What You Need To Know About A Long Flight
The other day I was booking tickets to Singapore (YAY!) and posted a picture of the seat map of the plane on snapchat saying:
“I won’t make the mistake of sitting by the window seat on a long flight ever again.”
I got a lot of replies saying “Why?”
All those replies made me realize, I’m not the only one who didn’t know! Sitting by the window seat on a long flight sucks.
And let me start off by stating that I LOVE the window seat. If I can get the window seat on any flight I would. The clouds and the city lights at night are gorgeous and it’s even better if you’re lucky enough to watch the sunset from way up in the sky! Which is exactly why I was so excited to be by the window on my first ever long flight to Beijing.
But then I regretted it realllll fast.
I regretted it because I hadn’t researched the plane ride that much before leaving. I had been on plenty of planes, how would it be that much different other than it would take longer to get to the destination? Wrong… I was so wrong.
What I didn’t know before going on my first long plane ride:
1) You can’t open your window on the plane.
I got the window seat on the plane for a reason. Like I said… I love looking out the window the entire time I am on a plane. Little did I know that every window on the plane was going to have to be shut because everyone on the plane needed to sleep.
This was something I didn’t realize, especially since it was extremely early in the morning whenever I left. You see, whenever you’re going half way across the world… you’re also crossing multiple time zones. To be able to cope with the time zones when you get off the plane… you need to sleep.
If you are in America going to China at 6 AM, you’ll get there about 13 hours later. That puts you in China at 7PM… in AMERICA’S time zone. You’ll feel like it’s 7PM but in China it’ll actually be closer to 7AM. Instead of you getting tired 3 hours after getting off the flight, you have to sleep in order to feel like it’s a new day whenever you get off the plane.
Now… don’t get me wrong. I guess you aren’t really FORCED to keep your window down. But if you’re the only one with your window up in a dark plane, the sunlight outside is going to be blinding to everyone inside. Plus, you’ll be the asshole of the plane if you keep it open. Choose wisely.
2) They’ll serve your meals out of order.
Since you’ve got to get your body out of your own time zone, that means you’ll be served dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. I guess it’s not really that big of a deal as long as you’re eating. It just surprised me because it’s not something you would automatically assume whenever they pass out your first meal.
I actually didn’t even know I was going to be served two meals. I thought I was only getting one. So that was pretty cool… even though the food kinda sucked real bad.
3) They might not even serve you your food.
Like everyone else…. I fell asleep on the plane. Unlike everyone else… I didn’t wake up when they came around and served the food. Since they didn’t want to wake me up, they skipped me and I was lucky that one of them offered it to me whenever I woke up.
My tip: Tell the people next to you or the flight attendant that you want to be woken up when food comes around. You don’t want to get to your destination in starvation mode. Plus, you want to get your money’s worth, right?
4) You WILL need to go to the bathroom and the line WILL be long
Domestic flights are no big deal. I’ll go the entire plane ride sitting comfortable. But within 5 hours of my 13 hour flight I had to pee. I decided to hold it. It got worse. and worse. and worse. I didn’t want to be mean and wake the people next to me up so I waited until the next meal came whenever they would wake up and then I would go to the bathroom. I held it for HOURS. It was terrible. That is the #1 reason I will never get the window seat on a long flight again.
Oh… and once I got up to pee, it took another 15-20 minutes to even get into the bathroom because the lines were so long. What’s crazy is that the lines were long almost the entire plane ride. Part of me is actually curious if it’s because I was on a plane filled with Chinese people who might not have been accustomed to the American toilet? Who knows… either way, prepare to stand in line.
5) The plane will most likely give you a blanket and pillow
To be honest, there was probably somewhere in my plane reservation that stated I was going to get those items but I was too focused on trying to figure out how to get around China without speaking Chinese to even worry about the plane ride. I’m glad they did though because it was entirely needed. If you get cold easily then you might even want to bring your own blanket too. To begin with, the plane ride is extremely uncomfortable to sleep in so you should at least be warm enough to make the ride a little more bearable.
6) I got more of a culture shock on the plane than I did in China
This probably isn’t normal but it’s definitely true. Going into China, I knew I was going to be surrounded by Chinese people. I wasn’t shocked at that. What I was shocked about was that I was one of what felt like 5 people on the plane that were white.
I just kind of assumed that half the plane would be filled with Chinese people heading back home and half would be filled with Americans going on business. NOPE. Turns out not as many Americans go to China as I would have thought.
Now, in less than a month I will be on an even longer plane ride. This time I got an aisle seat. Let’s hope it’s much better!
What is something you learned on your first overseas plane ride? Tell us in the comments below!
Liked these tips? Check out my tips on: How to Get Around the US for $1