July 13, 2024


aircraft sunset

Remember the days – some might say “the good old days” – when flying was a pleasant and enjoyable experience?  True, that was some time back so my younger readers are forgiven if they can’t imagine flying being pleasant.  But it is true.  There once was a time when flying was a very enjoyable part of the travel experience.  People, passengers and staff alike, were polite and courteous.  Real (and tasty) food was served in flight.  Seating was more spacious and comfortable. Ah yes – those were the days. Flying was fun.

Today?  Not so much.  Things have changed.  Flying is now purely transportation for most of the traveling public.  The flight portion of a trip is something to be endured – a necessary evil if you want to get from Point A to Point B.   And if you are traveling a long distance – well good luck.  A fourteen hour flight can be quite a challenge.

So – how do you survive that long distance flight?  How can you at least make it a bit more tolerable?  Everyone has their own tips and tricks.  I’m going to share my own thoughts on the subject in this and another article to follow.

First – let’s start with the BEST SUGGESTION on how to survive long distance flights.


I can almost hear you groaning.  But it’s true. Let’s face it.  The best way to have a fairly enjoyable long distance flight is to fly first class. True, first class passengers arrive at their destination no sooner than those in economy class.  But the flight experience is much different. Sitting “up front” can be very pleasant.  Much better food and prompt and polite service create a reasonably comfortable ambiance for the flight.   And of course seats (or beds) which lie totally flat allow you to stretch out and get some fairly decent sleep.  First class passengers are much more able to “hit the ground running” when they deplane after that fourteen hour flight.  Meanwhile ecomony class passengers – well  – not so much.

(By the way, it appears that the disparity between “classes” of air travel service is increasing. For an interesting article on this topic take a look at Class War )

Unfortunately, there is a cost for the niceities of first class air travel.  Indeed, there is a significant cost.  How much? Here’s a look.  I’ll be heading off to India this spring.  Currently, a typical round trip economy ticket from Kansas City to Delhi with one stop in New York runs around $1367.00.  By comparison, a first class ticket for that flight will cost $11,749.00.  That’s a difference of $10382.00.

Who travels this way?  Who is the traveler who decides to grab that first class ticket for an additional $10382.00 so that they can enjoy a somewhat nicer travel experience for this Kansas City to Delhi flight ( or any other first class flight for that matter)?  For some people that ten grand is probably pocket change and the cost differential is of little consequence. Some passengers travel as part of their work. If they have a generous and / or understanding employer their company might possibly pick up the cost of first class airfares. Other folks travel frequently and accumulate frequently flyer miles. If they have enough miles they may decide to use them to upgrade to first class. And of course there may be the occasional traveler who decides to live beyond their means – perhaps to impress their girlfriend or boyfriend or to simply bask in the relative luxury or first class air travel once in a lifetime.

So there you have it – at least from my point of view.  The best way to survive long distance travel is to fly first class.  It’s simple. But it is expensive.  The big question remains – is it worth it?   That’s a very personal question and each traveler will have their own answer.  For me?  Well, you will find me struggling to fit my six foot three inch frame into one of those tiny little seats way back there in economy class. (Call me crazy – but I guess I figure that I might find a better use for ten grand? )

Be sure to watch for my next / follow up article on how to survive long distance flights.  I’ll be sharing some tips for those who, like me, tend to fly economy.

Survive The Flight …………………….. Enjoy the Journey!

Dr.B, The Photo Trekker

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