Almost everyone loves traveling: exploring new areas and seeing exotic places. However, most of the time in order to get to these amazing new places, we must take an airplane. It’s still the quickest and most efficient way to travel. But flights can be long, uncomfortable, and expensive. How do you know which is the best flight, airline, and deal?

Major Differences Between Long and Short Flights

A short flight is one that is 3 hours or less in the air while long-haul flights from for 6-12 hours. Anything beyond that would be considered an ultra-long flight and buckle up for some serious hours strapped down to a small seat with very little moving room.

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This general definition can be used for most flights and airlines, however, some airlines do have their own terminology and lengths to determine what is a long and short flight. For example, Virgin Australia considers flights within Australia to be ‘domestic’, flights to New Zealand ‘Trans-Tasman’, and the Pacific Islands or Southeast Asia to be ‘international short-haul. It’s not until you get to Hong Kong or Los Angeles that it considers flights to be ‘international long-haul.’ This is mostly because it is an island and its general location to the surrounding bodies of land.

Related: 10 Tips For Surviving Long-Haul Flights In Economy Seating

Unless you truly love and fantasize about sitting in small, confined spaces, with no personal space from the strangers next to you and limited food options, you probably don’t relish the idea of taking long flights. As airlines continue to shrink legroom space and seat sizes, many travelers have complained about the discomfort of plane rides - the longer the ride the worse it is. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Follow these helpful tips and learn to make even the longest flights more enjoyable.

  1. Though it may cost more, try to bring only one carry-on item on a plane and check everything else. There’s limited space in the overhead compartments. More often than not, if you bring more than one bag it’ll end up at your feet, further limiting your legroom and small space.
  2. Block out the noise by either bringing your own headphones or investing in noise-canceling headphones. One of the biggest issues on a flight is the noise from other passengers. Often, even if everyone on the flight is being respectful and quiet, it’s difficult not to hear people talking and moving around since it’s such a small space. However, most airlines offer in-flight moving and music choices, be prepared for your own headphones, or if you choose to nap and sleep away the flight consider noise-canceling headphones.
  3. Hydrate and bring your own snacks! While most airports will no longer let you bring your own drinks through the TSA checkpoints, they have no objection to snacks or other packed foods. Most airlines do offer snacks and drinks on the flights, but they are limited and often need to be purchased. Save money and ease your hunger pains by packing and preparing ahead of time!
  4. Try not to sleep while the plane is taking off or landing - the airs are not fully prepared to handle the change of pressure and this can be more impactful while you are asleep. Also because there are often several announcements and times when the flight attendants need to be checking on you. It’ll be difficult to fall asleep comfortably during those consistent interruptions. Consider investing in some earbuds to help you nap for the rest of the airtime.
  5. Bring layers and extra socks! While blankets used to be complementary for flights, they are no longer on most airlines. But the temperature can still be a little too cold to be comfortable. Consider packing extra jackets and socks to make sure to keep comfortable and warm while on the flight. If you know you tend to get colder or plan to sleep, consider also a blanket and a neck pillow. Both of these items can usually be found at a number of little shops in the airport.

Every airline out there will claim to have the best deals as well as the most comfortable seats. But deciding which ones are really the best and the best ones for your trip can be tricky. Unless you plan to upgrade to business class or first class on flights for the extra comfort and amenities consider one of these five choices.

  1. JetBlue (wider seats, seat back screens, WiFi, and available power outlets)
  2. Emirates (perfect for longer flights - this offers more comfortable space as well as all the electronic desires)
  3. Delta Airlines (check out Comfort + and the options for extra space without the hassle and expense of upgrading)
  4. Hawaiian Airlines (one of the few airlines to still offer delicious and free food during the flights)
  5. Alaska Airlines (comfortable space and options for watching your own videos or playing games on your own devices)

Always remember airlines are looking to keep your business. Don’t be afraid to ask for anything they might offer to help make your flight more enjoyable. Safe travels!