Capacity from the UK to Latin America has increased considerably over the past few years, with more airlines serving more destinations, meaning that you can make a considered choice of long-haul carrier. Moreover, given that you will be spending somewhere between 10 and 17 hours in the air, besides the three hours for check-in and the transit time at both ends, it’s worth giving some attention to the inescapable start and finish to your Latin American adventure. To help get you on your way and encourage a more comfortable long-haul flight, we recommend following these seven tips:
Choose the Right Airline
If you’re flying into one of the 10 mainland Latin American cities that are now served by a direct flight from London, you’ll already have the advantage of a shorter travel time. While all return flights from Latin America to the UK will be overnight, outbound flights have both morning and evening departures. Given the choice, it’s worth weighing up which might suit you better. For example, the beauty of LATAM’s daily Heathrow-Sao Paulo service is the early-morning arrival time in Brazil, which makes for efficient and comfortable connections to onward points, both domestic and regional.
Priority check-in, fast-track lanes, lounge access…What’s not to like about flying in business class? Hmm, maybe the price. In fact, greater capacity has naturally led to increased competition on airfares and often some very attractive business class tickets. However, an upgrade doesn’t necessarily mean turning left at the aircraft door. Many airlines now offer a midway premium economy cabin where you can enjoy some of the benefits usually associated with business class at a more appealing price: greater legroom, wider choice of food and drinks, enhanced onboard amenity kits and a more generous baggage allowance. Even within the main cabin, specific seat choice can give you added comfort during your flight:LATAM+ Seats, situated in the front section and exit rows, offer increased legroom and seat recline, reserved overhead locker space and priority boarding.
There’s a theory that the smarter your appearance, the greater your chance of an upgrade at the gate. We’re not sure that holds true, though you’ll no doubt feel fabulous wearing your Manolos on the air bridge. Dressing smart for long haul air travel, however, is more to do with planning for the lengthy door-to-door journey ahead. Light, loose and comfortable clothing, with removable layers to account for the changes in temperature, will help you feel relaxed on board so that you can arrive fresh and ready for your holiday.
Mind your Health
To avoid health problems on board a long haul flight and ensure you are fit and healthy to make the most of your trip is vital. Taking your own water bottle and regularly drinking will help avoid dehydration which is common as the air on a plane if often dry. Eating fruits and veggies will help boost your immune system, preventing the likelihood of uneasiness or illness. Lastly, it’s really important to move around at least once an hour to reduce the chances of any blood clots forming.
Regardless as to whether you are checking a bag into the hold, or choosing carry-on only there are some essential items that can make the journey more comfortable. Ensuring you get good quality sleep means you can start your holiday feeling fresh. A good blackout eye mask, wax ear plugs, and a foam neck pillow are particularly effective. To remain comfortable and fresh on board, packing the right toiletries such as moisturiser and lip balm to prevent dry skin, hand sanitiser to avoid germs and face wipes are all recommended. Everyone has their own preferences to keep themselves entertained but, taking a lightweight Kindle with a good reading library is ideal whilst reducing the weight of your personal belongings.
You never know who you might be sat next to or near on a flight, and it may be just worth instigating a brief conversation to find out a little more about your travel companion. You really have nothing to lose, as should the individual not turn out to be as interesting as may have anticipated then your noise-cancelling headphones are the perfect excuse to put an end to any further pestering.
Arrive in the Morning
If you can choose a night flight that arrives early in the morning to Latin America, this will help your body clock adjust more naturally to the local time change. Also, if you arrive in the morning, it’s just as important to try and get a good night’s sleep otherwise you will still feel exhausted. The day before your flight why not do some exercise, as this will encourage a more solid and deep sleep on board.
Long-haul flights by nature can be tiring, monotonous and take a toll on the body, but it doesn't have to be that way if you just follow some simple steps to prepare properly. Thankfully, airlines are continuing to increase their direct routes and LATAM now offers daily flights from London to its hub in São Paulo, from where passengers can connect to 120 destinations across Latin America, the most extensive flight network in the Latin American region. See the highlights of Brazil on our Signature Brazil: Brazil at a Glance holiday. Explore vibrant Rio de Janeiro, see the incredible Iguazú Falls, and visit the wildlife jungles of the Amazon as well as Salvador, the pulsating African heart of the country.