A flight attendant's secret tips on how to master long-haul flights

Step off the plane refreshed and ready to go.

Anyone that's been on a long flight can attest to feeling tired, drab and not that glam when stepping off the plane into a new time-zone. While a first class ticket can solve a lot of these issues, it's not a reality for most of us.

However, United Airlines flight attendant Lisa Jakubowski is no stranger to long flights and has a few tricks up her sleeve to help us normal folk arrive at our destination feeling fresh and ready to dive into any itinerary.


While travelling a long distance in low humidity, your body can get very dehydrated and lose a lot of water. To stay hydrated, Lisa recommends sipping on one glass of water per hour and laying off the alcohol the day before take-off. 

Choose neutrals

Most of us won't think about wearing certain colours to help our flight experience, but Lisa has one fail-safe tip that will help in the long-run: "Grey is the ideal neutral for travelling," she says. "Most people will use a blanket for long-haul journeys which leaves lint on some materials, however, grey doesn't show lint so you won't notice it."

Remove the stress

Whether you're a nervous flyer or just like being informed, it's worth downloading the airline app to keep track of all your journey's information. As Lisa explains, "The United app lets you check in for flights, view real time updates, see what amenities are on your flights, and shows the United Clubs near you. You’ll know as much as the crew does!"

Twist it up

"If you’ve got long hair, sweep or clip it off your face for travel," Lisa says. "Hair can easily get knotty while in contact with the seat for multiple hours." Her suggestion? "My personal favorite travel style is a French twist. As soon as you land, undo the twist and your hair will still be smooth while also looking and smelling fresh."

Keep it fresh

Clothes can smell a bit stale after a long flight, so to help you feel refreshed, Lisa reccommends one simple trick: "Pack a crisp, white shirt in a dry-cleaning bag and lay it over your suitcase in the overhead compartment," she says. "As soon as you’ve stowed your tray after the last meal service, jump up and change into your clean shirt. It will make you feel and look fresh."

Stay on schedule

To minimise jet-lag, Lisa recommends to prepare your body clock as soon as you get on the plane. "Start preparing your body for time zone changes ahead of travel," Lisa says. "Try setting your watch to your destination time zone to remind yourself when you should sleep and eat. While it may be the morning in Sydney, it may be evening in Los Angeles, so turn off the movies and get some Z's."

Keep it simple

"It’s best not to wear a full face of make-up during long haul flights," says Lisa. "The cabin environment paired with heavy make-up can lead to dry, dull looking skin." If you need a bit of colour, Lisa suggests to add some tinted balm on your lips and some powder on your T-Zone to combat shine. 

For added moisture, use a moisturiser like the face cream by United Airlines’ partner Sunday Riley so your skin can still breathe, or give your face a spritz every so often with a travel sized bottle of facial spray for a boost of freshness.

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