9 Things to Bring on a Long-Haul Flight from Hell

Are all long plane trips necessarily hell flights? Heavens, no! But if you’re sitting in a middle seat during an eleven hour long-haul flight from Los Angeles to Frankfurt, you need a distraction or two. Or at least something to make you more comfortable. See our must-haves plus two funny videos.

LISTEN: Need more ideas? Rick Seaney has a few.


9 Things to Bring on Long-Haul Hell Flights

We surveyed numerous frequent flyers (including the staff at FareCompare) and this is the must-have list we came up with.

1. The endless mug

If you like coffee, you know the servings from the beverage cart are never big enough (and sometimes they’re not even free – see Allegiant, Spirit, Ryanair). Solution: Bring your own insulated mug and ask the flight attendant to fill it up. Make sure it’s empty before going through security.

Tip: Not a coffee drinker? Bring an empty plastic bottle through security and fill it up at an airport water station but don’t forget to recycle (or choose a reusable water container).

2. The hardware

Don’t leave home without it: Phone, tablet, laptop – and charger cords. Do not put any of these items in a checked-bag; keep them in a carry-on bag or on your person)

Tip: Be sure everything is charged up and ready to go before heading to the airport.

3. The music

There’s nothing like a bunch of favorite tunes to keep you in a happy frame of mind even when your seatmate is a crying baby. Several frequent flyers recommend noise-canceling headphones; travel expert and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney won’t step on a plane without his.

Tip: May we suggest Learn to Fly from the Foo Fighters.

From foofightersVEVO via YouTube

4. The video

Pack your device with movies and TV shows; binge-watching at 30,000 can make a flight seem a lot shorter than it really is.

Tip: This gets our vote for best travel movie ever: Airplane!

From MovieClips Trailers via YouTube
5. The comforts of home

These cozy items made nearly everyone’s list:

  • Neck pillow
  • Blanket
  • Eye mask (OK, this one didn’t make everyone’s list, but those who use it say it really helps them sleep on planes).

Tip: Some airlines sell pillows and blankets for around $10 but you’ll find a ton online, maybe even better or cheaper (or both). Don’t want to carry a blanket? Take a sweater or jacket on board; planes do get chilly.

6. The socks

Compression socks make your legs feel better, or so say those who don’t fly without them. Might want to ask a health care professional if they’d be useful for you.

Tip: Some airlines like United list seat exercises that may help you feel better on a long flight (these include ankle circles, foot pumps and more).

7. The bag

Let’s see, we’ve got the cords, the neck pillow, the socks – but where to put them? Try a Baggu, says one of our frequent flyers. The simplest large nylon tote costs just $12 and holds an impressive 50 lbs. of stuff.

Tip: While FareCompare doesn’t endorse products, one of our employees swears by this.

8. The ‘medication’

If there’s something you must take, keep it on you or in the carry-on. This is also true for any sleeping aid you use (and we trust it’s been prescribed by a professional. We’ve also heard from some folks who tell us mini bottles of alcoholic beverages (50 ml.) are small enough to pass through security – but careful, some airlines may not allow this.

Tip: Do not over do it with alcohol. It’s an easy way to get kicked off a plane.

9. The snacks

Stuff a few granola or power bars or something in your pocket. You will get hungry and that cart will be slow (and food on many low cost carriers is not free).

Tip: More suggestions  on what to bring – good food and crappy food.


Updated: April 25, 2016