1. Jersey: The aircon can be bloody freezing sometimes and the blankets are made for tiny Asian women. You can always ask for a second blanket though, they’re usually happy to give you one.
2. Water: Some airlines, Emirates for example, hand you a flimsy plastic cup of water from the bar service. Serves its purpose if you are happy to down it in one go but doesn’t work for me, who likes to take little slips throughout the journey. So I take a bottle of water with me, bought once I’m through security and hanging aimlessly around my boarding gate.
3. Snacks: Airplane food has improved in leaps and bounds. But it’s no Hudsons burger. I always take a little snack on the plane with me in case the food is inedible or, as is often the case, I get hungry somewhere during the six hours between my lukewarm dinner and my rubbery breakfast. Normally I take a little packet of biscuits or crackers, the small servings (think Tuc or Oreos or those mini Tennis biscuits).
4. Moisturiser: The air on an airplane is very dry and I feel it particularly in my hands and lips. I carry one of those mini tubs of Nivea or Vaseline with me and use it regularly during the trip.
5. Clean shirt: You’ll thank me when the guy in front of you suddenly drops his seat back as you’re lifting that last mouthful of beef stew up to your face. Or when you throw up, unexpectedly. Ask my mom.
6. Pantyliners: Seriously. Nothing helps you feel fresh like clean underwear after a 10 hour flight.
7. Dry shampoo: In the same vein as above, dirty hair is an unhappy Kirst. The trip here took us 25 houra, door to door, in constant airconditioned, overcrowded environments. The littlest things go a long way in improving your general hygiene and happiness.
8. Light hand luggage: Why are you bringing that book? Every airline has enough movies and TV series on your own little personal screen to keep you occupied for hours. Most airports have free WiFi, or at the very least cheap internet access. And if your layover is less than three hours you’re barely going to have time to buy a cup of coffee. Your hand luggage may feel light at home, but dragging that thing around for 25 hours is exhausting. Bring the bare essentials, no more.