Business Travel 101: Long Flight Comfort

Business Travel 101 is a weekly series about making that first business trip as easy and successful as possible. Packing, security, comfort, and etiquette are all factors that, with a little planning, can contribute to a smooth and efficient trip. If you think of a topic I should include, email me at

While it’s critical to be comfortable on any flight you take, long flights are a special case. Before my trip to Manila earlier this year, I was anxious for weeks about the 26 hours of travel time. I bought all kinds of random stuff that I hoped would make the flight easier for me, but most of it wasn’t necessary. Fancy organizers and seat cushions sound cool, but in the end common sense ruled the day. Of course, getting upgraded didn’t hurt either. The tips below are a compilation of knowledge gained by me, my coworkers, friends, and family, and will help you prepare for that trans-Pac flight.

  • Dress comfortably. This may be the most important thing of all. When I flew to Manila, I wore yoga pants and a long sleeved t-shirt. Maybe not the most fashionable, but I was comfy during all of my 24 hours of flying. If you’re trying to look a little more stylish, try leggings, a tunic or dress, cardigan, and comfy flats. This way you will look great when you get off the plane but feel like you’re wearing PJs. I also highly recommend compression socks. It will make you more comfortable, keep your ankles from swelling, and reduce your risk of deep-vein thrombosis.
  • Bring the things you need to sleep. For me, nothing is more frustrating than being exhausted on a plane and not able to sleep. Plus, sleeping on the plane allows you to wake up refreshed, or at least not zombie like, when you get to your destination. I need a pillow, blanket or pashmina, eyemask, earplugs (or earbuds), and maybe a Tylenol PM. One thing that works for me is to play my White Noise app through my headphones. Puts me right to sleep.
  • Beauty necessities. There are a few toiletry items you can bring that can make the difference between your skin feeling like sandpaper or, well, like skin when you land. I recommend heavy lip balm (I love Burt’s Bees), hydrating mist, facial moisturizer, hand lotion, and of course toothpaste and a toothbrush. Don’t forget that this stuff has to go in a ziplock bag to go through security.
  • Entertain yourself. Please. Whether you enjoy reading, listening to books, watching movies, playing games, knitting, whatever. Bring stuff to entertain you during the flight and during the layovers. Many airplanes have movies, but you may not like what’s showing or feel like watching one. Know yourself, and bring what you need.
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks. Buy a bottle of water at the airport, and have a few snacks on hand such as almonds, bars, trail mix, whatever. This way if the flight attendants haven’t made it to you and you’re about to pass out from hunger, you have something to tide you over.

My long flight packing list is pretty extensive, but when I am stuck on a plane for 14 hours I would rather have too much than too little.



  1. You mentioned Deep Vein Thrombosis and wearing compression socks to help avoid that. Another way to help yourself is to do a few squeezes through your bottom and into your thighs. Squeeze for a slow count to 10 and release. It’s a secret stretch that will help the blood move. Try squeezing one thigh then the other and then walk when you get the chance. Back to the bathroom and stretch your legs. Be sure to stay out of the way of the flight attendants doing their jobs and maybe they’ll join you in stretching too! I’m so glad I found your travel tips.

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