The Ultimate Packing List for Long Flights

Long flights are (usually) no fun, especially for the majority of us who can’t afford to fly business (or first class), but where there’s a will there’s a way.

To make your flight as comfortable as possible, a longer journey might mean a longer packing list, but by all means, pick and choose as you please!

Neck Pillow
I don’t usually bother with this for short flights even though I have chronic neck and shoulder pain, because carrying this thing around is actually kind of annoying.


I have never had the habit of using earplugs until I became a flight attendant. We didn’t always get to rest in the crew bunk, so I grabbed some earplugs when I was getting desperate to catch some sleep. Let me tell you, this changed my life. I started wearing earplugs even at home when I have trouble sleeping. I never realized how big of a distraction all the background noises can be!

Eye mask
This goes hand-in-hand with earplugs. If you’ve seen my YouTube video on oversleeping, you’ll know that light affects the quality of sleep m-a-j-o-r-l-y.

Depending on the airline, you might be able to get these for free, but it’s always good to have your own as the free stuff may not be as nice. Mine are from Cathay Pacific and have been through the wash a couple of times, which makes them softer and nicer to wear. The old lady in me packs a backup mask in case I drop one and you can’t have what’s been on the floor touching your eyes now, can you?

Bring your own or again, get the free stuff from the cabin crew. Make sure they’re not too tight-fitting so you’re comfortable as if in bare feet but without having to make contact with the germ-filled aircraft floor nor grossing people out with your toes (please don’t be a disgusting inconsiderate jerk). About the germs – let me assure you that aircraft toilet floors are covered in urine and guess where it ends up after being stuck to the bottom of your shoes? Your seat area.

Because as strong and buff as you are, it gets cold up at 30,000 ft in the sky. Bring one with pockets if possible – for hands or your phone when you’re leaving your seat because it’s your own fault if it gets stolen. For me, it’s usually for bits of tissue I blow my nose on. Just quick note on that – please don’t be gross and stuff your sniffle tissues in the seat pocket. Throw it away yourself or have the decency to put it in a bag so no one else has to touch it.

Comfy pants
Now, this depends on your comfort vs fashion priorities. If you have an extremely comfortable pair of pants that are not embarrassing, please spread the love and tell us where we can buy them.

Weather-permitting, I would just wear my comfy pants to the airport. That wasn’t going to work when I was landing in Toronto where it had just started snowing, so I brought a pair to change into. On shorter flights, I usually just wear my favorite stretchy jeans from Uniqlo.

Face mask
As in those surgical masks. I know, this is a weird one, and in my opinion, not a must.

Airplanes are dry. You sleep, you wake up, and your throat hurts ‘for some reason’. That reason is that IT’S DRY! I’ve always hated wearing face masks (HKers will know the horror of having to wear those during SARS) but finally got over it when I gave it a shot as a cabin crew. Some of us would even double layer it when we go to sleep during a flight. Face masks aren’t meant specifically to help with dry air, but it helps with the cold dry air going straight into our throats when we unattractively sleep with our mouths open. I get really freaked out when I feel like I can’t breathe, so sometimes I pull it down so that it covers only my mouth.

You need something for your face and your hands. The part of you that likes to look good will thank you the day after your trip when you’re not peeling or breaking out. Also, lip balm.

Water bottle
If you’re like me, I almost always try to drink my beverages as quickly as possible if they’re in a cup, because I fidget a lot and cups are prone to spillage. Bottles, on the other hand, means I’ll be sipping throughout the flight. Hydration: check. Disclaimer: I ALWAYS forget this though.

I’m glad to see that a lot of people now remember to brush their teeth on long flights, but please be a dear and keep your sleepy breath minty fresh.

Phone charger
Dead phones are no fun. If I remember correctly, the power outlets at your seat aren’t supplied with electricity at all times, so don’t freak out and complain to the cabin crew right away. Just plug your phone in and give it some time. There’s apparently some sort of ‘queueing’ system and the power will come on when it’s your turn. The aircraft can’t sustain the load of supplying electricity to every single seat throughout the whole flight.

Book/journal (and pens)
Just in case the in-flight entertainment is no good or if you start feeling reflective at 30,000 ft in the sky! Sometimes genius ideas come to mind when you’re stuck in that metal tube with nothing better to do.

For you to stick everything in! You want to keep your eye mask and earplugs clean, so have them in a separate compartment/pocket if possible. Ideally, this pouch has a loop for you to hang it on the back of the bathroom door and is big enough for your phone so you can take it with you when you leave your seat.

What did you think about this list? What’s something you can’t fly without? Leave a comment to let me know.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Strong list. I normally don’t bring a travel pillow, but most of my travel is domestic business travel. But, when I go International, or any flight over 6 hours, I will bring a pillow. Not a fan of the face masks though…I think they make you look silly. LOL. Thanks for sharing this list though!


    1. rachiepn says:

      Yea the pillows can be a pain to carry around for sure, and honestly usually they end up being a snuggle pillow and I use the airplane pillows for my neck. The face masks… I know what you mean, imagine having the face mask AND an eye mask on!


  2. Very good tips! I’ll be travelling next year and will definitely need an eye mask for a long haul flight. Will come back to re-read this again. Thanks x


    1. rachiepn says:

      You’re welcome! Glad it helped 🙂


  3. Mel says:

    Good tips!! I will be going on a very long haul flight and as I’m getting older the neck pillow is a great necessity! I usually wear uniqlo sweat pants for 9+ hour flights coz those legs gotta have circulation man. Also, I’d bring a bottle of hand sanitiser coz you’ll never know.


    1. rachiepn says:

      True on the hand sanitizer! And yes for the sweat pants as well, gotta get up to stretch a bit too, people can get DVT from not doing that.


  4. Laila says:

    The eye mask and earplugs are so useful! Thanks for sharing x


    1. rachiepn says:

      You’re welcome! Yep eye mask and ear plugs are like a hack to being in a vacuum


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