Last updated on August 2nd, 2020
Most people new to flying and international travel start off with a shorter itinerary through the skies. Me? My first international flight itinerary, including layovers, lasted over 24 hours! Could this be the longest flight in the world?
Preparing for What I Thought May Be the Longest Flight in the World
As I prepared for my study abroad trip overseas back in 2013, I went through the usual checklist.
Pre-Trip Checklist for the Longest Flight in the World
- Airline Tickets, Hotels, & Car Rentals – If you are not traveling via a study abroad trip, the first thing you must do is book your flight, hotel, & car rental. I recommend using Travelocity.
- Luggage – Since I always traveled by car prior to my international explorations, I never really had any use for a bunch of heavy duty suitcases. However, with my impending trip to Taiwan, I needed to invest in quality luggage. I have had great luck with various brands over the years, but one I recommend most is Samsonite.
- Laptop – People have their own favorite brands of laptops, and I have tested a few different ones out myself. The ones that seem to always be more reliable for me & last longer are HP. I am very happy with & recommend this particular HP.
- Camera – Phones are great additional tools to use for photos & videos. However, if you are looking to upgrade your travel memories to share with your friends, family, or even just reminisce, I suggest getting a digital camera. Here is the one I use. I definitely prefer Sony and really enjoy the Sony Alpha mirrorless series; even some of the older versions are great, such as the a6400 and a6000. If you prefer the more heavy duty DSLR type of camera, then I recommend going with either a Canon or Nikon.
- Backpack – I used to be a fan of Nike backpacks, but the ones I had were more for style & to showcase the brand than actual quality. I have since opted for ultimate convenience. This backpack is absolutely fantastic and is my favorite one I have ever owned. Not only is it waterproof, but it has a slot for your laptop inside, plenty of space for other items, a charging port for your phone, a side pocket to safely store your camera, a pocket in front to store additional items, and a slot on the side to store your water bottle. Do yourself a favor; if you need a backpack, get this!
- Shoes – A comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must when traveling!
- Warm Weather Clothes – While I do wear blue jeans & various colors of casual shorts, a must-bring on any trip for me is Nike basketball shorts.
- Guidebook – It is always handy to have a guidebook on hand for the place you are visiting. Whether you want to know more about the history, recommendations for hotels & restaurants, or information about tours, you can find the right one for you here.
- Travel Insurance – When going out of the country, I highly recommend protecting yourself with travel insurance with Travelex. In light of the recent pandemic, it is more important than ever.
New to Flying
Outside of a round-trip flight from Nashville, Tennessee to to Ontario, California when I was 14, I was a complete novice when it came to flying. Suffice it to say I had no idea what to expect on such a long journey; the longest leg of the flight was supposed to be approximately 16 hours.
How exactly can you prepare for taking possibly the longest flight in the world? What is it like to be up in the air for so long? Is it easier to sleep on longer flights?
The answers to the above questions come with travel experience. The more you fly, the more you get used to airplane food, lack of sleep, and constantly getting hit in the elbow by the drink cart.
Flying to the Other Side of the World for the First Time
Looking back 7 years ago to my first trip from America to Taiwan, I can still remember my sense of excitement as i headed to the airport. The anticipation ramped up even further once I got past security and saw my fellow study abroad participants in the waiting area by the gate.
All that stood between me and my destination was a series of flights along with layovers in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Tokyo-Narita, Japan.
Is It Really the Longest Flight in the World?
In terms of mileage, no, this is not the world’s longest flight. But can you really tell the difference whether you are in the air for 16 or 18 hours? In my experience, no.
I have been on many of the world’s longest flights, and for me, these become much more manageable when you break them down into segments.
After I get settled in my seat, I wait for the announcements to finish before browsing the flight’s movie selection. For those who don’t know, the vast majority of international flights provide you with individual screens on the back of the chair in front of you. I always begin every long flight with a movie marathon; it never fails to help pass the time.
2. Meal #1
Before you know it, flight attendants bring along your first meal of the flight. The type of cuisine typically varies by region, but they usually carry a local dish and something for less adventurous eaters. However, plane food is really a hit-or-miss if you aren’t flying business or first class.
3. More Movies
Following the first meal, I typically like to start another movie; this is sometimes interrupted by an hour-nap, which I always welcome. After my short nap, I finish whatever movie I started and continue busting through the rest of the movies I’m interested in one-by-one.
4. Meal #2
Then comes the familiar sight of flight attendants passing out the second meal of the flight. If it’s “dinner,” I usually get a glass of red wine to go along with my meal. However, when you’re flying across the world, there’s no right or wrong time to drink. Just be sure to not have too much; a hangover in the air is certainly not fun, and your neighbor would very much appreciate not being puked on.
5. 2-3 Hours of Broken Sleep
After the second meal, I usually am able to settle into a decent sleep. However, it never lasts for more than 2 or 3 hours. Sometimes, I am awoken by drink carts smashing into my elbow, a neighbor needing to use the lavatory (totally understandable, by the way), or turbulence. No matter how many miles I accumulate in the air, sleep is never easy for me. If I were staying in business or first class, that may be a different story as it looks extremely comfortable (depending on the airline).
6. Final Meal
After I wake up from my small amount of sleep, I usually am in a state of drowsiness for a bit. My mind is wired to know the final meal of the flight will be passed out soon. Sure enough, not long after the thought enters my mind, the flight attendants come bustling through with smiles on their faces and food in hand.
