Being based in London, it’s pretty easy to get around.
Growing up, my summer holidays were often spent in Europe, meaning a maximum of 2 hours flying each way. Every now and again we ventured further afield – Turkey, New York, Russia, Morocco, Iran. But none of these seemed to be the real long haul deal.
When we flew to Sri Lanka in May, we flew with Sri Lankan Airlines, and it was an eye-opener in terms of long haul travel. The flight from London Heathrow to Colombo was just under 11 hours, and for a chronic fidgeter, that’s a long time to be sat down in one place.
We took a peek onboard before everyone boarded – and couldn’t help but imagine how it would be to fly Business Class. We were lucky enough to have an entire two rows to ourselves, however, and we planned to sleep our night flight away.
Business Class – we’ll see you another time…
Flying in Economy with Sri Lankan was comfortable, though we were super lucky that the plane wasn’t very full, so we had a lot of seats to ourselves. The food on offer was quite varied too, so if you do like plane food then there will definitely be something to tick your boxes.
The cabin crew on Sri Lankan wear the most beautiful uniforms, the women in their saris of a deep, vibrant turquoise colour. We touched down and listened to the pilot’s announcement, and then the crew bid us farewell with their hands pressed into prayer, a slight bow and the traditional Sri Lankan greeting of Ayubowan.
You can read endless articles and lists of what to take while flying long haul (I did haha), but you still might not get it right your first time, simply because everyone is different. So I’m doing the sensible thing of adding yet another list to the multitudes that exist online, and here’s what worked for me. Happy long-haul travels!
Pack a yoga mat.
Even if you’re not necessarily into yoga, a good stretch before you board makes a world of difference. I rolled up my travel mat and gave myself time to have a short flow before we boarded. I’m so glad I did – we boarded around 9pm so it set me up for the evening ahead, plus it meant I had it with me whilst I was away if I wanted to stretch out.
Even though everything is catered for, I still wanted some veggie Percy Pigs, and to my dismay, there were none onboard. I ate just before the flight (and in airport terms, ‘just before’ means about 2 hours before boarding) and I’m so glad I did, as the dinner service didn’t come out until around 11.30pm – not ideal!
Buy a huge bottle of water.
Same as above – I didn’t want to be asking repeatedly for water, especially as they give you the little plane cups. So I bought a huge 2litre and also had cups whenever the cabin crew came around with water. No one wants to be the person ringing the assistance bell for endless glasses of water.
Dress for the plane, and for the destination.
I can’t remember a time that I didn’t travel in yoga pants. Comfort>Style whilst travelling. But my shock horror at arriving in Colombo to 35 degree heat, in yoga pants and a jumper, was 100% avoidable. I should have packed something light in my hand luggage to change into just before landing. As I didn’t think that far ahead, it resulted in a rather unsightly rummage through my big suitcase in the airport. Needs must…!
What’s your advice for travelling long haul?
With thanks to Sri Lankan airlines for the amazing service!