Updated: Jan 8
The rumours are true.
I hopped on my flight from Sydney to Shanghai on a Wednesday evening. I sat in my assigned seat and hoped, as I do every flight, that no one would sit next to me. I waited. As the cabin doors closed excitement fluttered through me. Not only did no one sit beside me but the flight was virtually empty.
Naturally, as one 27 year old does, I scoured up the adjacent 3 seats beside me and made a fort. Consisting of blankets and pillows. I had 4 of each! It was like I set up shop. I probably could have bartered other passengers for my wares and made a decent profit. It was the most perfect flight. A rarity.
Normally, I am on the fullest flights sandwiched between two massive people with a couple of screaming babies two rows in front. Not to mention the a-hole in front of me who decides to recline his seat into my crotch. I have angrily written about the people I hate on planes here. When I book flights I always go for the cheapest so I may find myself on a 34-hour journey to Sydney when a direct flight is 15.5 hours. How do I stay so sane on such long flights when I don’t ever sleep? There are a couple of options.
Drug yourself. Melatonin, Gravol whatever cocktail you need to use to get some zzz’s. Now I have only done this once and if I am being honest it was a bit accidental. I took melatonin and it didn’t work so I took a Gravol as well. I ended up sleeping for maybe 2 hours but I was groggy as hell. Case and point for the months leading up to our trip my friend informed me NOT to get the seafood option on the China Eastern flights since his friend got diarrhea from it. Over and over I heard this warning.
Meal time on the flight:
My friend: Don’t get the seafood. Don’t. Don’t do it.
Flight attendant: Chicken or seafood?
Me in a drug-induced panic: Seafood. FUCK
Now regardless of what people tell you online about the best things to pack on long flights and how to be comfy blah blah. Take it with a grain of salt. You are in a metal tube in the sky, you are not in a Four Seasons Hotel. For me, I always sit on the aisle seat when I can since I drink tones of water and need to get up to pee multiple times. If I get a middle or window seat I am the type of person who sits there bursting but doesn’t want to disturb the sleeping people next to me so I am uncomfortably sweating for an hour before I get enough courage to ask them to move. I stay away from chips and greasy foods because my bowels don’t agree with that at 30 000 ft in the air. I become this tub of gas. Try and go for walks around the plane since getting swollen purple feet is the worst. I don’t tilt my chair back because I am not a dick but I have to admit, I do try and sneak my feet slightly between the seats in front of me just to elevate them for a bit. I don’t do it stupidly and hit the people’s arms in front of me but I just lightly rest them on the edge so I am not a horrible person that flight attendants hate and post pictures of on social media. Bring a little toiletry bag with face wash, a toothbrush and tooth paste along with some hand lotion since plane’s wreck skin. I become a shriveled dry prune. Have an arsenal of entertainment. You may find yourself on a flight without a personal TV or only videos in another language. Let’s be real, it’s uncomfortable no matter what but if you are a champion Netflix binge-watcher you will probably fair okay since you are used to not moving for long periods of time.
Empty Seat Etiquette: A flight attendant informed me once that I need to stay in my assigned seat up until the flight has taken off and the seatbelt sign has been turned off. Then, I am free to move to unoccupied seats.