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How to travel long haul like a pro

By Anna Sarjeant ​& Tom Ricketts

Oh boy. You're taking to the skies and you have at least 12 hours to sit in the clouds. This is how seasoned long haul travellers deal with extra long flights.

1. Long haul airlines we recommend - and why

The name alone is synonymous with excellent service and their cabin crew are consistently voted amongst the best in the world. Being a full service airline, meals are included in your ticket. In economy class you’re served up an entree, main and dessert (two options in each category), as well as complimentary soft drinks, beer and wine. Business and First Class passengers have more options for meals and desserts, and are treated to fine spirits and Champagne. Every seat comes with its own TV crammed full of a whopping 2,000 hours of blockbuster movies, TV shows, destination info, news and sports. Wifi is also being rolled out across the fleet so you can keep up to date with your emails and Facebook. They even stream selected sporting events live.

Economy Class: One piece of checked luggage up to 30 kilograms and one piece of carry-on up to 7 kilograms.

Business Class: Checked baggage allowance is one piece at 40 kilograms and one piece of carry-on at 7 kilograms.

First Class: Checked luggage allowance is one piece at 50 kilograms and carry-on is two pieces at 7 kilograms each.

Discover what it’s really like to fly Emirates Business Class. And yes, there really is a window in the bathroom. Imagine that view!

Emirates Business Class

Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines is the flag carrier of Singapore and operates to many cities across the world from their hub at Singapore Changi Airport. A full service airline, all meals and drinks (including alcohol) are included, and special meals are available. They’re known as one of the world’s top airlines for service, and for safety.

Economy Class: One piece of checked luggage up to 30 kilograms and one piece of carry-on up to 7 kilograms.

Business Class: Checked luggage allowance is one piece at 40 kilograms, cabin is two pieces at 7 kilograms each.

First Class: One piece at 40 kilograms, cabin is two pieces at 7 kilograms each.

Singapore Airlines operate two of the world’s longest commercial flights, an 18 hour direct flight from Singapore to Los Angeles, and a 19 hour flight from Singapore to New York. For all long haul flights, once you’re aboard the aircraft, but prior to taking off, the crew come around with scented heated towels; especially good after battling through hot airports.

If you have at least five hours between flights at Changi Airport, you can jump on the airport's free city tour which runs for two hours and takes in locations sights such as the Merlion, Marina Bay, Chinatown and Little India.

Singapore Airline 

Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier and largest airline of Hong Kong, with its premier hub at Hong Kong International Airport. Today the airline operates modern Boeing and Airbus aircraft to nearly 170 destinations in over 40 countries around the world. As a full service flight, all meals and drinks (including alcohol) are included and the airline’s signature noodle soup can be ordered as a snack anytime. Special meals are also available. Cathay has been voted the ‘World’s Best Airline’ by Skytrax more often than any other airline.

Economy Class: One piece of checked luggage up to 23 kilograms and one piece of carry-on up to 7 kilograms.

Business Class: One piece of checked luggage up to 40kg and one piece of carry-on up to 10 kilograms.

First Class: One piece of checked luggage up to 40kg (previously 50kg but was reduced in 2016) and one piece of carry-on up to 15 kilograms.

Cathay Pacific 

2. In flight survival
Four quick n’ easy things to make your flight 100% better.

1. Pack all these things:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste – Because talking to custom officers after a 12 hour flight is especially awkward with furry teeth.
  • Lip balm – Dehydration at 30,000 feet is going to zap all moisture from your usually very luscious JLs. 
  • Hand lotion – As a one off, this extra gloopy mixture of moisture can also be slapped across your face, neck, legs, arms etcetera. Because in the sky, every inch of your skin suffers from altitude dehydration. Take a potent one so you also smell good/better.
  • Face wash – Air conditioning. Clogged pores. Enough said.
  • Ear plugs – Did we mention the pesky night shufflers?
  • Thick socks – Cosy tootsies will help you fall asleep.
  • Hand tissues - For spills, wayward plane food and snotular noses!


2. Take your own headphones
Noise reducing ones if possible. Not only will you cancel the noise of shufflers, snorers and night walkers, you can dismiss the airline’s own head phones which are, how shall we put this, tittering dangerously on the tinny side.


3. Take your charger on board
Free electricity! Also saves you arriving at a foreign (and mind boggling) airport with zilch battery to Google what you need to Google. Most planes have a USB socket to get your juices topped up. 


