Going on holiday is awesome but the long haul flights to get to and from your destination can be unpleasant, especially for those who fear flying. Spending more than ten hours on a plane can result in dehydration, swollen ankles and stiff legs, not to mention the associated jet lag can take days to wear off. We spoke to Erin Messer, a member of Emirates Cabin Crew and she gave us her advice for flying like a pro and arriving at your destination feeling fresh.

How can we avoid the ankle swelling and stiff joints associated with long haul flights?

I’m not a health expert but I do fly long-haul frequently being a member of the Emirates Cabin crew team. Staying hydrated and staying active are my two biggest tips – if you sit still for the entire flight you will feel sluggish, stiff and likely experience swelling. It is important to drink water throughout the flight, and try to walk up and down the aisles when you have the chance and it’s safe to do so, perhaps following the end of the movie you’ve just watched or you can do exercises such as quad stretches and leg extensions while in your seat.

For the perfect journey it is really important to plan ahead. When you get on-board, set your watch to the time at your destination. From there, plan to sleep when it is evening at your destination. It is also really important to plan when you will exercise and when you will relax. All of this will help align your body slowly to the time zone you’ll be arriving at, ensuring you minimise jet-lag.

How much water should we be drinking on a flight? Should we hydrate beforehand?

You don’t need to suddenly drink excessive amounts of fluid before your flight – you don’t want to be getting up to the bathroom every five minutes! But do start your flight well hydrated – we generally recommend that our passengers ensure they are sipping water throughout the day before their flight. We always encourage our customers to ask for water whenever they need to hydrate during the flight. My biggest tip is to pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on luggage – this can be filled up after you go through security measures, to ensure you always have access to water and don’t have to wait until you get on-board.

How can we get a better sleep on the plane? What should we pack in our bag to aid sleep?

An eye mask and ear plugs are a great way to help with sleeping on the plane. Smelling salts can also be a great way to relax before sleeping, for example salts that contain lavender and chamomile essential oils. Classical music or relaxation sounds can be found on Emirates’ entertainment system and are also very helpful in having a good rest.

If you do have trouble sleeping on the plane, a great natural vitamin is Valerian which can be found in most pharmacies.

I personally switch on our ice entertainment system and pick a movie I’ve seen lots of times before and snuggle up – that way I’m watching something I enjoy but I already know what happens so it’s OK when I fall asleep.

What are the best snacks to take onto the flight?

There will be ample food, beverages and snacks provided in all classes on flights so there is no need to pack your own snacks for the flight. Of course you may have a journey to get to or from the airport so pack snacks so that you are not starving when you get on-board. Likewise, being tired and hungry are not a good mix!

Which is the best seat to sit in for a restful sleep?

In economy I find a window seat is best – you have something to rest your head against, a nice view and the person next to you can get up as many times as they want without disturbing you. Don’t forget to get up and do your exercises when you can though.

Are there any special products we might not have packed that will make flying a better experience?

There a few things that I won’t travel without, especially on a long haul flight. Since the air in the plane can be dehydrating, I’m always applying lip balm and use a face mist to keep my skin hydrated. My favourite face mist at the moment is the Bvlgari Red Tea spray found in our Business and First Class amenity kits. Pocket size deodorant and refreshing wipes are also lifesavers on a long flight.

Pack loose fitting, comfortable clothes for the flight. If you don’t want to wear these clothes to the airport, you can always wear something a bit fancier and get changed when on the aircraft. I always pack a pair of socks to keep my feet from getting cold.

I always pack luggage scales as well so I know how much my luggage weighs – that way you can make sure that you can carry what you’ve packed or it’ll be a struggle and you don’t want to get on-board with a sore back.