How to Stay Comfortable During a Long Haul Flight
Travel Guides & Tips

How to Stay Comfortable During a Long Haul Flight

Are you taking a long flight haul soon? Wherever you go, don’t just focus on what you’ll be packing for your next destination, but also for your journey on the plane. Sitting for long hours is already an uncomfortable situation to begin with, as the human body isn’t meant for long hours of sitting. Plus, the experience gets worse when you’re not wearing the right kinds of clothes.

If you’re like me who’s not used to the cold weather (I’m a tropical girl!), you’ll need to overcome one hell of a long cold trip on the plane. At night, the aircraft gets way cooler.

To avoid yourself from feeling like you’re flying in an elevated fridge, you’ll need to do this: layer, layer, layer. Here are some tips to help you stay warm during your long haul flight, or even during your short haul flight if you can’t stand the cold. Plus, I’ve added on the other essentials you’ll need to ensure a comfortable flight every time.


First of all, pack your stuff in your carry-on bag

Most travelers have at least one carry-on bag that they keep either in the overhead compartment or under their seats. I personally like to have my bag kept under the passenger’s seat as it’s much easier for me to reach for my stuff when I need to. Besides, I’m a petite girl.

Reaching the overhead compartment can be a challenge when my bag is placed deeper inside the overhead compartment. Plus, air travelers have a bad habit of bringing huge, or even more than one carry-on bag, onboard.

What do I do to avoid such troubles? I always have my carry-on under the passenger’s seat, and put on enough clothes to keep me warm while I’m onboard. Below are some clothes recommended for those long haul flights.

#1: Socks or stockings

Keeping warm with socks or stockings

Socks and stockings are two of my favourite wardrobe items all of time. They’re so multi-functional and can be used almost whenever and wherever. In fact, they keep your feet protected from dirt and germs. Of course, there are all kinds of socks and stockings, which come in different lengths and sizes.

Knee-high socks are recommended for both men and women. Otherwise, short socks made of thick and warm materials will do. I usually wear black stockings to match my dresses, but whenever it gets too cold, I’d even wear them underneath my pants. No one would even notice!

#2: Loose pants

Harem pants are great for traveling

Harem pants are wonderful. You know, the kind bellydancers like to wear when dancing. Of course, I don’t recommend you to wear the the transparent ones. Sweatpants are just as good, too. The warmer they are, the better!

I usually opt for pants when I know I’m going to have a long journey somewhere. No skirts or dresses, but pants. Loose pants are the best. That’s because they’re so comfortable to wear. I don’t feel restricted when I wear them and I can easily stretch my legs whenever I feel like I need to.

Imagine wearing a pair of tight jeans as your stomach bulges out after you’ve just had a heavy meal. That must be very uncomfortable, isn’t it? I don’t feel that way when I put on loose pants. Since they’re loose, no one would even notice if you’re wearing long stockings underneath them! My pants are usually black in color. In case I spill any liquid on them, I don’t have to stress myself out thinking what to wear, or what people would think of me.

#3: Loose top or T-shirt

Wear a loose top or T-shirt on the plane

T-shirts are my travel best friend. Not only are they comfortable to wear, they’re also stylish in their own way. My t-shirts usually have patterns on them, but if yours are rather plain, you can always give it more attitude simply by pairing it with neck or hand accessories. Most importantly, it keeps you warm.

Avoid wearing t-shirts that are too tight. Choose the one with the most comfortable material. Consider wearing cotton t-shirts for your journey. Knitted shirts are usually warm, so you can try wearing them for your long haul flight. Minimalist travelers usually opt for merino wool, which is considered to be ideal for travel as it is lightweight, quickly dries up, and doesn’t stink easily even when not washed for a week.

#4: Long-sleeved shirt

Wear a long-sleeved shirt on the plane

When it’s cold, a long-sleeved shirt is what you need to wear to keep you warm. You can wear a shirt or singlet underneath it to add more warmth. If you choose a long-sleeved shirt that is designed for the cold, then you won’t need to do that. Some people are used to the cold hence wearing just a pair of long-sleeved shirt is just enough for them, even during an overnight trip on the plane. After all, blankets are usually provided for long haul flights.

I have an aunty who doesn’t wear anything with sleeves. She’s the kind of person who only wears tank tops and she likes to pair them with long-sleeved shirts. I also dress up like that, especially when I’m in cold places. If it gets hotter, I’d take off the long-sleeved shirt and stick with just the tank top. Sometimes I tie my long-sleeved shirt around my waist to save space in my bag. It’s a style that suits me, too.

