· Stow all carry-ons in the overhead bin
To make the most of the little space allotted you, resist the urge to keep your carry-on under the seat in front of you. We recommend stuffing a zip case with the necessities, your wallet and passport, and keeping that hooked onto the seat in front of you. Throw all bags in the overhead. Really. Otherwise you'll find there's pretty much nowhere to slide and stretch your feet when it comes time to attempt a nap.
· Resist the urge to watch the moving map channel
Flip channels on your seatback screen to watch the live camera (if available), but don't linger too long on the moving map. The hours tick away so slowly, and that "time to destination" reading is only a reminder that you've paid four digits to sit upright, in awkwardly minimal personal space, for what amounts to more than half a whole day.
· Guard your pillow and blanket
It's every man for him/herself onboard a long flight to Australia, as we found out for ourselves. After returning to our window seat from a walk to the lavatory early on in the flight, we discovered that our blanket had been swiped! No sign of that thing anywhere, and with more than 10 hours of flight time yet to go. A request for another one was met with a frown from a flight attendant (even though we explained it had...disappeared), and a good hour-long wait until another blanket miraculously could be located. Learn from our mistakes and guard those little pieces of comfort.
· Take your time with the in-flight meals
When you consider the flight length, doing everything at a leisurely pace is to your advantage. In-flight meals may feel rushed on most other routes, but there's no reason to hurry up on a 14-hour nonstop. We recommend eating the salad and entree when it's served, but then remove the dessert and coffee cup from the tray so you can enjoy later on, such as during another movie. This is even more important for those stuck in window seats, who may have two sleeping passengers blocking the way to the aisle and, thus, the snack bar.
· Visit the snack bar
Should you be flying on an A380, take advantage of every nicety that newer, double-decker airplane affords. In the case of Qantas, there's a small snack area stocked with complimentary nibbles. Offerings on our flights included Anzac biscuits, oatmeal cookies, non-alcoholic beverages, and tiny nutty granola bar things. You can easily while away an hour hanging out back there, snacking and socializing.
· Know your aircraft type
Don't book that ticket without comparing aircraft types! This doesn't necessarily mean choosing between different airlines, since some operate different aircraft on the same route, just at different times of the day. For example, we specifically chose Qantas' A380 departure from LAX over the 747 because of the improved personal space, guarantee of new seats and new in-flight entertainment (plus USB ports!), and the aforementioned snack bar. To quickly check each aircraft's amenities, search RouteHappy and they'll have all the details, plus a general happiness rating for each flight.
Please share your own tips with our readers by leaving a comment below, and happy travels!