Maximising Your Comfort When You Spend More Time In The Air Than On The Ground

It is one of the most curious double standards of modern life: 12 hours in one’s home with nothing to do is met with sighs of delicious envy, while 12 hours spent on an airplane is met with sympathetic groans.

Why is that?

Personally, I’ve always relished long-haul flights as one of my only chances to truly unplug, escape, and shuck my responsibilities for a day. After all, I can’t be held accountable for anything – I’m on an airplane! (Hey, no one needs to know that the plane does, indeed, have WiFi access. Shhhhhh).

Whether your goal is to relax and recharge like me, or finally catch up on a mountainous workload, your long-haul flight is the perfect opportunity to do both.

Here are 5 ways savvy business travelers are making the most out of long-haul flights:

1. Pack Light

The less you bring, the later you can arrive at the airport. After all, you don’t want to be sitting around for hours when you’re about to get on a long-haul flight. Limit your baggage to a single carry-on, bypass the long luggage lines, and relax in your airline’s business lounge until it’s time to board.

2. Do Nothing

A long-haul flight is the perfect opportunity to do absolutely nothing at all. How often in life is that allowed?

Binge-watch your favourite TV series, devour a delicious novel, or enjoy a cocktail with your fellow long-haul travellers. Before you know it, that 14-hour flight will start to feel like one long, relaxing party-in-the-sky.

3. Work Without Distractions

Without your boss calling, your co-workers emailing, or your clients texting, you’ll finally be able to get some real work done. Take advantage of your long-haul flight and catch up on work without distractions.

A long flight is also a great time to work on passion projects. Edit your podcast, start writing that novel, update your blog, or organize your computer files.

I like to do my taxes on long-haul flights – I start calculating deductions in Abu Dhabi and by the time I land in Chicago, my refund is practically ready!

Keep in mind that if you’re working online from the plane, you may want to avoid checking email (and certainly stay off of Facebook). This is your chance to work distraction-free, and hiding the fact that you’re online will protect you from the distraction of others.

4. Catch Up On Sleep

There’s no shame in using your long-haul flight to catch up on some much-needed sleep. If you’re exhausted from business travel, allow yourself an indulgent amount of zzzz’s. Don’t forget the ear plugs and eye mask!

5. Reward Yourself

Anyone can stand to be stuffed in coach for a few hours, but for a long-haul flight? No thank you!

Many airlines have loyalty programs that reward flyers with upgrades to make long-haul flights more comfortable.

These perks include lounge access, pre-boarding, class upgrades, free meals and drinks, and other freebies that take the sting out of the 16th hour on board.

However you spend your long-haul flight, remember that it’s not wasted time. With a growing number of amenities and technologies, long-haul flights are becoming the savvy business traveller’s new best friend.

What’s your flying style for long-haul flights? Do you prefer to be productive or to relax as much as possible?

Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and the Founder of, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.