I love flying. But I also love my comfort. And sometimes flying can be…well not so much fun. That’s why I have a bunch of essentials for a long haul flight at the ready when I fly. 

It’s not just that you have to deal with long lines, security checks and delays. The worst part about flying is being crammed into uncomfortable seats for hours on end, sometimes without any entertainment or food options.

You know what I’m talking about – those tiny little TV screens that are broken, no headphones available, and a measly snack bar where the only thing they serve is overpriced coffee and stale pretzels. 

Did I mention, I actually really do love flying?! And international flights in general! But sometimes things just don’t work out the way we’d like them to.

Travelling to a new country, far, far away is exciting. But let’s be honest, long haul flights in economy class are not the nicest or most comfortable.

You take your seat and watch as all the other passengers walk down the aisle towards you. You hope against all hope that they don’t stop to put their carry-on above your head and sit in the empty seat next to you that you wanted to stretch out on. But they always do.

So, unless you can foot the extra cost of upgrading to business class, in order to be comfortable on long haul flights, you’ll want some essential items, without having to travel with too much luggage either.

I’ve got everything you need to make your next flight as comfortable as possible! Whether it’s a short domestic flight or an international journey across multiple time zones I’ve got all of your travel needs covered from head-to-toe.

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Essentials for a long haul flight Pinterest Pin

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In the airport

If a really long flight isn’t daunting enough, you have to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight. Which usually means a very early morning (and I am NOT a morning person).

Book yourself into one of the airport lounges to get some shut eye and sustenance before the flight. Some credit cards offer free lounge access, or you can use your airmiles. If they’re not an option, check the price and pay for it if it’s not too expensive.

It’s especially handy if you have time during a layover as you can use their showers to freshen up before your next flight.

Carry on to fit all your essentials

I have become a bit of a pro when it comes to packing recently. I always manage to stuff a crap load into my carry-on, including my long haul flight survival kit. Rarely am I asked to weigh my carry-on and if I am, it’s always my suitcase. So, I just make sure the heaviest items are in my backpack. Of course, some airlines are a lot stricter so do make sure to check out airline cabin allowances before you travel.

Travel wallet

I absolutely love my travel wallet! There’s nothing worse than getting to the check in counter and struggling to find where you’ve put everything – this travel wallet holds everything! Your money, cards, phone, passport, medical certificates, tickets and a pen. 

Crossbody Bag

I almost always use a crossbody bag when travelling. It’s safer than a clutch or an over the shoulder bag and they can easily be transitioned from a day bag into an evening bag. My top choice is this Travelon Crossbody as it has anti-theft measures, such as anti slash fabric and a cut proof strap. 


When choosing a backpack for, it has to have space for my laptop, as I’m always working on the go. I prefer to take a backpack on board because I can fit all my long-haul flight essentials into it and keep it under the seat in front of me for easy access during the flight. 

Read also: Best Backpack with Detachable Daypack: 11 Best Options 2023

Cabin Sized Case

If I’m travelling on a quick trip and only need carry on luggage, I tend to bring my hard case, But for longer trips, where I already have a case checked in, I tend to bring my soft roller case as a carry-on bag. This way, when I get my checked case from baggage claim, I can put the soft carry-on on top of it for easy maneuvering!

Top tip: If you’re not using all your baggage allowance on your way out, but plan to shop while you’re away, pick one of these handy foldable bags, so you can fill it on the way back!

In order to survive your next international trip, take a look at these13 essentials for long haul flights

Flight Essentials List

#1 Neck Pillow

I have neck issues so a good neck pillow is really important to me. I have this memory foam travel pillow, which has been the best I’ve found over the years and has lasted longer than any other I’ve had too. 

It’s super comfy memory foam and you can wrap it around your neck and clasp it shut so it never slides from under you and lands on the guy behind you…(oops)!

#2 Blanket

I’ve always been a bit of a germaphobe (even before pandemic life!). I once read an article where they interviewed a flight attendant and she said you’d be surprised how often they actually wash blankets (it was not a good surprise).

The Cabeau Fold-n-Go is an inexpensive, soft, comfortable blanket which comes in an equally soft travel case which you can double up and use as a pillow.

If you find you don’t have much space in your carry-on for your blanket, just carry it! They won’t take it off you if you’re going to be wearing it on the flight.

#3 Foot Sling

I can’t tell you how much I love my foot sling! I have short legs which barely touch the ground. This means that there’s a lot of pressure on my thighs during a long haul flight if I can’t move about, especially if there’s someone next to me who believes they should get all the leg room space just because I’m a shorty!

