When I hopped on a plane at 10:30pm New Zealand time and got off it at 5am Honolulu time, I learnt a few things for the future.

Firstly: don’t freak out about sleeping on a plane, at least not too much. I know for a fact I didn’t get a second of sleep on the overnight flight. In reality, you should just be concerned about getting any form of rest – you don’t really have to go to sleep.

I was fortunate enough to be seated in the economy class aisle of the 787 with an empty middle seat. This left me enough room to find three or four different places to rest for 3/4 hours when the cabin lights were dimmed.

In that time, I simply put my headphones and tried to constantly keep my eyes closed. That night, Fleetwood Mac’s brilliant live album ‘The Dance’ and Queen’s early masterpiece, ‘A Night at the Opera’ helped me pass the time. In other words, I wasn’t trying particularly hard to fall asleep.

By the time my family and I got to the superb hotel and spent our first day exploring the beautiful island of Oah’u, I wasn’t overly tired, I was energetic and enthusiastic to have a pretty normal day.

Before leaving, I was particularly nervous about sleeping. I am unfortunately one of those people who can close their eyes and find themselves out for the count. I had never tried to sleep on a plane, and I wasn’t al that sure how it would work with the constant engine noise blaring in my ears.

My sleep wasn’t going to be helped by the cold I had developed in the days before, which meant I was coughing every few minutes or so.

But despite these fears, a few days into the trip I was pretty good. Admittedly, I wasn’t 100 per cent, mainly due to the aforementioned cold. But, as long as there wasn’t too much walking and quite a lot of relaxing, I was still able to enjoy myself without the effects of jet lag.

But sleeping isn’t my only fear with flying. Being cramped in an airplane for eight-and-a-half hours is admittedly claustrophobic. So if you’re looking for a way to pass the time, my recommendation would be to pick way too many movies to watch on your in-flight entertainment system.

On my flight home from Honolulu (which was fortunately during the day!), I wanted to watch so many things: Argo, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Shawshank Redemption, Planet of the Apes, Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory.

With so many things to watch, and not enough time to watch all of them, I wasn’t thinking about the eight hours left in the flight, I was thinking, ‘what should I watch next?’ Funnily enough, this flight passed extremely quickly.

In conclusion, those are my simple tips for dealing with the potential stress of long haul flights. Fortunately for me, it was only eight hours, but there are flights which last 19 hours, such as Auckland to Dubai.

So, what’s your advice for flying? Do you agree? How do you deal with 8+ hours in one little seat potentially cooped up next to people you’ve never met?


Author: Steven Walton

Steven Walton is a 16 year old student currently attending St Andrews College in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was brought up with two older brothers and his big passions are sports (especially motorsport), people and writing. He runs his own motorsport blog, Green Flag F1 (www.greenflagf1.com) and aspires to be a journalist when he is older.

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