#5: Long jacket

Wear a long jacket on the plane

Jackets are typically bulky, which is why many travelers don’t like carrying them around; but it’s an important item. Getting the right one will create a more comfortable journey. As mentioned earlier, overnight flights can get pretty cold, so it’s important to choose a jacket that will definitely keep the top of your body warm. Otherwise, you can just settle with a long-sleeved shirt.

If you have a rain jacket, wear it, even when it’s not pouring (thanks goodness for that!). Raincoats are usually warm. That way, you can travel with clothes that serves you when it’s cold or when it’s cold and rainy. Jackets usually have many pockets. Take advantage of them to keep as many useful things as possible, including a pen, some candy and your travel documents.

#6: Hoodie

Wear a hoodie on the plane

Another one of my all time favorite the hoodie. For me, a hoodie is stylish. It’s simple, but I suppose that’s what makes it attractive. A hoodie can be worn with another outfit that’s worn inside, and if gets too hot, it takes less than 30 seconds to take it off. The most important thing is it keeps you warm.

Do you know why people typically cover their heads in extremely cold places? That’s because we lose half of our body heat through our heads, which is why people wear winter caps, especially on snowy days. Oh, a hoodie also makes for a great running outfit! Perfect for travelers  who want to stay fit even when on the go.

#7: Scarf or Shawl

Wear a scarf or shawl on the plane

Scarf or shawl whatever you call it, it’s a must-have item in any traveler’s bag. When it comes to the most useful and multi-functional travel item, this should be nominated as one of the best of the best. During a cold, long haul flight, it will keep you warmer in whatever ways you decide to wear it. Wrap it around your neck or head, or cover your chest with it. Plus, it’s a great addition to a plain-looking shirt if that’s what you’re wearing!

If you’re already warm without it, you can let it serve as your neck pillow, as an alternative to a travel pillow. It can also be your blanket. When you’re out of the plane, you can use it for other purposes, such as a beach sarong, face cover and many more. Basically, it’s a perfect item to carry wherever you go, and in no matter what season.

#8: Slip-on shoes

Wear slip-on shoes when traveling

The best shoe to wear to the airport is a pair of slip-on shoes. Laced shoes are troublesome as the immigration officers might tell you to take off your shoes. I love palm shoes as they’re comfortable and easy for me to take them off when I have to. They’re often breathable, too. In fact, they’re lightweight and make wonderful beach footwear if you forgot to pack your slippers with you. It has happened to me before!

I don’t recommend wearing slippers on the plane as your feet will eventually get cold. In case of an emergency, slippers slow down your pace.


Travel essentials

Below are a few other travel essentials that are recommended for your long haul flight.

Earphones – Use it for your in-flight entertainment. Your airline will likely provide you with a earphones. I personally prefer my own since it’s the kind I like. For me, a good pair of earphones is one that gives you good treble and bass sounds. I don’t need the best, but something that I can bear with for the next 20 hours.

Travel pillow – This is not for everyone, but I’ve recently got one for myself after I found out about the inflatable type. I don’t fancy the kind you hang at the back of your bag. If you have problems sleeping on the plane, take it with you. If you’re like me, whose head can’t even reach the headrest, you’ll love the travel pillow. For a good sleep, it’s definitely worth packing.

Travel pillow and earphones

Offline entertainment – Take a book or magazine with you if you’re going to fly overnight on the plane. For a more lightweight experience, take a Kindle with you instead. I usually download offline YouTube videos for my journey. That way I can use my phone on flight mode without having to rely on any Internet connection.

Power charger – Since you’ll be spending a lot of time on the plane, you’ll need to charge your gadgets more often than you usually do. Use a USB cable to charge your gadgets, or it’ll also be helpful to have a power bank in hand. Optionally, you can carry an extra fully charged battery for your gadgets.

Use a lip balm on the plane

Lip balm – It’s important to keep hydrated always. As the plane gets colder at night, your lips may get too dry and crack. Okay, your lips won’t look very nice when that happens and your cracked lips may cause you pain, too. A lip balm will keep your lips moist always. Take it. It almost weighs like a feather!


What about you? What are your must-have travel items, and what would you recommend to other travelers taking long haul flights?