7. The Waiting Game Truly Makes It Feel Like the Longest Flight in the World
The time between the final meal and when you land at your destination is by far the longest part of the flight for me. There typically isn’t enough time to watch an entire movie; plus, your ears are pretty exhausted by this point, anyway. I usually try to close my eyes & relax for a bit, but my legs are often cramped. So, to combat this, I sometimes get up & move around the cabin to stretch my legs.
Eventually, the moment you’ve been waiting on for over 24 hours arrives, and you finally get to deplane. Countless times I have walked through airports such as Taoyuan International in a complete zombie state. By this point, I am basically just going through the motions of putting one foot in front of the other while trying to keep my eyes open. However, you soon find your battle with jetlag has only just begun.
What Is Your Most Memorable Flying Experience?
We would love to hear about some memorable flying experiences you may have had over the years. In addition, tell us about the longest flight you’ve been on.
As always, please feel free to leave comments/questions as I will be reading each & every one of them and responding. If you want to know something, ask away! Do not hesitate to contact us if you need anything at all or would like to chat! Please hit those follow, share, & like buttons; just don’t eat the apple. Until next time, stay traveling (safely)!
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29 commentsAdd Yours
Nice travelling blog 😁😁😁 thanks for visiting my blog too…
Thank you! I’m glad you like it! And of course; I enjoy reading others’ journies as well.
I am not a fan of flying and get super bored quickly. The longest flight would not be a good day for me!!!! And I am like you-I cannot sleep well on planes.
I completely understand where you’re coming from! They do get exhausting, and it typically takes a few days or longer to recover from jetlag.
Long flights sound a bit stressful !! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
They certainly can be, but youndo get used to them to a certain extent. Binge-watching movies is how I get by most of them! lol
I really struggle with long flights, my body will start to hurt and that’s hard. This is definitely really helpful though!
I feel your pain! My legs get to aching after awhile; it’s important to get the blood recirculating, so every couple of hours, you should get up & walk around.
For extra leg space, I always try to get exit rows, and if unavailable, I sometimes pay a few extra bucks for economy+.
I do not have the patience for long wait, especially if I have nothing to do. i hope I can adjust when it is time for me to travel international
I completely understand your feelings there! For me, it is so easy for my legs to feel restless after sitting for long periods of time in a cramped-up space. I like to get up & walk around to stretch my legs every once in awhile.
The long itineraries get a bit easier the more you do them. And if you can afford to do business or first class, it’s such a better experience. I myself typically fly economy or economy+ as I don’t currently have the funds for the others. Haha
I haven’t been to Taiwan. But yeah I had been to other countries. I dont exactly like flights because I get bored. There are many things to do like I carry books, then movie section u said. I am not much of a talker so I avoid people. My most memorable journey was to Italy in 2018.
I have met some pretty cool people as seatmates before, which certainly has helped pass the time more easily in those cases!
But ordinarily, it’s a movie marathon for me. I have tried reading, but to do so, I need the reading light on; I don’t mind when others have their lights on, but I do worry about bothering others when I have mine on.
Also, I went to Italy in 2017; I absolutely loved it! And the flight didn’t seem too bad (I guess I’m too used to my treks to Asia lol).
This trip sounds really very interesting and amazing..glad you shared your experience..this is awesome..great work though…
Thank you, Sir! And yeah, traveling across the world is always an interesting experience. If/When you experience significant delays due to weather/mechanical issues, a 24-hour trek can easily turn into 40!
Wow. I can’t imagine taking a flight this long! But it sounds like the perfect check list!
Thank you, I’m glad you found it helpful! But yes, this itinerary has become the norm for me over the years with how I have frequented southeast Asia. It certainly takes getting used to.
I never feel very comfortable when flying – I am actually a bit anxious always but it is so much faster by plain than by other means of transport 🙂
I’m glad you have been able to manage your anxiety levels! And you’re right; sometimes, there is no choice really but to fly if you want to go somewhere in a short period of time.
24 HOURS sounds excruciating. My longest flight was possibly 12 hours from Cape Town to London. I used to be able to sleep on long haul flights, now I find myself watching movies or missed episodes of my favorite tv shows to pass the time.
Oh it certainly can be! There are times where you just sit there and look at the timer on the screen saying, “go faster!” Lol
But yes, watching movies/shows is a great way to pass the time for sure.
I don’t mind flying, what I don’t like is the broken sleep. It literally makes me more tired.
You’re not wrong! Even though I may have 2-3 hours over the course of the 24-26 hour itinerary, it feels as if I haven’t slept a wink.
Long flights can be really taxing and yours sounds like it was really long – is the same from the UK to Australia or if I wanted to fly cheaply back to my home in Cape Town from South Africa it could take 30+hours with stops! Great tips for long flights
I have had a 30+ hour itinerary before, and that is definitely NOT fun! Lol between delays and extended layovers, I was a complete zombie upon arrival at my final destination.
Enjoying your posts, Wanted you to know cos the like button does not always load on my PC
Thank you; I’m glad you’re enjoying them!
I don’t think I could go 16 hours on a plane. The furthest I have gone is Ohio to Hawaii.
It certainly takes getting used to, that’s for sure!