05/11/2018 13:57 GMT | Updated 05/11/2018 13:57 GMT

The Secrets Behind Flying Long-Haul - And How To Enjoy Yourself

Because why shouldn't your holiday begin the moment you set foot on the plane?

You’ve spent weeks dreaming about an exotic holiday to Thailand, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Mexico... or some other sun-drenched part of the world. You have visions swirling in your head of yourself, a beach, a novel, a cocktail (and a swoon-worthy Instagram feed of you on your travels). Now your fantasy is about to become reality: all you need is to get through one long-haul flight and paradise is yours to savour.

Of course, if you’re not that into flying, the prospect of being squeezed into a too-small seat for hours, the hassle of trying to fit carry-on bags into overhead luggage storage that doesn’t provide enough room and the unfortunate reality of arriving at your dream destination looking like a character from a cult zombie flick - a side effect of the plane’s poor air quality drying out eyes and skin - can make the plane journey seem less than appealing.

But maybe the long-haul flight isn’t the problem. Perhaps you just haven’t mastered the tricks of the trade yet. Or flown on TUI Airways 787 Dreamliner, which showcases the latest in technical innovation to create a superior customer experience (no wonder TUI passengers give it an impressive 8 out of 10 rating on average). 

So, the first tip is to book onto TUI Airways 787 Dreamliner for your next long-haul adventure. And then make note of the hacks to know that can make the flight almost as much fun as the trip itself. Life’s a journey, not a destination, remember?

Not All Planes Are Created Equal

Some airlines, like TUI, are committed to making the passenger experience enjoyable on their flights and have invested significantly in technological upgrades that can take your flight from basic to brilliant. 

Take TUI Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which 94% of the airline’s passengers rate as good or excellent in terms of in-flight experience. What’s the game changer? Well, there are a few, from 30%-larger-than-your-average-plane windows (the better to see the sky with, of course) and mood lighting (to help your body sync with time changes and mitigate against jet lag) as well as a roomier cabin (over six-feet-high to create a real sense of spaciousness) and larger overhead luggage storage. TUI’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner isn’t made from pure metal like other jets - it’s constructed from advanced composite materials rather than aluminium, making it a more aerodynamic, stronger and lighter aircraft. Which basically means it’s a lot more comfortable to spend the next 12 hours flying in.

Also, your lungs and skin will thank you for choosing a Dreamliner, due to superior in-flight air quality, the result of an innovative purification method which allows for higher humidity. That sensation of dryness which affects skin, throat and eyes (the latter especially irritating for those with contact lenses), and also causes headaches and occasional dizziness? So much less noticeable. The Dreamliner’s cabin pressure also allows more oxygen to get absorbed into your bloodstream. Yes, please.

Smooth Operator 
Turbulence is common on flights, and for nervous fliers a particular dread. Although it’s not dangerous, that doesn’t mean it’s not disruptive, disturbing those on long-haul flights trying to sleep, turning stomachs upside-down and causing motion sickness. Sensors on the 787 are designed to counter its effects, causing certain control surfaces to subtly alter and help maintain a smoother ride.

If you tend to feel travel sick, try to get a seat closer to the front of the plane - they’re usually less bumpy - avoid a heavy meal, don’t drink alcohol on the flight and invest in some Sea-Band acupressure bracelets, which can help combat nausea.

A Less Noisy Ride

As any frequent traveller will attest, noise on a plane is incredibly disruptive, whether it’s a screaming infant, neighbour with terrible taste in music or the whirring of the aircraft during take-off and landing. Noise can contribute to passenger fatigue, so in addition to investing in those noise-cancelling headphones, it’s essential to choose an aircraft with a quieter ride. The Dreamliner includes the use of serrated ‘chevrons’ on the aircraft’s exterior that lowers noise both inside and outside the cabin, in places as much as 60 per cent. Various other improvements to insulation and design further reduce noise, making it much easier for people to relax and to sleep.Time to pull out that silk eye mask.

It’s All About The Essentials

You know the basics of long-haul flying: resist the alcohol cart (it’s tempting short-term, but will dehydrate you and mess with your sleep longer-term), drink water constantly and have some moisturiser handy, along with your toothbrush and toothpaste, so you can look and feel human during the journey and when you land. Yes, flying is even a good excuse to splash out on one of those crazy-but-kind-of-amazing looking foil masks. It’s also important to keep your mind at ease during a flight, whether that’s reading, sketching or watching every episode of your new favourite show on the state-of-the-art seatback TVs on TUI’s Dreamliner (which you can even plug your camera into).

Prepare for temperature fluctuations in the cabin and your new destination with an easy layering outfit. Our new fave long-haul flight hack? We’ll be taking a leaf out of actress Olivia Munn’s book and packing a hot water bottle in our carry-on luggage. It can be used as a muscle relaxant, body warmer and snuggle buddy on the flight. Just get the flight attendant to fill it up with boiling water when they come around with tea.

Kids On A Plane Isn’t As Bad As Snakes On A Plane

Yes, sometimes your dream beach holiday is going to include your kids. And you needn’t despair: travelling with children of all ages on flights can even be enjoyable. We promise. Remember: they’re not dreading the plane, they’re looking forward to it, from the excitement of running through the airport terminals to picking up a pack of sweets in duty-free (yes, in case you’re wondering, a long flight is absolutely the time to let them have sweets in lieu of kale crisps).

Activities are key to keeping young minds stimulated: sticker books, drawing sets and building toys like Lego are all great ways to occupy your little ones - especially if they’re receiving and unwrapping the new pressies on the flight. Forget about your screen time rules and bring every tablet and phone you own, and let them indulge in some TV with the seatback sets on the Dreamliner: a child watching a favourite movie or programme is a happy one.

Snacks are also crucial to survival when flying as a family: keep them varied, and most importantly, keep them coming. Give kids gummy sweets to suck during take-off and landing; babies will (hopefully) be happy with their milk or dummy. Don’t set yourself up to fail: travelling is tricky, with or without kids, so stay calm and try to enjoy the experience rather than worrying about what everyone else is thinking of the alien-monsters you’ve just unleashed onto a 10-hour flight.  

Banishing Jet Lag 

Although the Dreamliner cruises at close to 43,000 feet, the cabin altitude feels more like 6,000 feet – that’s about 2,000 feet lower than most commercial jetliners in operation, and its effects are profound. Altitude, as everyone knows, affects the amount of oxygen the body can absorb, and because the altitude is lower the body receives more oxygen, making it not only healthier but more comfortable, and making you less susceptible to jet lag.

Other ways to stave off the dreaded jet lag? Melatonin is an accepted jet lag relief (science says so), as is gradually shifting your sleep routine before the flight (getting up earlier or later depending on the time zone you’re travelling to) and keeping your body moving. In fact, some claim walking barefoot is the key to staving off jet lag after a flight. Try it and let us know, would you?

As you can see, your long-haul flight can be the first part of your exciting holiday when you step aboard TUI’s 787 Dreamliner, where there’s so much to enjoy on board (including those sweet dreams with all that extra cabin space). Not to mention TUI’s 787 Dreamliner will get you wherever you want to go, from Mexico to Mauritius to Thailand. Bon voyage.

Explore more of what TUI long-haul travel has to offer - including the amazing destinations TUI can fly you to - here.