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Tips for international flights?

San Antonio, Tx
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28 posts
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Tips for international flights?

This fall I will be taking my first international overnight flight, going from Houston to Paris. What tips do you experienced travelers have for making this a stress-free (ok, as much as possible anyway) and relaxed flight?

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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1. Re: Tips for international flights?

Are you flying with Air France on its service from IAH at 1600, arriving at CDG at 0840? If not, have you booked a connecting flight with another airline or two?

What to expect depends on the airline(s) with which you fly, the cabin in which you travel and to some extent the time of day during which you fly.

An overnight flight will mean that after the plane reaches cruising altitude the cabin crew will make a drinks run then serve a meal. After that it will be lights out for those who'd like to sleep, otherwise it's a matter of watching the IFE to see what's interesting.

The flight is about nine and a half hours; try to get some rest if you can. Do drink plenty of water as it's easy to get dehydrated on a plane, and you'll feel better if you drink when offered.

If your airline offers online check in do use it so you can sort out your seat before getting to the airport. Allow enough time for the check in procedures and for Security, as there are few things less pleasant than having to run like the wind to the gate with a nine hour journey in front of you.

If the idea of being in a seat for nine hours sounds grim, do consider booking an aisle seat so you can get up and walk a bit after meal service. If music helps you relax or sleep and you have an iPod or MP3 player then do ensure you take it along.

Garden Bay, Canada
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for Air Travel, Business Travel
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2. Re: Tips for international flights?

Having flown both the AF and CO flights to Paris (I prefer CO on that particular route) in addition to the above, you should bring decent comfortable ear plugs and a good blindfold/eyemask that doesn't rest on your eyes. If possible, eat before the plane takes off and tr to sleep on the plane (I usually skip the meal on the way over).

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Tips for international flights?

First international flight! And to Paris!

How exciting it must be....

What is there to be stressed about? Get your travel documents in order, make sure you have enough money, do some homework re ground arrangements once you reach Paris. As for the flight, maybe have a drink or two? Bring a good book if you cannot sleep, eye mask, ear plugs in case the airline does not provide them.

Enjoy!

Travelling The World
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for Alghero, Melton Mowbray, Elora
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4. Re: Tips for international flights?

As others said, try to relax as much as possible, and see how you feel when you arrive at stupid o'clock in the morning having had a short night with little or no sleep.

We all react differently, but I expect you will be running on excitement and adrenalin! Me, I can't sleep on planes. So as soon as possible after an overnight flight to Europe, I take a nap. I set my alarm for three hours (basically half an hour for every time zone I have crossed), then try to adjust to normal meal and bedtimes from that evening. But it will always take a day per time zone for your body clock to fully catch up.

On the other hand, you may be like the Cuban colleague who I welcomed to London for the first time last year. She stepped off the plane at Gatwick having had no sleep. I had arranged a place for her to shower and nap, but after a quick shower she said all she wanted to do was visit London, so off we went on a tour that wore me out having had a proper night's sleep! You may feel the same sense of excitement in Paris, but just remember - pace yourself. Taking it easy to start may mean that you feel better able to enjoy the whole of your stay.

Angers
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5. Re: Tips for international flights?

Will someone pick you up at the airport?

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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6. Re: Tips for international flights?

Some people naturally fall asleep on the plane while others stay awake. If you are the kind that sleeps, then consider eating before boarding the plane so you just sleep most of the night away. If you are a light sleeper, having a meal on the plane kills time. Also, bring a book to read or watch some movies. Ask for ear plugs if you don't like cabin noise. I usually sleep with ear plugs and eye shades. Drink some water to keep you hydrated.

Be sure to keep your passport and a pen with you so you can fill out the customs/immigration forms for landing.

Otherwise, nine hours aren't really that longest flights around. There are many longer flights that I have survived through previously.

San Antonio, Texas
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for San Antonio
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7. Re: Tips for international flights?

Some folks sleep easy on the plane other do not. Here's what I usually do (despite the recommendation not to drink adult beverages). Down one bottle of water, next get my mixed drink, then wine with the meal, then my after dinner drink, head break and I am ready for sleeping on the plane. In the morning ,get up and charge on.

San Antonio, Tx
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8. Re: Tips for international flights?

Thanks so much! Now here's the next dumb question - any tips on the most comfortable thing to wear that won't leave you looking like Debra Messing in The Wedding Date at the other end of the flight?

I'm still checking on airlines to decide. My boyfriend has a meeting there and they haven't set the final date yet, but we know it will be sometime in November. And, since that would be right after my birthday, our anniversary, and I can actually (finally) get away from work for a few days we thought it was the perfect time to go together. I'll have about 48 hours there - arrive Friday morning, leave Sunday - and I'll have the days to explore on my own while he's in meetings.

As far as transportation from the airport, we'll be using public transportation of some type, probably a cab, unless someone knows a better option?

I have the Bose earbuds for my iPhone, so I think they'll work for the earplugs, and I can use the iPhone for the entertainment portion, but does anyone have a recommendation for a portable charger that I can use during the flight since I doubt the battery would last the full flight?

Travelling The World
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for Alghero, Melton Mowbray, Elora
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9. Re: Tips for international flights?

> any tips on the most comfortable thing to wear

Nothing? But then you might get arrested! Everything should be loose-fitting, including the most comfortable shoes you have. Don't worry about how you look. You can always change on arrival.

> As far as transportation from the airport, we'll be using public transportation of some type, probably a cab, unless someone knows a better option?

You will be arriving at Charles de Gaulle no doubt, so the RER train will be your cheapest and fastest bet for getting to town.

> does anyone have a recommendation for a portable charger that I can use during the flight since I doubt the battery would last the full flight?

Depending on the airline, you may well be able to charge it at seat, but you may need a special adapter plug. But you will almost certainly also have a seatback TV with entertainment options as well.

San Antonio, Tx
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10. Re: Tips for international flights?

LOL - I'm almost 50, so if I showed up in nothing I would definitely have the flight to myself since I would have scared all the other passengers!

As is obvious, I'm very excited about going. My grandfather was stationed in Europe after the end of WWII for many years, so I grew up hearing all the stories about the wonderful times my mother had in France and Italy during the 1940s and 50s as an art student. I recently found some of the perfumes, etc. she and my grandmother had bought and squirreled away when I started sorting out the house. Including - now this will be frightening - a sealed jar with sugar cubes. Apparently back then sugar cubes were individually wrapped in paper stamped with the logo of the hotel, airline, or restaurant they came from. Now I finally get to start seeing some of the places I've always heard about.

I hadn't heard about the seat plugs for recharging, that's pretty cool. Which airlines have them?