It is only in the last few years that I have stopped hating long-haul flights. I think it was the boredom that I found really frustrating. And being so uncomfortable that you can’t possibly fall asleep. I would end up feeling so tired and irritable that even the films available didn’t have a chance of cheering me up. Add in an abysmal meal and that probably explains my hatred.
So what changed? Because in the last few years I’ve come to quite enjoy long-haul flights – which probably isn’t a bad thing, having spent 23 hours on three different flights to travel from Hoi An to Heathrow last year.
Maybe it’s more acceptance than enjoyment. I’ve had to accept that if I want to visit places outside of Europe then I will inevitably have to endure a long flight. However, I don’t think it’s just acceptance.
There’s something quite nice about knowing that there is absolutely nothing you can do for the next 10+ hours. You can read a bit, if you want. You can watch a film, if you want. You can have a nap, if you want. On a flight, particularly a long flight, there is no pressure to be doing anything. You can’t make calls or check e-mails so you have no choice but to relax and do nothing.
Also, flights are fantastic for people watching. On the flight home from Vietnam last year, I was sat at the very back of the plane, near the toilets. Although initially I thought that this was a rubbish place to have been seated, it was actually pretty good. There were always people wandering by and I even spent half-an-hour watching a lady doing yoga. It also allowed for easy toilet trips, which is always a plus.
Not only was the seat location good, but there was a spare seat next to me. I don’t think it gets any better than a spare seat on a long-haul flight. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to stretch out or lie down or just put things in places so you don’t spend the whole journey rifling around under the seat in front. I think that specific flight might have spoiled me. Maybe too much. Future long-haul flights might not live up to my now-increased expectations. So, what about you? Do you love or hate long-haul flights? Any tips for future occasions?