By: Blonde Two
I am no expert but my recent yearly trips to New Zealand have given me a bit of an insight into the endurance trial that is long-haul flying.
New Zealand is just about as far as you can go. By my (rather Blonde) calculations, it would take the Two Blondes 191 days to walk there if we could walk non-stop on water and up mountains. I do know a very interesting lady who hitchhiked there – I will try to introduce you to her when I get there.
I won’t be hitchhiking but I will spend 24 hours sitting on a plane, 6 hours hanging around in China, 4 hours on a train and 30 minutes in a car to get to the place I call my second home. It is definitely worth it but not that much fun while it is happening. Here is my Blonde Guide to Long-Haul:
1. Do your very best not to fly Economy. This is not an easy thing to achieve but, having been a very lucky girl and flown Business once, I would do a lot of things to do it again. This year so far, the nearest I have got is Premium Economy. I have tried out a number of different travelling outfits in an attempt to get an upgrade. I have smiled at lots of people, checked in early, checked in late and asked suitable questions but mostly to no avail. I will keep trying – the metal cutlery wrapped in a linen napkin did it for me!
2. If there is one, pay for entrance to a lounge in the airports you are travelling through. My Dad taught me this trick – getting to Heathrow or Gatwick can be a trek and leave you feeling grubby and jaded. A gin and tonic with classy nibbles and a bit of peace and quiet can set you up for a flight and make you feel more in control of your experience. Some lounges even have showers. At a really Blonde level, the eye candy is always better too!
3. Avoid alcohol on the plane. It really does dehydrate you and as it is a stimulant can stop you sleeping past the initial drunken doze. I have tried both the “drink only water” and the “guzzle all the booze you can” approaches to flying and the former has much more acceptable results. Please note that for this Blonde, one celebratory gin and tonic once I am past security is obligatory and always photographed.
4. Try to have a couple of detox days before you fly. Drink loads of water and eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can. I try to avoid wheat as it seems to have a connection with plane-bloating – a debilitating condition, the details of which I am not sharing. Remember too that you don’t have to eat everything that the airline staff bring you. This is a tricky one because there really isn’t anything else to do. Even if the “Pork Congee” that you thought sounded like an exotic breakfast tastes like porridge with belly pork in it – believe me, you will be tempted to eat it just to relieve the boredom.
5. Wear comfortable knickers. If the pair you are considering has even a hint of bottom creepage, just imagine what they will be like after being sat on for 24 hours. You should also embrace that most ugly of garments, the flight sock. Put them on just before you get on the plane (you won’t have room to do it once you are in your seat). Sadly, you must keep these on for 30 long minutes once you land.
I hope these tips help if you ever fly long haul. It is tough but getting there is great. Now you must excuse me, I am off to find my gin and tonic …