4. Take an empty water bottle
You dehydrate twice as fast on a plane than you do at land level. So drink twice as much. Fill an empty bottle after customs (many airports provide free drinking water) and sip it throughout the flight.

Click here for ​9 more handy hints and flying tips.

Premium Economy

3. How to sleep on a long haul in three easy steps

1. Make a sleepy playlist
Anything that will serenade you to sleep after dinner service has concluded and you’ve enjoyed your two glasses of sleep-inducing Shiraz. 

2. Get ready for bed
It's tempting to stay in your seat the entire time, but you can trick your brain into thinking it's sleep-oclock by following the same bedtime routine you'd have at home. Brush your teeth and wash your face; change into your PJs and pull on some bed socks.

3. Build a scarf den
Wear a scarf to the airport and you instantly have a second blanket if the air con on your flight’s going full pelt. What’s more, you can build an on-board den. Okay, so you might look ridiculous, but shutting out the light, minimalising noise and maintaining some inner heat will all help you fall asleep quicker.

...Plus you can call it something fun like ‘Flight Fortress’ and name yourself (insert name) The Great. Or not. Whatever.

Sleeping On Plane


4. On arrival tips
Touchdown! So you’ve arrived. Here are a few tips to keep post-flight stress levels at the bare minimum.

Make sure all your devices have juice. You’re going to need Google maps and you might even need to ring, text or get on the internet for accommodation information. Most long haul flights now allow you to charge devices as you fly, via a mains socket or a USB plug-in.  Drink heaps of fluids as soon as you land. As tired as you might feel, try to avoid caffeine and head straight for the water. You'll be dehydrated even if you don't feel it yet. Do everything you can to avoid taking a nap. Sleep now and you’ll be all out of whack for days.

Airport baggage Claim

5. Jet lag cures every traveller should know
They who claim they never suffer from jet lag are either marvels of human creation, or big fat fibbers. For the rest of us mere mortals, with body clocks to throw us askew, here are seven top tips for swerving the lag.



6. Top 3 stopover destinations – and what to do in a day

Emirates Airlines have their stopovers in the most modern ‘man made’ city on the planet – Dubai.

  • Dune Dinner Safari – This is exactly as it sounds – dinner in the dunes on a desert safari.  A true desert experience and not to be missed.
  • 4WD Drive - Fancy your desert with a side serving of adrenaline? 4WD over the sand dunes of the Arabian Desert.
  • City of Merchants Tour – In Dubai there are several different market places selling spices, gold, fabric and metal wear. Take a tour to cover several different options and then go back to your favourite for some more browsing time.
  • Stay in the Al Basha which is close to the huge mall of Emirates; so large it contains an entire indoor ski slope! 
  • On that note, Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square metres of indoor ski area. Consisting of an 85-meter-high indoor mountain with five different slopes. Next to the slopes is a 3,000-square-metre play area for everything from toboggan runs and giant snowballs to playful penguins; it even has an ice cave.
  • The Dubai Mall is the world's largest shopping mall; enough to challenge even the most hardened shopaholic. With 1200 shops, the world’s largest sweet shop "Candylicious", an underwater zoo and the SEGA Republic indoor theme park.
  • Stay at Jumeriah Beach and get closer to the ocean. There are several amazing hotels with pools and beach access on this waterway and in winter is perfect to sit outside on the waterfront for dinner – you can even take a camel ride along the beach at sunset.
  • Wild Wadi Water Park. Down the road from the Palm Jumeirah, is the Wild Wadi Water Park. If ride names like Tantrum Alley, Master Blasters, Juha's Journey, Flood River and Burj Surj don’t convince you, then maybe the five retail outlets or variety of restaurants and cafes are more your scene. You can even go surfing on the Wipeout and Riptide FlowRiders.

