best flight of all-time. That being said, here is my list of ten long flight essentials that everyone should consider for their next trip to the airport.
10. Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you’ve ever worn those standard iPhone headphones aboard a plane, then you already know how lousy they really work. Noise cancelling headphones completely eliminate the sounds made by that crying baby, your chatty neighbors, and of course the plane’s engine. Yeah a pair of nice Bose noise cancelling headphones may cost a pretty penny, but boy is the money well spent. After wearing a a pair of headphones like these on a plane, you will never ride economy without them again. If you are on a bugdet, this pair made by Amazon will work just fine too.
9. Headphone Splitter
Flying with a friend and want to watch a movie together? Good luck listening through your speakers. In order for you both to enjoy the same movie on one screen, you’ll definitely need to invest in a pair of headphone splitters. As you can imagine, headphone splitters allow two people to share the one headphone jack available on most laptops. There is one caveat however – headphone splitters typically reduce the audio output volume, since the power is now split between two devices! It is for this reason that I highly recommend you (and your friend) still buy noise cancelling headphones. They will make the audio come through much, much, much more clearly and louder. I personally own this headphone splitter from Belkin, but I don’t think it really matters which product you buy.
8. Neck Pillow
Unless you are flying Suites Class with Singapore Airlines, sleeping on an airplane can be a real struggle. When it comes to airplane snoozing there are three sleeping positions – the “rest your head on the window”, which is only applicable to people sitting in the window seat, the “lunch tray rest”, which is ineffective when the passenger in front of you likes to recline their chairs (or if you are riding Spirit Airlines), and the “up straight with head back”, the classic middle seat sleeping position. Neck pillows, especially this one by BCozzy, stop your head from snapping forward. Not only that, but they can be adjusted to maximize comfort for passengers sitting in the window, aisle, and middle seats. If you are flying cross-country, especially if it’s a red-eye flight, then do yourself a favor and purchase a neck pillow. Travel often? Here’s the neck pillow I swear by.
7. Clothing Vacuum Pack
A clothing vacuum pack won’t make your flight any more enjoyable, but it will save you some money in the future on bag checking. A clothing vacuum pack is designed to save room in your carry-on by minimizing the size of your bulky clothing and toiletries. Simply place your items into the bags and use a vacuum or the included pump to suck out the excess air. The result is a thinner package which is easier to stack and store. Use a clothing vacuum pack and you’ll never need to check, wait, or claim a bag again. It pays to pack light. Think about how much time and money this will save you!
6. Laptop Power Charger
Long flights are the perfect time for you to binge watch your favorite television shows without guilt. But for some reason unbeknownst to me, airplanes are still not equipped with power outlets. It is for this reason that you absolutely must ensure that your phone and laptop are fully charged prior to boarding. Purchase a laptop power charger and you’ll see your battery life triple or even quadruple. That’s like an extra two seasons of House of Cards! Click here to browse the best selling laptop and cell phone power chargers on Amazon. Please check that the portable charger you choose is compatible with your devices before purchasing though.
5. Protein Powder Samples
A majority of our readers are fitness enthusiasts, so it only seems right to include my personal tip for packing protein for a long flight. Bringing protein powder onto a flight without looking like a Mexican drug lord is very challenging. You won’t have enough room to bring the entire container (nor will you need the entire container), and taking it in a resealable bag only makes people think you are trying to smuggle drugs. Hell, you’ll probably have a very, very hard time getting through airport security too. But there is a solution – sample protein packs! Purchase a handful of protein sample packs from Amazon and you’ll have no trouble at all getting through security.
I only eat fruit snacks on two occasions – after I give blood and while on an airplane. Fruit snacks are my personal airplane pleasure, but individually wrapped pieces of dark chocolates like Ferrero Rocher and Lindt, bars like Clif Bars, Premier Protein, and Met-Rx Big 100, trail mix, and nuts all work great too. Just make sure you don’t eat anything too salty! Plane cabins are already dehydrating, no need to escalate things by eating dehydrating snacks. Plus you can use snacks as a way to become acquainted with your fellow passengers. Because who doesn’t like snacks? Offer up some of your snacks as a way of saying thanks to the man in the aisle seat who keeps getting up in order for you to use the rest room.
3. Uber Gift Cards
Okay, hear me out on this one. You won’t be anymore comfortable on your flight with a pack of Uber gift cards in your wallet , but it will save you time and money once you get off the plane. From my experience of flying to big tourist hot spots like Las Vegas, Orlando, San Diego, and New York City, riding with Uber as opposed to waving down a taxi has saved me a decent chunk of change. Just be aware that some airports do not allow Uber pick ups at the airport itself, only drop-offs. You can get around this rule by ordering an Uber for the nearest location possible though. Regardless, riding with Uber will come in handy for other parts of your trip too.
2. Softsole Slippers
According to Mayo Clinic, “Sitting with your feet on the floor for a long period causes blood to pool in your leg veins. The position of your legs when you are seated also increases pressure in your leg veins. This contributes to foot swelling by causing fluid to leave the blood and move into the surrounding soft tissues.” If you have ever flown before, then you know this all too well. It is for this reason that you’ve got to invest in a pair of soft sole slippers. Not only will slippers give your feet extra space to breathe during your flight, but you’ll also be able to slip them on and off periodically with ease. Slippers will also help you move swiftly through airport security! This pair of slippers made by Minnetonka are exactly what you are looking for. Just make sure you shower before flying that way you can sit barefoot without stinking up the cabin.
1. Water Bottle
Plane cabins are dry, so you’ll need to drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated. Most flights give out water for free to flight patrons, but it is typically given in a small plastic cup that takes all of five seconds to engulf. Bring your empty, refillable water bottle with you through airport security and fill it up at one of the many water fountains (or sinks) located throughout the airport terminal. Now you’ll be able to keep your thirst quenched in between the tiny cups of water given out by the flight attendants. A popular water bottle that I see people using is this one from Nalgene, but any sturdy water bottle should do – the more water it can hold, the better. But remember, the bottle must be empty while going through airport security!
Long Flight Essentials
When it comes to packing for a long flight, organization is key. There is nothing more frustrating than getting into your seat and not being able to untangle your headphones from your backpack – or worse, not being able to find them at all!
When I pack for a flight, I always try to make sure that the items I’m most likely to use while on the flight are rested at the very top of my backpack. Things less important for the time being, like toothpaste, underwear, and spare sneakers, should be buried safely at the bottom.
Related: 34 Blogs All Men Should Subscribe To
So there you have it, these were my ten long flight essentials. If you are going to be trapped on an airplane for the next six or so hours, I’m certain that you will find value in this list. Sure the flight may not be much fun, but if you prepare properly, you might find it to be tolerable. Good enough, right? Just think of all the fun you’ll have once you get to your destination! What are your long flight essentials? Comment on our Facebook and Instagram accounts and let us know how you deal with your airplane experiences.