Departure, Singapore. Arrival, New York. You’ve just booked a flight for your business assignment that you cannot decline. At 35,000 feet up in the air provided with only 3.7 sqft seating space for the next 19 hours and sharing breathing capacity with another 300 passengers, you’re probably wondering – how bad can this be?
What Really Happens When We’re On The Plane for More Than 10 Hours?
For us that often go for these long business flights, we need no reminder of undergoing through such ordeal. As for the rest who has no clue of what happens to one’s wellbeing during this long period, let us break it down for you:
First, You Are Breathing in High-Risk Cancer Air as your lungs will be filled with harmful, toxic pollutants linked to asthma, chest infections, reproductive problems, and cancer. Essentially, your surrounding cabin can be likened to cities’ traffic-congested roads – only ten times worse.
Then the Jet Lag Kicks In, Only A More Chronic One as you travel across multiple time zones that mess with your stress hormone cortisol responsible for your reaction time. Hence you tend to make decisions, a tad bit slower. The dreaded fatigue will arrive, followed by gastrointestinal problems and affecting your genes related to aging and your body’s immune system.
Be prepared to take at least two weeks for the brain and body to reset to your original sleep-cycles and circadian rhythm.
Feeling Dry? You Are Dehydrated as the surrounding cabin air is 20% lower in humidity and it can get drier than the Sahara desert. The air is so dry that you end up losing moisture faster than you can replace it. For instance, an average female can lose up to 1.6 liters of water and men lose 25% even more. That’s no good news for your throat and your skin.
Next, You Get Headaches or Feel Extremely Sleepy due to lower oxygen altitude as you stay up in the air for several hours. You will struggle to stay awake due to mild hypoxia. If you have heart, asthma or lung problems, be wary if the oxygen drops 4 percent lower – you can have several serious health repercussions.
And Finally, Blood Clot Is Headed Your Way, thanks to the limited legroom available. You don’t have much choice but to sit in confined, tight quarters for hours and possibly, not moving. As fluid collects in your lower leg limbs, your feet and ankles will then swell. This condition is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), resulting from impaired blood circulation that produces less anti-clotting proteins.
Your chances of experiencing DVT is higher if you are overweight, pregnant, on birth control pills, or spend a long time on bed rest.
Smart Travel Essentials To Help You Get Through This
It doesn’t have to be a miserable journey all the way. Although there’s probably only so much you can do but to sit tight till you touch down, there are some ways to help you through it, from head to toe:
No. 1: Wear Earplugs And Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Wear these two together and you’ll be able to block out your chatty neighbors, kids’ yelling or even distracting background noise. You’ll enjoy the comfort of silence to sleep through.
No.2: Don’t Forget Your Eye Mask
Include them in your carry-on so that you can use them to cover your eyes from any light source, be it coming from the windows or your neighbor’s reading lamp.
No. 3: Get Your Own Collapsible Water Bottle
Drink plenty of water before you get on the plane, and continue even when you’re on it. Get those bottles at 1.5L size and fill up it after going through the security, then refill it throughout the flight. Remember – stay hydrated!
No. 4: Wear Comfortable Travel Wraps
Thin blankets from the airline will not cut it. Dress in layers, and if not – get a light sweatshirt with a hood that you can cover your eyes with. Thick scarfs or pillows can also protect you against the frigid cabin air.
No.5: Pack Up A Travel Kit-Size Toiletries
Packing an additional luggage-sized toothbrush and toothpaste won’t hurt, which you can use to freshen up before you land. And to moisturise, moisturise and moisturise. Need we say more?
No. 6: Get Into Your Entertainment Materials ie. Books, Tablets
It doesn’t have to be a dull flight! You will have hours of “me” time – take this opportunity to catch up with your drama series, movies, games or even your reading materials.
No. 7: Charge Up And Bring Your Powerbank
Nothing is more frustrating if you end up having no gadgets to keep you occupied halfway through your journey. There are no power plugs available on the plane, hence remember to juice your gadgets if the battery is running low.
No. 8: Stock Up Your Snacks!
You can’t fully rely on terrible airplane food – sustain yourself with your favorite snacks! Hummus, nuts, apples, cheese sticks, dried fruits, carrot, wholegrain bread, crackers, or meat jerky are some that you can take along with you.
No. 9: Record your business trip with WMS!
No. 10: Prepare Your First Aid Kit!
And now with the impending deadly coronavirus that’s fast spreading to all corners of the world, it’s never too much to prepare adequately. Always keep yourself in good health and state of mind throughout your flight so that you’ll be fresh and ready for what’s coming once you land.