But this foot sling isn’t just recommended for short legged people. Long legged people get to stretch out using it too! The Sleepy Ride foot swing is memory foam, so comfortable for those long haul flights.

#4 Phone Charger

Another one of my essentials for long haul flights is this Anker Power Bank which can be used for either iPhone or Android. You definitely don’t want to be arriving in a new country without a fully charged phone, so a portable charger is a must. 

#5 Snacks

essentials for a long haul flight: snacks

As I’m gluten free, you won’t find me on a flight without a bunch of snacks with me, just in case they don’t have food I can have (I once asked if they had a gluten free option to be told, ‘No, but we have vegetarian if that will do?’)…

But even if you don’t have dietary requirements, I always recommend bringing snacks on a long haul flight. You don’t know when you’re going to be fed and you may end up sleeping through dinner! Try not to bring anything that will melt or get squashed in your bag though.

#6 Slippers

Maybe I’m a little strange to wear my slippers on long haul flights, but if you’re anything like me, you’re not going to be comfortable for a long time wearing shoes on a flight. I always bring my booty slippers to change into to keep me comfortable on long flights. 

#7 Noise Cancelling Headphones

I’m not the kind of person to give a parent dirty looks if a baby is screaming (I mean obviously it’s not their fault!) but that still doesn’t mean that I want to listen to a baby crying for a really long flight.

And I AM the kind of person to give a drunk adult making loads of noise a dirty look, which can get me in trouble, so noise-cancelling headphones are definitely part of my airplane essentials kit!

These Sony headphones are perfect for long haul flights as they have a 30 hour battery life to keep you going all the way from leaving your house to arriving at your hotel.

#8 Collapsible Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle is always a good idea for travelling in general, not just for long flights. As soon as you’re through airport security you can fill your bottle up and, once empty, it pops down to fit into small spaces.

I love this one as you can use it for hot drinks too and it comes in different colours (always a must for me!). 

#9 Compression Socks

If you suffer from poor blood circulation, a pair of compression socks are a must to avoid blood clots/deep vein thrombosis on long haul flights.

Compression socks are not sexy. There’s no two ways about it. But I like these ones as they’re a little more funky than the usual ones you’ll find. They were a life-saver (perhaps literally) after a recent surgery I had, where my doctor told me they were necessary for me to wear.

#10 Hand Sanitiser & Masks

essentials for a long haul flight: hand sanitiser and masks

This has been essential for a few years now, and it may be something that we need to do on flights going forward. 

Some airlines are giving out packs of hand sanitizer and masks, but either way, it’s best to make sure you have a good supply of your own. 

#11 Eye Mask

A sleep mask is essential if you have fellow passengers who asleep with their overhead light on. Sure they can sleep with the light on but not me! These eye masks are super soft and comfortable for any long trip. They’re also blackout, so that annoying neighbour’s overhead light shouldn’t interfere. 

#12 Ear Plugs

I prefer to take off my headphones while sleeping as it’s more comfortable, so I always bring ear plugs whenever I’m on a long flight where I’ll sleep. I also keep them for the hotel I’m staying in, just in case I don’t have a quiet room.

#13 Lip Balm & Eye Drops

Sitting in an airconditioned plane for hours at a time can leave your lips and eyes feeling dry. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, drinking lots of water, but also keep the lip balm and eye drops coming. If you use contact lenses, eye drops are most definitely an essential for a long haul flight.

​#14 A Good Book

You might think you have everything you need to keep you entertained on your long-haul flight, but you never know when delays are going to pop up. Or your TV screen may not work. If you can fit a book into your carry-on luggage, great! If you’re looking for something smaller, or like to take multiple books to read on a trip, you should try using a Kin​dle

#15 Travel Documents

Ok, this might seem a little obvious, but I have known someone who decided to check a bag at boarding and had their passport in that bag! Your travel documents should be kept on you at all times. This includes your passport, IDs, flight details, hotel details, travel insurance documents, and any other important documents. Make sure they are easily accessible in your carry-on bag or purse. It’s also a good idea to have copies of these documents stored electronically, just in case.

#16 First Aid Kit

No one wants to think about getting sick while on a flight, but (as a Spoonie) it’s always better to be prepared. And flight attendants aren’t always able to give out medication when needed. I tend to pack a small first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, pain relievers, stomach medicine, and of course my necessary prescription medications. If you don’t have your own first aid kit, you can buy this little one which is the perfect size for bringing onboard. 

And there you have my absolute essentials for a long haul flight (or even a short one). I hope these tips and products help make your next trip a little easier and more comfortable.

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