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Surviving Your Flight to Africa

Sleeping on plane

IMG_0373The latest trend among airlines is to charge extra for a seat that has more legroom, or is located in the front of the plane (but still in economy). South African Airways has jumped on the bandwagon, along with most major airlines. Yvette is en route to Johannesburg today on the 16 hour direct flight from New York, but has an inside secret “extra legroom seat”  — we keep this information exclusively for our clients!

A popular flight for many of our clients going on safari in Tanzania is the KLM flight to Kilimanjaro (via Amsterdam). KLM is charging $100 for seats near the front of the plane to Amsterdam, and a whopping $150 for the Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro leg. Some airlines are charging even more for exit row seats that used to be allocated upon check in. Now they’re a hot commodity with a price tag.

Given the length of the average flight from the US to Africa, we at African Portfolio would be happy to spend some extra dollars if means we can actually fit into our shoes at the end of the flight. The key is not to get mad if the back of the plane ends up being empty, and you’re squashed in the front on a very expensive economy class seat.

Tips to Survive Your Longhaul Flight to Africa

1) Be rested and be in shape – Physical stamina and conditioning will help you cope better after you land.
2) Set your watch – As soon as you board the flight, set your watch to your destination time zone.
3) Avoid alcohol & caffeine – They cause dehydration, disrupt sleeping schedules, and trigger nausea and general discomfort.
4) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – Drink water, especially during the flight, to counteract the effects of the dry atmosphere inside the plane.
5) Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize – Carry skin lotion, nasal spray, eye drops and a facial spritzer to counteract the effects of the dry atmosphere inside the plane.
6) Move around on the plane – Remaining active wards off stiffness, and promotes mental and physical acuity which can ease the symptoms of jet lag.
7) Wear comfortable shoes and clothes – Avoid items that pinch, restrict, or chafe and dress for the climate in your destination time zone.

Once you arrive, adapt your behavior to the local schedule – If you arrive at dinner time, have dinner. If you arrive at night, go to bed. If you arrive during the day, go outside. Sunlight will cue your hypothalamus to reduce the production of sleep-inducing melatonin during the day.

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