Tips for long-haul flights: Qantas flight attendant reveals the key to recovering from jet lag

Hello, long haul, it's been a long time. In fact, for most Australians, it's been at least 550 days since we've even thought about flying internationally, thanks to our country shutting its borders for all but a small bracket of permitted travel due to COVID-19.  Suitcases have been gathering dust. Wash bags have been forgotten, pushed to the back of the bathroom cupboard. Hawaiian shirts are languishing in wardrobes. And passports? Where the bloody hell are they?

It's a strange set of circumstances for an adventuring people to find themselves in. From the moment air became cheaper than sea travel, whether it was the jaunt up to Bali, or the marathon across to Ol' Blighty, Australians became experts at the long haul flight.

But there's no denying, as our borders reopen, our skills in this department are probably as dusty as our luggage.

So, as we head back to the international terminal, Qantas cabin crew member Travys Carinci has some useful tips for us.

Get organised

It's the top of Carinci's list of things to do. 

The most important thing to remember is to be organised.  While Sydney-based Carinci uses a jog or a brisk walk a few hours before he's due at the airport to go over important details, he recommends the travelling public do a thorough final check the night before of tickets, itineraries and other important documents.

"I recommend carrying hard copies of everything, especially for a passenger who hasn't travelled in two years. Have a hard copy and then, along with your travel partner or whoever you're going with, assess the itinerary and familiarise yourself with it."

Time it right

The 25-year-old also emphasises the importance of timeliness. "Discuss the timings. I'm very particular on timing; in my work life, on-time is late. So always be early. You're going to be busy thinking about the flight and you're going to be too excited. So review everything the night before and be early."

Limit your naps

The first and business class flight attendant says there is no right or wrong way of dealing with jet lag.

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"But what I've come up with is, whether it's a six-hour flight to Jakarta or I've come off a 14-hour Los Angeles leg, whenever I land back into Sydney or wherever I'm going, my trick is I sleep for three hours. I don't care if it's six o'clock in the morning, midday or two o'clock in the afternoon. I always have a three-hour sleep.

"I don't recommend any more than that purely because then you start to go into a deep sleep. And then when you wake up it becomes hard. So after that three-hour nap, you do have to really wake yourself up and then I find that helps me adjust on time zone but it also gets me through the rest of the day. Then, by bed time, I have a good night's sleep in whatever coordinate I'm in."

Stay hydrated

In terms of inflight health, the self-confessed "plane food addict" does not advocate avoiding all the good things offered on the catering trolley, no matter the class of travel. But he does advocate portion control and hydration.

"I drink a lot of water. I try and do a litre every two hours. It's a very dry, cold atmosphere. You really need to stay hydrated." Moving is also important. "There's nothing worse than getting off the plane with swollen ankles because you haven't had that time to walk around during the flight."

And as someone who needs to look fabulous, no matter how arduous the flight, Carinci recommends inflight use of a good hydrating moisturiser and eye cream.

And his final tip?

"Never take travel for granted again."

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