Up In The Air – How To Survive Long Plane Rides: The Complete Green Queen Guide

5 Mins Read

Whilst traveling always conjures up images of exciting new cities and adventure and beautiful sandy beaches, the reality of being cramped in a tiny seat while some stranger is snoring loudly next to you for 12 hours can be jarring. After years of crappy flights, we realized that the secret to being (somewhat) comfortable during that long ride is preparation and organization. Below we share our fool-proof tips, including must-haves to pack in your carry-on, to make your future flying experiences as pleasant as possible. Disclaimer: the above advice is for those of us who sit in the back of the bus. Life in Business Class or dare we dream it, First, is wholly different and our guide may not apply…You have been warned.

Scent Of An Airplane

You know how in magazine interviews celebrities always say they bring candles to hotel rooms so that they can feel at home? Well, whilst we love the sentiment, you can’t show up to board your flight with any kind of flammables. That’s flying 101. But we bring our favorite essential oil and sniff it throughout the plane ride to clear our sinuses, relax our minds and yes, make us feel at home. We love lavender, any kind of mint and jasmine essential oils but go with whatever works for you. There are also some great blended essential oil rollers/roll-ons out there that you can apply to your temples and wrists.

Socks Will Save You

If there’s one gimmicky travel product that we can’t live without, it’s flight socks. Not only do these special stockings protect you against deadly blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, but they are incredibly useful for keeping cankles at bay. Many of us experience uncomfortable and inconvenient swelling (walking out of the plane barefoot because your boots won’t zip up? Yup, it’s happened to us!) in our limbs, especially our legs and feet. These socks are a lifesaver! We got ours at the airport but you can find them all over the internet.


Pillow Fight

For any flight longer than three to four hours, you really do need the neck support that those pillows offer. Yes, they take up a lot of space in your carry-on but nothing’s worth waking up in a new country needing a neck brace.

Holy H2O

There is not such thing as too much hydrating when on an airplane. Bring a metal water bottle and refill it constantly. With the cabin air being so dry, your skin and your brain need water. Make sure to drink loads of it and often- plus it’s good for your circulation and your muscles to get up and refill your bottle every few hours. The only thing is, you can’t always bring actual water onboard, and plane water is hardly Evian. Our secret? We add lemon slices to our bottle at home so that we have delicious tasting water all-flight long. Just having real, fresh fruit makes a huge difference to your wellbeing. Flavour drops are not the same…There’s something about having real fruit in your water that makes it alive.


Grub In The Air

We personally don’t eat airplane food. It just feels like Frankenfood: over-nuked, mushy and tasteless, it is wholly unappetizing. We go through so much trouble to eat well at home so why consume rubbish just because you are flying? It’s worth having a proper meal at the airport if you like the choices. Otherwise, arrive prepared with portable snacks in small portions. What works really well? From our many experiments, your best bets are granola, protein bars, kale chips, trail mix, dried fruits, nuts, wholegrain crackers, nut butters, bananas and apples. All of these are nourishing, keep you full and won’t go stale in a 12 hour period. You really don’t need to eat that much either, just wait until you arrive at your destination to refuel properly and get as much sleep as possible on the flight so your hunger pangs are kept at bay.

What Not To Wear

There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a long plane ride and feeling uncomfortable. What you wear to fly should really be more about fit than fashion. You want to avoid tight clothing as it can feel overly constrictive or anything with too many straps, buckles or belts since your body can expand in the air. Loose and layered is our airplane clothing philosophy. Make sure you have a sweater/sweatshirt/shawl available in case you get cold. We love to wear palazzo pants with an elastic waistbands- jeans or leggings tend to be too uncomfortable at the waist and at the ankles.

tea bags


Airplane tea is pretty horrid- it’s either overly steeped and tinny or lacking strength. On top of that, most airlines don’t have herbal options. Always have a selection packed- they are light and compact and hot water onboard is pretty much unlimited. We also recommend bringing your own mug/thermos/hot cup. Plastic/paper cups are wasteful and make your cuppa taste pretty crap. For convenience, we tend to go with teabags but loose tea can also work if you are very organized and have those handy one serving tea dispensers.

Dry, Dry, Dry

The plane cabin is not ideal for your skin- it can dry you out no matter what you skin type or skin condition. It’s imperative to constantly hydrate. Bring a multi-use moisturizer and focus on your face, neck and hands. Re-apply every few hours. Another extra tip: tissue paper and harsh anti-bacterial wipes can also be very rough and drying on the skin. We recommend having a natural cotton handkerchief on you- it can really come in handy (get it?) whether you need it for a sneeze or a wipe or a cover. It’s saved us many times.


Earphones, Eye Masks & Earplugs

Bring your own people! Firstly, the ones given result in so much wasted plastic and packaging for a one time use! Totally un-eco. Plus, it’s far safer from a hygiene point of view- we have read some nasty stories about plane earphones. Also ladies: those polyester sleep masks are terrible for the sensitive skin around your eyes- you need pure organic cotton or pure silk all the way.

Image credits: Earphones via photopin (license) (lead photo, lemon slicings via photopin (license), teaaaa via photopin (license),  Granola Bar via photopin (license) and IMG_1306 via photopin (license).


  • Sonalie Figueiras

    Serial social entrepreneur Sonalie Figueiras is the founder & editor-in-chief of Green Queen, an award-winning impact media platform advocating for social & environmental change in Hong Kong with a mission to shift consumer behaviour through inspiring & empowering original content. She is also the founder & CEO of SourceGreenPackaging,com, the global wholesale eCom marketplace for sustainable packaging products, Ekowarehouse, the global sourcing platform for certified organic products, with a mission to make safe, quality food accessible & affordable for the whole planet. With over a decade of experience in publishing, digital marketing, organic trade and health & sustainability, she is an eco wellness industry veteran with a keen eye for market trends and a sought-after international speaker and moderator, sharing her expertise on stages across Asia and beyond, including TEDx and Harvard Business School.

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