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10 tips for arriving fresh after a long haul flight to New Zealand

It is almost impossible to avoid a long haul flight if you are flying to New Zealand. We understand that long flights can be a daunting prospect, but they don’t need to be.

We canvassed the team for some long haul flight tips that will make your trip more fun.

If you are a travelling New Zealander, long haul flights are a part of life. New Zealand is located in the southern Pacific Ocean and we need to fly for at least three hours to get anywhere. A trip to Asia or America is a 12 hour experience. So we know our long haul stuff and we’re happy to share.

From North America the only way to divide the trip to New Zealand up is to stop in Hawaii – not a bad option by any means! But that option still leaves you with a 10 hour flight from Hawaii. No need to start considering a few weeks on a cruise, though, taking a few steps can make flying to New Zealand much more enjoyable.

So how do you approach your flight in a way that will have and have you arriving in Aotearoa – Maori for ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’ -- rested and ready to enjoy your time in New Zealand? Here are our long haul flight tips:

Try for an upgrade

Not easy but worth trying for -- a business class seat allowing you to lie flat will help you sleep and arrive in New Zealand refreshed. Arrive in plenty of time to check in, dress tidily and politely ask to be considered for upgrade.

Book your seat in advance

Upgrades can be hard to come by so it always pays think carefully about the sort of seat that will make you most comfortable. Where do you prefer to sit? A long haul across the Pacific is much more manageable stretched across three seats – a fond memory from a transpacific flight experience for me. A window seat will mean you won’t be disturbed every time your row mates need to get up … Put some thought into what will work best for you and get that seat booked before someone else grabs it

Dress for comfort

35000 feet above the Pacific Ocean is not a place for dressing to impress. Loose fitting layers are our recommendation for flexibility and comfort when trying get maximum rest on your flight.

Take a little extra comfort on board

A neck pillow, an eye mask, ear plugs … As above, with clothing, if it will make it easier for you to sleep it is worth considering.

Personal entertainment

Airlines offer all sorts of entertainment these days. Their system might fail or, more likely, fail to provide anything that is quite what you are looking for. Bringing your own entertainment will mean you have something you like to read, watch or listen to when sleep is hard to achieve because you lost track of time between home and Hawaii. Hint: books of the paper and print kind never run out of battery power or malfunction in some obscure way – always a good idea for your cabin bag.

Noise cancelling headphones

Get the full value out of your entertainment and have a way to reduce noise your fellow passengers make with their entertainment or moving around the cabin.

Sleep as much as you can

This is absolutely essential when flying to New Zealand. Not because New Zealand is a particularly tiring place but because we are 16 to 19 hours ahead of your home time zone, if you live in the US. Resist the coffee! The more you sleep the more rested you will arrive. Your normal bedtime routine might not be achievable on a plane but get as close to it as you can.

Compression gear & some exercise

Compression socks will help avoid the discomfort and health ramifications of sitting / lying still for a long time. Whether you go the compression gear way or not, exercising as much as you can on a long flight is always a good idea. Keep those muscles moving.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough but not too much to stay hydrated in flight is up there with getting sleep when it comes to dealing with long haul flights. Take your own water on board rather than rely on cabin crew coming round and drinking little and often. Too much and you’ll be up and down the aisle, which won’t help with the sleep thing.

Get on local time when you arrive

Eat that breakfast / dinner on the plane that doesn’t feel quite right and do everything you to avoid collapsing into bed when you reach your accommodation, unless you arrive in the evening. Take a walk to breathe in some of our lovely clean air. Take it from people who are used to dealing with 12 hour plus time differences. Going to bed at a time that makes sense New Zealand time wise will help immensely when it comes to avoiding jet lag.

Long haul flights are part of the New Zealand experience for anyone visiting from the Northern Hemisphere. Following these tips can help you enjoy the trip and minimise the challenge of adjusting to a very different time zone when flying to New Zealand.