International flights

What to Expect on International Flights


International flights can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience, especially for first-time travelers. From long hours on the plane to navigating through unfamiliar airports, there are many things to anticipate when flying internationally. In this blog, we will discuss what you can expect on international flights and how to prepare for a smooth journey.

I have used Asiana, Delta, and Korean Air so far in my travels to the Philippines and while each of them offer individual unique experiences, what you can expect is mostly the same.  When flying from Seattle you have a few layover options. I will usually stop at Incheon Airport in South Korea so that I can take a train into Seoul for some delicious food! Other options are Taiwan and Hong Kong.


What should I bring on a long flight?

The most obvious difference between domestic and international flights is the duration of the journey. While domestic flights typically last a few hours, international flights can range anywhere from 6 to 20 hours or more, depending on the destination. This means you will have to prepare for a longer journey and be ready to spend a significant amount of time in the air.

To make the long flight more comfortable, consider investing in a good neck pillow, compression socks, and noise-cancelling headphones. These items will help you get some rest and reduce any discomfort during the flight.

Foe headphones I use WYZE Over-The-Ear Noise-Cancelling Headphones. These work perfect for blocking out noise and disruption and comes with an auxiliary cable that will plug into standard 3.5mm headphone jacks if bluetooth connection isn’t available. I used to bring ear plugs with me but honestly these have far since replaced those to the point I never remove them from their pouch.

I was never a big fan of compression socks personally. Maybe it’s having harry legs, maybe it’s having something around my legs. I’ve never been a huge fan of pants either. With that being said, I’ve come to love Darn Tough compression socks while flying. I have very restless legs, prefer to wear shorts, and like to take my shoes off while flying. What this means is that I get cold once we reach 35,000 feet and my legs get the jitters!  These socks are awesome and help me stay comfortable through the trip. They are my go to!

If you’re sensitive to light and plan to sleep, bring a sleep mask. While airlines provide them, not all of them do!



Immigration and Customs Procedures

When flying internationally, you will have to go through immigration and customs at your destination airport. The flight crew will come through at some point during your flight with the necessary immigration and declaration form so that you have time to fill it out before you land. I recommend having a pen alongside your passport as this will be the process any time you fly internationally. If you don’t have a pen, you’ll have to find one to borrow or wait until you land which could slow you down on arrival! Make sure to have all your necessary documents, such as your passport and visa, ready for whenever necessary.

Depending on the country you are traveling to, you may also have to declare any items you are bringing in or out of the country. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the customs regulations of your destination beforehand to avoid any delays or complications. If you’re not sure, read the sheet thoroughly or see a customs officer when you land.


In-Flight Entertainment and Amenities

You will be provided a blanket and slippers to wear while on the flight. Don’t worry if you forgot your headphones or jack adapter, you will also receive a pair of cheap wired headphones to use for movie entertainment. The built-in screen will give you options for TV shows, movies, and even music playlists. I use the relaxing playlists when available to help me sleep!

Meal Services

On international flights, you can expect to receive at least one meal, depending on the duration of your flight. Most airlines offer a choice of meals, including vegetarian and special dietary options. However, if you have any specific food requirements, it is best to inform the airline beforehand.

You can also pack your own snacks and food items, but make sure to check with the airline’s restrictions and guidelines. It is also advisable to bring an empty water bottle to refill after passing through security.

In-flight amenities when traveling to the Philippines will include meals and drinks. Meals will be tailored to the time of day, so if it is morning time expect some sort of breakfast offering. I have had a pretty diverse menu throughout my trips, so it is hard to say specifically which meal you might get. There are always two options though and includes a drink.

Asiana Airlines International Flight to the Philippines
Asiana Airlines International Flight to the Philippines

Layovers and Connecting Flights

If you have a long journey ahead of you, chances are you will have a layover or a connecting flight. This means you will have to get off the plane and navigate through an unfamiliar airport to catch your next flight.

It is essential to leave enough time between flights to account for any possible delays or complications. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the layout of the airport and have a plan in case you need to change terminals.


Different Cultures and Languages

One of the most exciting things about traveling internationally is being exposed to different cultures and languages. On your flight, you may encounter flight attendants and passengers from different countries, each with their unique customs and languages.

It is always a good idea to learn a few basic phrases in the local language of your destination. This will not only help you communicate with locals but also show them your respect for their culture.


Time Zone Changes

Traveling internationally means crossing time zones, which can lead to jet lag. It is essential to prepare for this by adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before your flight. During the flight, try to get some rest and adjust your sleep pattern according to the local time at your destination.

It may also be helpful to stay hydrated and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can disrupt your sleep patterns even further.


Restrictions and Guidelines

Before your international flight, make sure to check the restrictions and guidelines set by the airline and the country you are traveling to. These may include baggage weight and size limits, restricted items, and dress code.

It is also crucial to research the COVID-19 protocols and requirements of your destination country and adhere to them for a safe and hassle-free journey.

In conclusion, traveling on an international flight can be a thrilling experience, but it also requires careful preparation and planning. By knowing what to expect and being well-prepared, you can make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable. Bon voyage!