Downtown Dubai


  • LeVeL33: Singapore. Sing and pour us a beer. If you’re feeling parched after your long haul, LeVeL33, is a bar located in Singapore’s MBFC Tower 3, and not surprisingly on level 33 (see what they did there?) It claims to be the world's highest urban craft brewery. Housed in Singapore’s super flash Marina Bay Financial Centre, enjoy five craft beers and sweeping views across the glitzy skyline.
  • Haji Lane: Where all the cool kids shop. It’s only a narrow back alley that barely stretches two blocks, but Haji Lane has quickly become a magnet for alternative and retro shopping. With graffiti art reminiscent of Melbourne’s laneways, after the vintage shopping, enjoy a drink at one of the hole-in-the-wall bars.
  • Orchard Road: Here you’ll find all the world’s big brands including all the luxury retailers, as well as many of the department stores that haven’t yet hit our shores. Keep an eye out for local institution Tangs, as well as Japanese department store giants Takashimaya and Isetan, all of which offer unique curios at reasonable prices.
  • Singapore Flyer: When opened in 2008, the Singapore Flyer was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. It’s a feat that even now, only a couple other wheels have surpassed. Located across the harbour from the city, the Flyer’s 28 air conditioned pods offer awesome views across the city skyline.
  • Gardens by the Bay: This 54 hectare park is crammed with themed gardens from around the world, stunning architecturally designed conservatories, and the unique, soaring, 50 metre Supertrees which look like something out of Avatar. Better yet, most of it is free.
  • Raffles Hotel: The historic five star hotel is an oasis in a desert of skyscrapers, and her plush restaurants and bars are the perfect place to rest your feet. Don’t miss Long Bar, where the infamous Singapore Sling was invented in 1915.
  • Chinatown: Head for Smith, Temple, Mosque and Pagoda Streets. All four are lined with stalls selling your usual Chinatown goods and souvenirs, as well as many eateries. Smith Street has been pedestrianised, sheltered, and turned to a proper ‘Eat Street’. Try the Singaporean specialty, chilli cooked crab.

Singapore Garden

Hong Kong

  • Victoria Peak is an oldie but always a goodie. For the best views of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Victoria Harbour, take the seven minute ride on the Peak Tram; 1805 feet above sea level.
  • Visit Peninsula Spa for the ‘Afternoon Tea and Spa’ package. A 90 minute aromatherapy massage followed by afternoon tea in The Lobby.
  • Temple Street night market possesses enough noodle carts and deep fried fish balls to keep you satisfied until sunrise. And if it doesn’t, there’s always yum cha. 
  • The Big Buddha. But of course. We’re not going to deny it’s touristy, but who cares. A 202-ton bronze Buddhist statue is always worth a look. Head to Lantau Island, home of the Tian Tan Buddha.
  • The Star Ferry. We know it’s not original, but you still won’t find better views of the city’s dazzling skyline. Hop on at Central Harbourfront.
  • Time for a drink at the highest bar in the world. In a city of skyscrapers, simply head upwards. Ozone is located on the 118th floor of the ICC, as part of the Ritz Carlton HK.
  • If your stopover lasts a few days or longer, head to Macau. Sixty-five kilometres out of Hong Kong, Macau is HK’s glitzy, racier cousin. Click here for the top 20 Macau things to do.

Hong Kong harbour Boat

7. Top apps for your flight and destination

  • National Geographic World Atlas app: Learn a bit more about your destination while you endure the long haul flight to get you there.
  • Audible: Audio books. Old school, yes, but it makes a nice change when you’ve watched three films already and your eyes are going square.
  • Airport apps: Depending where in the world you’re departing from, download the airport’s app and stay alerted to delays, changes to your gate and final boarding calls.
  • Rome2Rio: Provides all your transport options – train, bus, taxi, Uber and even walking – between any two locations.
  • Currency Converter and the more advanced XE Currency: Money, money, money! Up-to-date exchange rates every time you spend. Particularly good in airports – don’t get caught out by a $30 bag of Hong Kong’s finest pick n’ mix.
  • Flight Stats: Punch in your flight numbers and find out about terminals, gates and heaven forbid, delays!
  • LoungeBuddy: Discover 170 worldwide airport lounges available on a pay-by-use basis. Simply find one at your layover airport and book.
  • Google Translate: You know it. Download the language you need and hover your camera over the text you need translated. You’ll never unknowingly eat tripe again.
  • Wiffinity: Find available WiFi networks and passwords which are continuously updated by the app’s users.
  • Prey Anti Theft: If the worst should happen, this app allows you to locate your mobile, lock it down and trigger an alarm. Plus, it’s completely free to use.
  • MAPS. ME: Maps which work offline. Simply download the maps you’re going to need before you go. 

Travel Apps

Fortunately, when it comes to ​long haul flights, we’re no longer living in the dark ages of air travel; with all of today's mod cons and high-end entertainment, your 12 hour (or longer) flight can be just as exciting as the end journey.


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