Quick tips to make your long-haul flight safer and more comfortable

Jul 20, 2019
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Travelling from Australia to almost any other country can be tiresome. Source: Getty Images

One of the few disadvantages of living in Australia is that it’s a long way to nearly every other country and as over-60s are now travelling more than ever. I’ve put together a few tips that should make long distance flights a little safer and more comfortable.

The big danger on long flights is DVT (deep vein thrombosis), or more simply, blood clots, which can be life threatening. They are caused by sitting in the same position for hours and hours, especially if you have had previous blood clots, or recent surgery, or using estrogen. Unfortunately being over 50 also increases the danger. If spending time in hospital isn’t on your travel itinerary, I suggest you take DVT seriously.

If you’re wanting a safer, more comfortable, long-haul flight consider:

  • Wearing comfortable clothing with loose waistbands as well as compression socks to improve blood circulation and reduce the chances of blood settling in the lower legs
  • Avoiding crossing your legs while seated and drink water frequently to minimise dehydration, which can thicken the blood
  • Booking early so you can select an aisle seat which makes it easier to get up and walk around
  • Doing foot, ankle and leg exercises for 3-4 minutes in every hour of the flight.

It’s also recommended that you get up and walk around the plane for a few minutes every couple of hours to stimulate blood circulation.

Don’t take strong sleeping pills to help sleep for most of the flight. It prevents you doing exercises or walking. Short naps are a far safer option.

If you want to reduce your chances of cold or flu, wash your hands frequently or use wet wipes, especially prior to eating. And on the topic of eating, try not to overeat on a long flight (especially when you consider the quality of what the plane might serve you as a meal).

Alcohol on long flights is not a good idea. It can cause dehydration if you over-indulge.

If you’re travelling in economy, it’s a good idea to bring an eye mask and a neck pillow. It might help create a more relaxing experience while you are travelling.

If your flight includes a refuelling stop, take advantage of the opportunity to move. Walk as far as you can around the terminal and do some exercises and stretches.

Finally, when you arrive at your destination, give yourself at least one day to adapt to a new time zone and get over any jet lag you may be experiencing.

If you are interested in your general health and wellbeing, you’ll find lots of helpful information in our book titled How to stay Healthy, Active and Sharp in Retirement. It’s available on our web site at www.retirementbooks.com.au

What tips do you have for anyone flying long distances?

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