Transatlantic flights aren’t exactly the most fun part of your holiday to America or Canada. In fact, unless you’re flying in one of the premium cabins, they can be rather tedious and uncomfortable. Fear not, however, for this handy guide will tell you what to pack for a transatlantic flight to make the journey much more pleasurable. It might even be as good as flying first class! Well, almost.
We cannot stress enough how essential these are to pack if you want to listen to music or watch movies on the flight. Yes, you are likely to be offered some by your friendly flight attendant, but whether they’re actually any good or not is an entirely different matter. At least with your own earphones, you know that both speakers work, they’re comfortable and they can be relied on. There’s nothing worse than settling down to watch an in-flight movie to discover that sound only comes to one ear – after 11 hours, it’ll drive you crazy.
This is probably one of the things that you’ll appreciate the most, especially towards the end of your flight. A toiletry kit should include a toothbrush and toothpaste, face wipes, moisturiser, eye drops and a hair tie if you have long hair. The air pressure in the cabin can dry out the face and body, so the face wipes will keep your skin clean and allow you to reapply your makeup before you land if you wish. Moisturiser and eye drops will keep your skin hydrated and freshen you up, while a quick brush of the teeth will instantly make you feel better. Finally, if you want a nap mid-flight, use the hair tie to pull your hair out of your face – it’ll be a godsend.
Book or magazines
These might be heavy and weigh down your bag, but if you get into a good book, the time will literally fly by. If you’re heading on a beach holiday, pick a nice, summery read to get you in the mood while you’re on the flight. By the time you land, you’ll be bouncing with excitement to start your holiday.
If you are worried about lugging a heavy bag to the airport and through security, leave your books at home and pick up a couple in duty free instead. You can often find best sellers and a great magazine selection in the newsagents. Once the magazines have been read, you can just leave them on the plane and keep your bag as light as possible.
Like the earphones, you might be offered one of these by the flight attendant but it won’t be anywhere near as good as you want it to be. These scratchy, little square cushions aren’t a patch on the soft, foamy beans of trusted travel pillows that mould to your neck. Invest in one of these and your transatlantic flight will pass much more smoothly.
Long haul flights will have attendants bringing round a snacks and meal trolley, as well as a drinks trolley, but plan your food and drink intake carefully. Aeroplane food is often quite stodgy and carb-heavy so buy some light snacks in duty free before you board if you want to prevent that bloated, lethargic feeling. If you suffer with travel sickness or your ears pop during the flight, pack a few lollipops and hard boiled sweets to suck on – they’ll help to stop the pain and give you a distraction as well. One word of caution though – whilst taking fruit or vegetables onto the flight is fine, US Customs won’t be happy about you taking your leftovers into the United States.
Keep drinking plenty of water throughout the journey and try to avoid alcohol. While it might be tempting to have a glass of wine to help relax you – particularly if you’re nervous – it will just leave you feeling more dehydrated and you’ll probably end up landing with a hangover.
You’ve already got your earphones and you’re ready to make the most out of the in-flight entertainment. Of course, when you turn on your TV screen, you have one of the dodgy ones that doesn’t work properly, throwing all of your plans out of the cabin door. This is where your iPod, mobile phone or tablet will come in handy, particularly if you have already uploaded a couple of movies onto it beforehand. Just make sure it’s in flight mode, plug your earphones in and off you go. You’ll probably find yourself getting distracted by all the games on your gadgets as well, helping the flight time to go by in a breeze. It is important to note, however, that if you are connecting to another flight when you land, it is ESSENTIAL that you dont drain your electronic devices to the point they won’t boot up – you may be asked to power them up at security and you could be denied boarding if they refuse to turn on.
Pick something that’s comfortable to carry around and roomy enough to sling a few extras into – you never know what you might end up buying in duty free. Try to pick a bag that has a zip and buckles to keep it a bit more secure when it’s in the overhead storage and avoid everything falling out all over the place. Put your passport and ticket in a safe, sealed pocket then sit back and enjoy the flight. You’ll be starting your perfect USA holiday before you know it.