Here in Australia it takes us over 14 hours to fly to America and there are a few little wrinkles and things you can do to help make the trip a bit easier. There are of course many, many, other sites on the intertubes with further suggestions:
  • Invest in some decent carry on luggage so you don't need to wait at the luggage carousel. It can be a long wait and if you do an internal flight as well that's twice you need to wait for your luggage. I carry a laptop rucksack and a small suitcase -- I can live for weeks from that. If you are travelling to West Coast US on business then you never need a suite or tie anyway.
  • Copy the details of your passport, flight number (or use your boarding pass), return dates and hotel address into a sheet of paper so that you can fill in your US immigration and customs documentation. Also have a pen handy
  • Ask the cabin crew if you can get your US forms as quickly as possible during the flight. It's easier to fill when you are fresh and less tired. NB This usually doesn't work -- they have a process and you can't upset it!
  • Don't eat too much before flying. It can make for an more uncomfortable flight and takes longer to recover from jet lag.
  • Take a plastic carrier bag with you and put your shoes in it, then place in overhead luggage bin. They are out of the way for the rest of the flight, easy to find at the end and you don't upset other passengers rubbing your dirty shoes on their luggage
  • Collect as many of the travel amenity kits as possible whenever you travel and carry one or two in your hand luggage. This is useful for two reasons:
    • You can change out of your shoes and into flight socks before settling down
    • Far fewer flights now offer these kits anyway
  • Try and sleep if possible. There are some tips here
  • I always find it hard to work in economy so make sure you don't have expectations of getting lots done
  • Use a lip salve and skin moisturiser if needed
Updated 10/Oct/08
  • Consider wearing trousers with large patch pockets on the legs so that bulky items (e.g. wallets and passports) are located at your knees and you don't have to sit on them for 14 hours in your back pocket
See Also: Airline Seating Tradeoffs Optimise your aircraft seat Get Through the Airport in Record Time with This Checklist, tips on getting through airport security faster.