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Long haul lifehacks

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Long haul lifehacks

Old 7th May 2022, 13:35
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Long haul lifehacks

Hi everyone,
i looked around for a little bit but i couldn't find anything helpfull.
After 10 years flying around europe on the 737 i have a new job flying the 747.
I have no experience with long haul or overnights and was wondering are there any lifehacks or tips that can help me?
​​​​​​I was thinking about staying connected (mobile data) getting around, best way to exchange money and anything else that is helpfull.
Our destinations are Europe, the US, Israel, UAE, Kazakhstan, China (no nightstops for now) and before the war also Russia.

All help is welcome.

(Admins if this is the wrong section, feel free to move it)
flying apple is offline  
Old 7th May 2022, 17:58
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Short answer:
I flew long hauls for 28 years, always carried US Dollars around in small bills for tip and such.
Most hotels have free internet, never worried about roaming and cell phones.
The biggest problem was hotel maids ignoring the Do Not Disturb sign and banging on the door when I was trying
to sleep. Good idea to tell the Front Desk you want no maid service and also call house keeping before you
go to bed, tell them very slowly: I do not want my room cleaned today...
What else?
Food: I started flying to India 37 years ago, got Delhi Belly once, sick for 3 days. After that, no sea food, no chicken, only vegetable soup and toast.
(Maybe better now, no idea)
Kazakstan: Beautiful prostitutes in the hotel lobby, some of the guys took advantage of the services. (Obviously not every hotel)
We lost a Flight Mechanic in one of the African countries close to the Equator from Malaria, he took the pills and had the required
vaccinations. Carry bug spray..
Lots of fun flying to Thailand and Indonesia as a single guy. (Hot Men's bar in Jakarta. )
Middle East: Good and clean hotels, but bring ear plugs, they start transmitting prayers very early through amplifiers and outdoor
speakers, sounds like somebody is raping a cow.
Best Lay-Overs?
Hawaii was nice, hotel on the beach, nice breakfasts.
Japan, clean, polite, safe and very crowded.
China: Try the green eggs for breakfast..Not.
Just rambling here, have not even scratched the surface of long haul. Biggest problem is sleep, or lack of, and jet lag,
got tired of it, flew short day light flights the last few years before I retired: Miami to Santo Domingo in a 757, 1.5 hours each way with a night stop in the middle, easy duty. Don't miss the long hauls, but it was kind of fun while I did it.

Last edited by TowerDog; 7th May 2022 at 18:23.
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Old 7th May 2022, 20:35
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Revolut, the first tier paid service.

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Old 7th May 2022, 21:54
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Eat till you’re sleepy and sleep till you’re hungry?
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Old 7th May 2022, 22:09
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Carry local cash in several places on your body (just in case of pickpockets) Some debit cards will cancel the processing fees if you use a local teller machine.
Write down your hotel room key mixed up on the key jacket in case you lose it.
Try not to do shop talk loudly (I know it's difficult) but there's lots of people listen that you haven't interacted with.
Drink lots of water on the layover you'll be dehydrated and tired, but then get a few brews before dinner if that's your gig.
Enjoy the sights if your layover time allows it.
Second the Do Not Disturb sign !
Have lots of laughs and fun....
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Old 8th May 2022, 04:53
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I think hunterboy summed it up perfectly. Worked for me for over twenty years, including ultra-long haul. Some of the guys I flew with stayed in their local base time throughout the trip but I couldn't make that work for me.
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Old 8th May 2022, 06:22
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  • Carry your own supply of emergency meds, aspirin and something to stop the sh!ts.
  • If you donít already have one, apply for and carry your countries ID card around and leave passport in the hotel.
  • Get a separate credit card with a low ($500-$1000) limit and get an online banking app.
Leave you wallet in the hotel and carry a ďwar walletĒ which is ID and one credit or debit card and a little local cash. Nothing worth dying for.
  • Get a cheap watch, again nothing worth dying for.
  • Donít identify yourself as a crewmember in public to a stranger. You work in Transportation and thatís all there is to know.
  • Spend a couple of hours scouring YouTube for videos on tourist scams and educate yourself. Well worth your time.

Middle East, Asia and Europe are my favorites.
I donít particularly like domestic USA flying.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Long Haul!
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Old 8th May 2022, 09:48
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Admins if this is the wrong section, feel free to move it

Tech Log probably not the optimum spot. In several minds as to where it might get the most in the way of responses.

Perhaps we can try Questions for starters ?
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Old 8th May 2022, 12:18
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Most of the top tips have been posted. