Airline Attendants Share How To Fight The Funk On Long-Haul Flights

It’s easy to feel a bit funky after a long flight. All that recycled air, lack of legroom and those six glasses of wine you downed to fight fear of flying can really take its toll. So who better to hand out tips on staying fresh on a long-haul flight than Air New Zealand flight attendants?

New Zealand is pretty far from anywhere, except maybe Australia, so asked a few attendants who regularly fly the 13 hours between the land where Hobbits roam (in film, natch) and L.A. to share fresh-flying secrets gleaned from hours aboard aircrafts.

1-3: Hydration is so important it gets the first three slots on the list. Guzzling water is good but this also means laying off the booze.

4: Backing off the bread
is a must. Just say no to that second tempting carb loaded roll.

5: Walk it off.
Getting your circulation going by taking a stroll every now and then will go a long way.

6: Watch your breath
, garlic mouth. Toothbrush and mouthwash will make your neighbors happy and help you feel less grody in general.

7: Moisturizing isn’t just for ladies. The air on flights is so dry, you don’t want to exacerbate it by depriving your skin of moisture. Pack some eye cream or pony up for business class and get some in your goody bag.

8: Beauty rest! Do you really need to watch the in-flight movie? Okay, maybe one of them. But getting some shut eye is going to make you look prettier when you land. Just sayin’.

How to Look Good After a Long-Haul Flight [Jaunted]


Edit Your Comment

  1. YokoOhNo says:

    Seat me next to a blond with a new zealand accent and i’ll be fine…if she’s in a bikini I’d better, just saying. and for the families with a crier xanax works, so i’ve heard.

  2. jimmyhl says:

    Airlines could help the cause by letting passengers off the plane if it’s grounded for three hours.

  3. CherieBerry says:

    “Walk it off.” What? Everyone who walks to the restroom or even stands up during a flight is automatically suspect. Can you imagine pacing the aisle a few times?

    • Tim says:

      Add to that obsessively rubbing your hands together (with moisturizer) and brushing your teeth every few minutes … yeah, you look suspicious.

    • wetrat says:

      Have you ever been on a long haul flight? I don’t think I’d like to try holding it for 8 or 10 hours, so I go to the bathroom regularly.

    • abberz3589 says:

      When I flew back from Prague two years ago, a couple of us were walking around and the flight attendants invited us back to their little area so we could stretch, and they gave us some extra snacks. We stayed back there for thirty minutes, and that was the easiest flight I’d ever been on.

      I guess it just depends on which paranoid person is in the air that day.

    • Shmoodog says:

      “automatically suspect” to what? If you don’t get up every hour or two you are opening yourself to Deep Vein Thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition. Not to mention, sitting without getting up for hours at end just isn’t pleasant or good for you.

    • longdvsn says:

      I think the key is to walk to one of the areas near the rear of the plane on the long flights. I often make my way back to the last galley and get some extra water or other beverage – and spend 10 minutes or so stretching back there.

      You probably shouldn’t go pacing back and forth in front of the cockpit door.

      • squirrel says:

        You don’t have to worry about that if you fly coach. You can’t go up there. That’s classist elitism right there. First Class gets everything first:

        First on the plane,
        First off the plane,
        First to get luggage.

        They are also (aside from the cockpit crew) first on the scene of any accident.

        • Jean Naimard says:

          Not for tailstrikes…

          (Back in prop plane times, first class used to be in the back)

        • Bobs says:

          Classist elitism has nothing to do with it. It’s called “getting what you pay for.” No one is forcing you to fly coach.

    • Egat says:

      I’d make an informed guess that have not done much international air travel.

      Getting up and walking is normal for most passengers and is actually encouraged during the pre-flight instructions on some of the more recent flights I’ve taken.

      • Caggeyder says:

        I walked around the plane several times during my nine hour flight from the states to Berlin. We were crammed in like sardines in coach and if I didn’t walk around every several hours or so my muscles would start tightening up. I went to the back of the plane for extra water as well, as the air was very dry.

  4. calico says:

    Beauty rest…. easy for some people to say. I’ve never been able to fall asleep on an airplane and I really don’t understand how people do it.

    • tbax929 says:

      Me either. It makes long flights horrible for me. I’m jealous of people who can sleep on a plane.

    • OSAM says:

      Same. I can sleep in a car or bus or even train, but in an aircraft? no chance in hell. I think it’s the pressurization, but I have no idea really.

    • Splendid says:

      Take an ambien. If you are planning a trip with a 14 hour flight ask you doctor for something to sleep. Once you are settled in and in the air summons the flight attendant and tell her you plan to sleep and please do not wake me up for any meals or beverages or other treats.

      Show her that you have the seat belt fastened (I’ve done so ABOVE the blanket) and thank her for her time. You would need to have a seat by the window so that other aren’t climbing over you.

      Use an eyeshade. Use earplugs. Take the ambien and sleep.

      If the fought is 12 hours you will wake up before the 2nd meal is served. I’ve done this many times. It not as hard as it might seem.

      • calico says:

        I don’t typically have to take flights that long. I live in Florida but all of my family is in Washington, I go to a couple conferences a year (none international yet, but here’s hoping), and I try to fit in some kind of vacation (if I’m lucky… grad student here). The longest flight I usually have to per year is no more than 5.5 hours.

        I have no desire to take sleeping pills, but I’ve done the earplugs/eyeshade/please-don’t-wake-me thing several times with no success, even on a red-eye. I think it has more to do with how uncomfortable the whole process of being in the air is to me. I can sleep on a city bus, but I just can’t sleep on a plane.

        • Brink006 says:

          If you don’t want to take ambien, then you really don’t want to sleep.

          • Kibit says:

            Could be that she doesn’t want to mess with any type of medication or she could possible take a medication that can interact with Ambien. All medications can have side effects and not everyone can or wants to take them.

          • aloria says:

            I can understand it. A lot of people take ambien recreationally because it makes them hallucinate. It also causes some people to sleepwalk. These are probably not things you want to have happen on a plane.

            I also would not want to be passed out on sleeping pills on a plane with my cash, credit cards, laptop, etc. in my carry on for someone to swipe.

            • Brink006 says:

              That’s fine. Outside of ambien, unless you purchase a business class ticket on a plane with lay-flat seats, then you aren’t going to sleep. It’s either take ambien and sleep or don’t take ambien and stay awake. There are two choices, and the commenter picked one.

        • Splendid says:

          you should learn how to “power nap”. its a silly name but it really works. if you just close you eyes and use some earplugs and breath deeply and try to quiet your mind for even ten minutes you will get a lot of rest. do that once an hour during the flight and it will really help you not feel wrung-out by the experience of travel.

          you might miss the snacks or meal (if any) but those aren’t so great on short flights anyhow.

    • longdvsn says:

      Sorry to hear that. I’m usually asleep before we’re in the air. I think it’s the white-noise in the background – it knocks me out. I also always take a window seat and I just lean up against the side.

    • PBallRaven says:

      If that’s your real picture, you don’t need beauty rest. You’re fine. Trust me.

    • aloria says:

      I fall asleep on pretty much any moving vehicle within moments, but it certainly isn’t pleasant. I toss and turn and end up with stiff, sore muscles unless I’m lying down in a bed with a pillow. I’d rather stay up and get some reading done if it were possible.

    • alana0j says:

      I’m the same way, I can’t sleep in a car or on a plane,no matter how long the trip. I have this weird fear that as soon as I fall asleep something will go wrong…so no beauty rest for me!

    • dangermike says:

      ha. I have a hard time not sleeping on flights. I think it’s just such an unstimulating experience that my mind just shuts off. Not to mention that I’m physically too large for virtually every airplane seat ever made so once I’m in, I’m in and I stay until it’s time to disembark. It’s just easier than trying to dislodge myself from the inevitably insufficient seat pitch only to shuffle half stooped down the aisle for a few minutes before wedging myself back in to be pinched and pounded and bruised by any and every hard or sharp surface on the front, back, and sides of the seats. Staying put is just easier and dare I say more dignified.

      I hate flying.

    • 451.6 says:

      For me, it depends on the size of the plane. If I can feel the vibrations of the engine, I can sleep. But that doesn’t work on international flights because the planes are too big. Ha, I remember my trips to and from Japan were always awful, because not only was I awake for the entire 15 hours, I was surrounded by sleeping Japanese people. It was like pouring salt in the wound.

      I’m in awe of the Japanese and their ability to sleep anywhere. But after all my time in Japan, I can fall asleep on the train (standing or seated) and wake up one stop before I have to get off. The flights are still awful, though.

    • TheWillow says:

      I’m 4’10” – I book window seat in a row where someone already has the aisle, hope no one books the middle and stretch out comfortably.

    • ab3i says:

      i fall asleep on every flight, short 1 hour hops to long haul international flights. It helps that i fly so much for work every week that its second nature, but i recommend the following:
      1) Invest a good pair of noise isolating or noise canceling earphones, even if you plug them into the IFE system for takeoff-landing, they help eliminate the noise to a large extent
      2) Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine and soda / sugary beverages
      3) Relax, and be tired enough to fall asleep all the time :)

  5. Azzizzi says:

    I try not to drink too much water on the flight because you don’t know how long before you’re able to take that last bathroom break or how long it will be from there to when you land or when you can get off the plane.

    • moonunitrappa says:

      Exactly, and not only that, if you don’t go at the right time, you could get stuck behind an attendant serving drinks and then they give you guff for not sitting down. I rarely drink on any flight that’s 3 hours or less because I prefer the window seat. It’s just easier to use a saline nose spray if necessary to rehydrate the nose (which does get very dry).

    • TheWillow says:

      I always end up on planes ready to burst, when some 90 year old lady gets up before the fasten seatbelt sign is off and uses the restroom and as soon as she comes back I stand up I get yelled at.

  6. hoi-polloi says:

    So basically every guideline they give runs counter to my strategy of being a low-hassle passenger:

    * Make sure to drink, but try to avoid multiple trips to the bathroom.
    * Avoid carrying crap I’m not likely to need on the flight, like loads of moisturizer I have to have in 3 oz. containers.
    * Don’t do laps up and down the cramped aisle, to the annoyance of fellow passengers and flight attendants.

  7. evilpete says:

    My trick :

    Hand sanitizer is real good at killing underarm body odor

  8. c_c says:

    Something I’ve found that helps w/ funk during long airline trips – wear moisture wicking (non-cotton) undershirt, underwear & socks – I have some Eastbay branded stuff that’s similar to Under Armour but cheaper …

  9. wetrat says:

    Saline nasal spray. It’s usually in a less-than-3oz bottle, and it’s almost better than moisturizing.

  10. majortom1981 says:

    I have seen a couple of things on the discovery channel and its stated the plane does get air from the outside.

    I would say make sure your fan above you is on and pointed towards you. This way you can get the air from outside. I also read this helps you from getting sick.

  11. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Thank you for the tips. I will be flying to Arizona before too long. It’s no 13-hour leg but more than 90 minutes in a plane makes me feel like a zombie. I’ll have to change planes in either Denver or Dallas (haven’t picked yet), which will break it up a bit, but it’s still a long time to sit in a teeny plane seat. I’ll remember to fill my water bottle after TSA and get up a time or two. If I drink enough water, that will take care of itself, ha ha.

    I think I will stretch at the airport between flights. Nothing like full-on yoga, but something quick and easy and unobtrusive.

    • clownsRcreepy says:

      If they are the same price, go with Denver. It is a much nicer airport than Dallas.

      • shockwaver1 says:

        I 2nd Denver – nice airport, good places to eat and relax.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I would much rather go that way. I hate Dallas-Fort Worth and I’ve never been through Denver. I like to see which airports are best. I can fly from my tiny airport to my BF with one transfer. Tiny airports FTW. Security takes literally TWO MINUTES.

        Atlanta is nightmarishly big, O’Hare likewise. Memphis is awesome (very easy to get through). Jacksonville FL wasn’t too bad. Lambert in St. Louis is out. HORRIBLY slow security caused me to miss a flight. Never again, not even for Southwest. I’ll wait to fly them until they come here, or I move.

  12. msky says:

    Her smile is creepy!

  13. mike6545 says:

    What idiot decided to film that interview in the middle of a flight where you can’t hear anything? Couldn’t they have done it before takeoff or after landing? Just saying.

  14. Mcshonky says:

    roll, what named so.

    I haven’t had a roll that I didn’t buy myself before the flight since I don’t know when.

  15. itsjustjane says:

    i temporarily moved to nz and that flight is BRUTAL! i wish i had gotten some kind of pill from the dr. to just pass out for the whole thing. i tried to sleep but kept waking up constantly. though the airline is great, i’ll give them that.

    coming home, i have to fly 12 hours to san fran, sit around for 4 hours, and then fly 5 hours to the east coast and the time i arrive will be five hours after i left nz. i’m going to be destroyed!

  16. Sparkstalker says:

    One more tip – know the layout of the aircraft, and which seats to avoid. There’s nothing like Tokyo to Detroit with the rib of a 747 biting into your shoulder…

    • Powerlurker says:

      Or a 777 from ORD to NRT in the dead center of a 2-5-2 configuration (as opposed to the more common 3-3-3 on 777s).

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        my wife was stuck in that seat when the inflight entertainment system didn’t work and they didn’t dim the lights. I felt so bad for her since she was by herself on a plane full of people who weren’t speaking english and had nothing to do.