how to: survive 17 hours on a plane

For our Honeymoon, D and I wanted to do something wild and after some research, New Zealand seemed to fit that description perfectly, which I’ll be doing some posts on soon. A honeymoon to New Zealand all sounds magical until you start researching flights and learn that your designated flight is the 6th longest flight in the world clocking in at 17 hours and 15 minutes.

The day after our wedding near Dallas, we flew from DFW to Sydney, Australia on Quantas Airlines and then to Auckland, New Zealand with Air New Zealand. In total, we were flying for about 20 hours, including our three hour connection to Auckland. This flight is not for the light hearted, but totally doable with the right preparation. Here are some things we learned:

  • Drink LOTS of water. I think this is just something to live by, but cruising at flight altitude for 17 hours can make you severely dehydrated. Get a huge bottle of water before you get on the plane and drink the whole thing through out the flight. Quantas also had water stations in the back that you can drink from, but I'm a bottled water kinda gal while traveling.

  • Ask for a "Comfort Row". We learned once on the flight that airlines are not allowed to completely book these extremely long flights because of weight restrictions due to how much fuel they have to carry. Therefore, the flight is about 2/3 full, which came as a shock to us. Because of this, you can pay to have an empty row all to yourself for $100. All you have to do is ask the gate desk if a comfort row is available. We were not aware of comfort rows before boarding the flight, but we did ask if we could be upgraded in someway (trying to play the honeymooners card as much as possible). The flight attendant was able to give us a row all to ourselves just with a little switching around. To me, this made ALL the difference in being able to spread out without having to worry about hitting a stranger next to me.

  • Asking is not going to hurt you. Quantas had surprisingly good food! I was a little weary going into it, but I was pleasantly surprised. They serve 2 meals and a snack during the night. You get three options for each meal, which all come with some sort of bread or side option. D was still hungry after his first meals so he asked for another after dinner and breakfast service and they were able to provide him with an extra. The flight attendants were happy to provide him with a second meal, so don’t feel bad about asking!


This was our breakfast about 3 hours before landing in Sydney. Eggs, bacon, hash browns, mushrooms (an odd addition if you ask me), yogurt, a muffin, and some much needed coffee!

This was our breakfast about 3 hours before landing in Sydney. Eggs, bacon, hash browns, mushrooms (an odd addition if you ask me), yogurt, a muffin, and some much needed coffee!

  • Snacks on snacks on snacks. Never once do I regret bringing snacks. I tried to think of every snack variation under the sun for this flight, so my snack bag was filled with beef jerky, Reese’s, protein bars, gummy bears, roasted chick peas, trail mix, and chips. We were glad to have all of those on the flight when we felt snacky!

  • MOVE YO BODY. It is very important to get up and move your body during these 17 hours. Your body needs to have good blood circulation otherwise it can develop blood clots. And lets face it, your body will feel better in general if you move it. So get up, walk around, do some stretches, point and flex your feet while sitting down as much as possible. If you’re awake, make it a goal to get up every hour and do something!

  • Download a show. Quantas had a screen for every seat that provided free movies and tv shows which was much appreciated. However, what made the time go by fast for me was watching the first season of This Is Us. I downloaded the whole season on my iPad and binged through most of the flight. It is a GREAT show if you need something to watch and is thoroughly entertaining to make the time go by quick.

  • Bring an inflatable pillow. I have an inflatable pillow that I use for camping and bring on every flight. The pillow is super light to pack because it packs down into a little case and is easy to blow up. I like to inflate it to different levels whether I use it on my back or wherever I’m laying my head. You can get the pillow here.

  • Workout before the flight. I know it can be difficult to find the time to work out before you take an international trip, but it is SO WORTH IT. Exert your body so that you do not become restless when sitting hours on end. Trust me. Your body will thank you for it later.

I hope this list helps you! Flight time can be a little daunting but follow these steps and you’ll conquer it like a champ. Leave any of your tips in the comments below!