Flying is one of man’s greatest accomplishments, the airplanes have taken people to the skies and helped broaden the minds who travel and opens opportunities for those that wish to take it.

At the time of this writing May 2017, Qatar airlines had the record for the longest flight between Doha to Auckland New Zealand at a staggering 16 hours 10 minutes! Some people can barely go through 8 hours! Because of my travels to Europe, I had to endure this twice and both times were surprisingly very good. Before going on this flight, the longest flight I’ve ever had to endure was 12 hours and that’s fine. There’s nothing worse than twiddling your thumbs, trying to sleep in the plane but fortunately there are a few tips to survive without coming out like a complete zombie!

  • Manage the time zones

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Depending on your final destination, timezones are going to hop around like bunny rabbits. From Auckland New Zealand, it will feel like you’re going back in time but in reality it’s not. Remember that your body will still be climatized to home, you’re still moving forward and when its 10pm, it will be 5am in the morning – ready for Sunlight again!

My final destination was Warsaw Poland and I had to keep awake for the our next train ride which was going to last another 3 hours!

  • Have a REALLY good shower before going on that plane

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You will be up in the air in an isolated flying box with recycled air. Having a shower beforehand is going to help immensely – for the first 10 hours. After that, your body is going to start metabolising and sweating during the hours that you would be normally sleeping. Having a great shower or bath before this flight, will be a great health investment for yourself and the others around. You don’t want to stink up this plane.

  • Bring ear plugs and noise cancelling head phones

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Thankfully Qatar airways provides you with a small bag with toiletry goodies that has a pair of ear plugs, eye patch, night socks and a toothbrush. These are a great supplementary item that Qatar supplies but sometimes, you might want to bring your own. Noise cancelling head phones help a lot if you’re one that wants to drown out all of the noise on a plane. What I usually do is put in the ear plugs and cover them with the headphones so that way I can shut out most of the noise and try to get some sleep.

  • Bring a travel pillow

    Image credit: Travelmate foam from amazon.com

This can’t be overstated, if you’re travelling business, it’s not such a big deal. However in economy class, the head rests have quite a distance between each other and you’ll find your head stooping down very quickly as you’re about to dose off. Qatar airways do provide pillows however they don’t hold into place. Travel pillows because of their U shape will help with the enduring long flight.

  • Bring your own water bottle

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Dehydration is a big risk and it’s one of the things that is easily overlooked when travelling and can seriously impede on your bodily functions and everything else that you’d want to do once you’ve landed. So staying hydrated is a big must! Bring a water bottle that can hold at least 500ml, its best to sip and keep that thirstiness at bay!

  • Do some stretches on the plane

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Not a full on yoga session although, that would be great to have a yoga class on a plane but for such a long flight, your limbs may feel stiff from all that sitting around. Don’t just move when you need to go to the toilet, rotate your ankles, wrists and head.

  • Choose the aisle seat

    Image credit: www.cbtravel.com

I had to sit in the middle seat of the middle row. It was the worst seat on the plane and I had to do this for 16 hours! Thankfully my neighbours were polite and didn’t snore! However given a choice again, I would pick the aisle seat for such a long haul. Having quick access to the toilet and being able to stretch is a great way to ease some stiffness.

  • You don’t need to bring your own snacks

Qatar airways is constantly feeding you with snacks, sandwiches and they provide two main meals on the flight. The meals are actually quite substantial and filling.

  • You will be entertained

The flight is loaded with new and award winning movies. The guy sitting next to me watched the entire Lord of the Rings on the plane. He tells me that it’s his 5th time watching those movies and he never gets sick of it. However its still best to bring your own book and videos for anything else. They have an assortment of foreign movies as well if you’re curious to check something out that isn’t mainstream.

  • It’s a great way for some alone time

You can do a lot in 16 hours, I managed to write a speech and watch some foreign movies that I would never otherwise watch and it made for a great way to gather my thoughts and mentally prepare myself for the new destination.

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