Your long haul flight survival kit

The essentials you need to pack in your hand luggage

I’ve just done the MOTHER of long-haul flights: 12 hours from NYC to Abu Dhabi, then 12 hours to Perth.

If you’ve done that flight before, you may be thinking ‘pfft, man up’, but add an hour onto each flight where we were sat on the tarmac waiting to take off, our flight to Perth diverting to Singapore for an emergency landing, sitting on the tarmac for another hour, then being transferred to a hotel for 8 hours, then loaded back onto a plan for a 5 hour flight home, you can see why this was a journey worthy of a J.R.R. Tolkin novel.

However, what did make this trip a bit more bearable was what I had packed in my hand luggage. The sleep depriving, dehydrating and unhygienic flights can be tackled with these items…

Long haul flight survival kit

1. Hand Wipes

I’m going to share some gross facts with you to get us going. According to, here’s how long germs can stay on surfaces in the plane, despite regular cleaning:

  • Seat pocket 8 days
  • Rubber arm rest 7 days
  • Leather seat 7 days
  • Plastic window shade 3 days
  • Plastic tray table 3 days
  • Steel toilet handle 2 days

So take your wipes and clean every surface around you: tray, arm rest, screen and remote, drink holder etc. I did this travelling to and from NYC and for the first time, didn’t get sick after a long flight.

2. Your most hydrating moisturiser

I’ve done a fair few long haul flights and each time I’ve left the plane it looks like every hostess has slapped me on my way out. I emerge with dry, red cheeks no matter how much moisturiser I use. Recently I was introduced to Aviation Hydration, a moisturiser designed for air hostesses to keep their skin hydrated. I applied this twice during each flight and it worked a treat. Aviation Hydration is packed with 16 organic ingredients (including Aloe Vera, Shea nut butter and Jojoba seed oil), has a lovely citrus smell, a good consistency and comes in a hand-luggage friendly size of 25ml. Unfortunately it’s only available in Australia at the mo, so sorry tourists!

3. Hand Sanitiser

Use this before eating and after wiping down your area, for reasons in number 1.

4. Lip Balm

Again, planes are super dehydrating, and the hostesses give you water in thimbles, so get  a god lip balm and apply it regularly. I like Nivea’s Essential Care lip balm (pictured) and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lip Balm. Get it in a stick for extra hygiene.

5. Eye mask

When those windows open during the day, the sunlight gently scolds your eye lids, forcing them to open like ‘WTF?!’  and intensifying the burn. Some airlines like Emirates and Etihad provide eye masks (such babes), but I’m not sure about the others. If you know other airlines that give out eyemasks, let us know in the comment box and you’ll be a babe too.

6. Ear plugs

Babies/children, food trollies, and the plane’s constant drone. Enough said. Except that if you’re flying with Etihad, don’t spend $10 on ear plugs like I did, they give you them for free.

7. Sleeping tablets

No matter how much free alcohol you drink, that plane seat will never be comfortable enough to sleep in (unless you have the sleeping pattern of a sloth). Pop one or two sleeping pills and you may be able to get more than 2 hours sleep!

I hope this survival kit helps you as much as it did me. If you have any tips, share them below!

Black holdall: Kate Hill

Gifted Products: Aviation Hydration

Previous Post
Next Post