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

We’ve been seeing some incredible deals to Europe recently (and you can find one yourself, quickly and easily, on the Getaway Map). Sure, long-haul travel can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be a flight from hell, not if you bring along these useful items. Let’s make the time stuck in the cabin as comfortable as possible.

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, not on Allegiant, Spirit or Ryanair). Solution: Bring your own insulated mug and fill it up with airport coffee or ask the flight attendant to fill it up (definitely say ‘please’). 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 within easy reach or on your person.

Tip: Be sure everything is charged 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: Maybe Learn to Fly by the Foo Fighters?

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: The movie Airplane! still makes us laugh.

5. The comforts of home

These cozy items made nearly everyone’s must-pack list:

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

Tip: Some airlines sell pillows and blankets (for around $10) but feel free to bring your own. 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: FareCompare doesn’t endorse products but an employee swears by this.

8. The medication

If there’s something you must take for your health, keep it on you or in a carry-on. This is also true for any sleeping aid you might typically take on a plane. We’ve also heard from folks who tell us mini bottles of alcoholic beverages (50 ml.) are small enough to pass through security – but be forewarned that some airlines may not allow this.

Tip: Too much alcohol can get you kicked off a plane.

9. The snacks

Stuff a few granola bars or power bars or something to munch 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 for good food and crappy food.

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Updated: April 7, 2017