10 Emotional Stages Of A Long Haul Flight
The highs and lows of getting to the other side of the world
14 November 2018
All credits: PA
Dubai is a gateway to the rest of the world. Living in the Middle East has many perks; including great travel routes to destinations across the globe. Yet despite accessible travel, we’re still used to long haul flights.
In fact, as expats we’re more accustomed to them than most. So we’re also familiar with the pain of a long journey!
Not all of us are lucky enough to fly posh –although this doesn’t stop us from trying to get a cheeky upgrade to first class every time we fly –thus, we understand the feelings involved with a long haul economy flight.
The struggle is real.
#1 Early arrivals
Is it three hours you need to be there, you wonder the day before? Or just two? You’re used to the shorter check-in time for a short haul flight, but missing this one would be serious.
Checking in for long haul adds quite a wait to your journey but you want to be there with plenty of time to spare. After all, nobody wants that ‘checking your phone in the taxi’ feeling, watching the minutes tick by as you wonder if you’ll make the flight.
#2 The upgrade hope
Everyone has it at check-in – perhaps this will be the day that you’re told there are too many seats booked in economy and, ‘Would madam mind going in business class?’ You’ve even washed your hair and done your make-up in case it makes a difference.
As they hand you your ‘ordinary’ boarding pass, you’re not too sad – after all, it was always a long shot, and there’s still the duty free to treat yourself.
#3 The hand luggage shuffle
You had it all sorted – miniature toiletries to freshen up, some spare leggings and socks in case you didn’t get that upgrade, podcasts downloaded and a new book.
Then you go to duty free and end up buying some perfume, five magazines and another book, along with a litre of water. Now it’s time to re-pack that hand luggage and hope the zip still does up.
Long haul can have a certain excitement to it – you’re off on an adventure, there will be films to watch, you wonder what the meal options will be. But it’s always tinged with a note of nerves: Will you be sat next to a fidgeter, or crying baby? What if you’re in the middle of a row of four and can’t get out to use the loo when you need to? Will your legs cramp up halfway to the other side of the world?
#5 The joys of settling down in your seat
Even if you’re in economy, there’s a lovely ritual to settling into your seat. Putting your magazine or book into the seat pocket, scanning the pages of the in-flight magazine and putting on those bed socks.
#6 The ‘ok just one more’ drink situ
You read plenty of articles on how to survive a long haul flight – and the resounding piece of advice was to stay hydrated. You look at the bottle of water you bought sitting by your feet as you ask for a beverage, then another beverage with dinner. Hey, you’ve got hours to sleep it off, right?
#7 Should you sleep or stay awake?
Two films and a chicken casserole in, and now your eyelids are starting to droop. Should you sleep? If it’s night time in the place you’ve just left, does that mean you should sleep the same as you would if you were at home?
You ponder this for a while, before your eyes open again a few hours later. Now you’re worried you’ve slept too much and you’ll never sleep again when you get to your destination. Perhaps another drink will help…
#8 The excited read of the guidebook before you land
There’s half an hour to go, so out comes that guide book. You turn the screen in front of you on, to show the video of the path of the plane towards your destination. You might even use that little in-flight bag of toiletries to freshen up before landing.
#9 Doing the jet lag sums
But then you realise it’s nightmare o’clock where you’re landing. Cue some mental arithmetic as you try to work out whether you’ve slept enough, and whether you should try and stay awake for 10 hours once you arrive at your hotel. (Spoiler alert – unlikely!)
#10 Waiting to see if your bag arrived
You rub your eyes at the baggage carousel, and then, like a small miracle, there it is Your suitcase actually made it, which means your holiday or work trip can truly begin. Now for the taxi queue…