How to survive an ultra long-haul flight on your next holiday

SINGAPORE: How does 19 hours on a flight from New York to Sydney sound? Thats the amount of time it will take to watch Titanic almost six times.

Qantas is set to launch the world's longest nonstop flight this weekend. It will be the first of three “ultra long-haul” test flights from the Big Apple to Down Under.

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Singapore Airlines previously held the record for the longest nonstop commercial flight – about 18 hours from Singapore to New York.

If you're planning to travel across the globe for your next vacation, here are some tips to keep you sane.

1. AISLE, MIDDLE OR WINDOW SEAT?

There are (unspoken) rules midair. The passenger on the aisle seat gets the legroom, the passenger in the middle gets most of the armrests, and the one by the window seats gets the luxury of leaning against the wall for a comfortable nap.

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So decide what would make you most at ease throughout the flight – more leg room, support for your arms or a surface to lean on for some sleep. Bear in mind, the first two seats would also require you to move in case someone needs the toilet.

On an ultra long-haul flight, the window seat might be your best option if you want to catch a few winks. Check in ahead of time to guarantee the seat of your choice.

A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from Qantas Airways is seen on the tarmac of LAX Los Angeles airport on May 11, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Daniel Slim)

READ: Qantas to launch world's longest nonstop flight from New York to Sydney

2. PACK SLEEP ACCESSORIES

Now that you have the best seat in the house, you need a good night's sleep. Sleep accessories could help you get a decent rest, ward off an aching neck and make wailing toddlers more bearable.

Pack ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones to ensure you get some peace and quiet. Qantas found in a study of almost 500 passengers travelling longer than nine hours that more than half of long-haul flight passengers use these to aid them in their sleep.

An eye-mask may help as well if you need the dark to get some shuteye. And finally, your neck muscles will thank you for that extra support with a travel neck pillow. With that, sleep tight.

3. HYDRATE, BUT AVOID ALCOHOL

Taking a flight can dehydrate your body so you will need to hydrate – but not with the alcohol variety even if they are free flow inflight. Qantas found that 38 per cent of passengers on long-haul flights drink alcohol to aid them in their sleep.

Specialist sleep researcher Dr Yu Sun Bin, who was part of the Qantas study, said alcohol makes jet lag worse.

“Drinking more than a few glasses of alcohol will make jet lag worse. It might make us fall asleep faster but beyond a certain point, it also disrupts the quality of sleep and causes dehydration,” he said.

So instead of alcohol, hydrate your body with more water than you might normally drink, even if you feel like you dont need it.

READ: How to deal with jet lag when youre on holiday

4. WEAR COMFORTABLE, TOASTY CLOTHES

Imagine sitting in an upright (or slightly inclined position at best) with tight jeans digging into your waist and a thin top thats hardly a match for the glacial cabin settings.

Be comfortable with several loose layers, Skyscanner suggested. This could mean leggings, sweatpants, T-shirts, jumpers, sweaters and perhaps a shawl in case it gets really cold.

READ: Singapore Airlines worlds longest flight: What its like to fly 18 hours in the back of the plane

5. STAVE OFF THE HUNGER WITH SNACKS

There will be a change of time zones with ultra long-haul flights, so your meal timings might become haywire. While you eagerly anticipate the smell of bread rolls wafting through the cabin during meal times, packing a few of your own snacks might be useful as well, Skyscanner said.

The travel website suggests slow-energy release snacks like cereal bars, nuts or dried fruit.

6. GET UP AND MOVE

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