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18 hours… in that seat?

Getting off a long haul flight can feel likened to the worst hangover ever, or perhaps even a very minor car crash. Our bodies just weren’t designed to spend endless amount of time confined to tight, pressurized conditions. With the launch of new ultra long range, direct flights – it’s time to take a look at the benefits of direct flights versus connections, and which will help you fight jet lag. 

a white airplane in the skyObvious Pros Of Direct Ultra Long Haul Flights

  • Shorter travel time
  • Less potential for delays, cancellation
  • Direct routing
  • No transit issues, bag transfers, other airlines

Obvious Benefits Of Connecting Ultra Long Haul Flights

  • Shorter flights
  • Opportunity to stretch legs in between
  • Potential to shower, change, eat on ground
  • Fresh air
  • Potential multi day stopover en route, 2 in 1 trip.

a black board with white text and yellow dotsChallenge 1: Time…

There’s no doubt direct flights win here. Connections add a minimum of one hour to any journey and likely much more. If you want to reach your destination in the lowest amount of time, with no regard for any other considerations – direct flights win. Direct flights will also mitigate chances of lost bags and delays.

Challenge 2: Comfort

Ten hours in an uncomfortable seat is manageable. Eat, sleep, walk, watch movies – done. But 17 hours means more than 10 hours – assuming you were able to sleep seven good ones – of being consciously awake in a tight seat. The comfort winner is without a doubt connecting flights, where you have an opportunity to walk stretch and breath fresh air in transit after perhaps a 10 hour flight, en route to a 9 hour flight. You should get up every 5 hours to help avoid health issues.

Challenge 3: Jet Lag

Jet lag is mostly based on your adjustment to destination time and efforts to assimilate. Leading up to a big time change, you want to eat as close to time at your destination as possible, perhaps skipping a meal if it would be in the middle of the night where you’re going. Connections throw another time zone into play, which can be tricky, but also allows you to refresh with a shower, change or long walk to help kick you toward final destination time.

a table with a tv in the middle of the roomCrucial Tips

  • Eat at destination meal times, eat dry foods and avoid heavy meals.
  • Take every opportunity to walk – to avoid DVT and refresh muscles.
  • Choose newest plane options over old clunkers.
  • Take advantage of airport shower facilities (even paid) to rejuvenate.
  • Fight to make it through the day on destination time if you land early.
  • Have a drink or tire yourself out to sleep on destination time if you land late.
  • Pay what you can afford for the most comfortable seat possible.


If you’re in business class, or a comfortable premium economy, it’s tough to argue with direct flights, especially if there is space on the plane to walk the aisles, stretch and do yoga. Newer planes such as A350, 787 and A380 will offer superior environments for your body and skin, which will help minimize the negative effects too. However, if you’re in economy – we’d choose connecting flights for ultra long haul travel, every time. Going from London to Sydney, a stop in Asia perfectly breaks up the tedious journey, and if you’re flying into airports such as Singapore Changi which offer fresh outdoor air decks, movie theaters, butterfly gardens, shower facilities, nap rooms and excellent food – you’ll be able to re group for destination local time before your final flight.

Flying economy, would you prefer direct long haul flights – or connections?


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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