America, Asia, Africa, Australasia! What could be more exciting than flying to these far-flung places?
But with exciting and exotic destinations come those pesky long-haul flights. And even though here at KAYAK we are self-confessed flying enthusiasts, there are still some irritating inevitabilities to flying for more than six hours at a time that we’ve come to expect and, to an extent, live with.
If you’re a flying aficionado, these are the things you probably know to be true about long-haul flying (and if that’s the case, you can just head on over to KAYAK.co.uk to search for flights). But if you’re planning your first long flight, then check out these nine things that will happen to you.
1. You’ll believe that you’ll get an upgrade
You’ll arrive at the airport bright and breezy, dressed in your most comfy, yet Instagram appropriate, travel outfit. As you make your way to the check-in desk, you’ll think to yourself that this could be your lucky day. This could be the day when you’re the person the check-in staff will offer a free upgrade to. You’ll put on your biggest charm offensive, but no sooner will you have asked how their day is, that they’ll allocate you the uncomfortable middle seat beside the bathroom.
2. You’ll use the ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere’ rule
Getting through security is stressful, we know. It’s tiring to navigate your way through the zig-zag lines of families and business travellers. And it’s just plain irritating (and embarrassing) to empty most of your case in front of a disgruntled member of the security staff because you forgot to unpack your water bottle from your hand luggage. Once you’ve dodged the duty-free sales people, tripped up on a child’s Trunki and been rammed into by the ‘OMG we’re going to miss our flight’ hoards, you will well and truly be fed up. But then you’ll see the warm glow of Wetherspoons, or, if you’re fancy, the posh champagne and oyster bar that every airport seems to have. It’s only 10am, but you’re now officially on holiday and it’s 5pm somewhere, right?
3. You’ll be bitterly disappointed by the in-flight meal
A couple of hours into your flight and the cabin staff will joyously announce that they’re serving food. Oooh, what could it be? Sadly, you’ll most likely be met with a sad tomato pasta or plastic-y chicken covered and a nondescript sauce. And a lukewarm orange juice. Why is it always orange juice? You’ll regret not making a pit-stop at Pret.
4. You’ll find sleeping an issue
Any hope of a comfortable sleep will be thwarted once you settle into your economy class seat. Unless you get that enviable window seat, you can be assured that your next six-plus hours will involve a series of uncomfortable head nods and a slow lean into the stranger beside you. You’ll decide it’s maybe best to double your caffeine intake instead.
5. You’ll go for an uneventful walk
It’s inevitable. Three hours into the flight and you’ll officially be numb from sitting. Restless leg syndrome will start to kick in. So you’ll get up to see if there’s anything exciting to be seen around the plane. Maybe there’s a celeb onboard? Five minutes later and you’ll realise that walking on a busy flight is awkward and dull and you’ll settle back in for another five hours of shifting in your seat.
6. You’ll enjoy some questionable in-flight entertainment
Your phone’s battery can only withstand Netflix and endless selfie-taking for so long. As it perilously drops to less than 10%, you’ll realise it’s time to make do with in-flight entertainment. You’ll watch one movie that you’ve wanted to see for ages, then fall asleep during that Oscar-nominated one that you couldn’t be bothered going to see in the cinema.
7. You’ll lose all concept of time
What is time? Where are you? As you cruise across time zones, you’ll slowly lose all sense of time. ‘We must be nearly there’, you’ll think, before realising you’re only a quarter of the way through your flight.
8. You’ll fall foul to the bathroom mirror
With one hour to go, you’ll decide to go freshen up. You can’t look that bad, right? But a mix of sleeping, crumbly food and the general task of travelling has left you somewhat bedraggled. You’ll wish you hadn’t packed your wet wipes in your suitcase.
9. You’ll realise it was all worth it
As you step off the flight, you’ll feel the heat of a foreign paradise and any discomfort you felt will become a distant memory. You’ll go out and enjoy exploring an exciting new place. And when the time comes to fly home again, you’ll already be thinking, ‘Hey, maybe this time I’ll get an upgrade!’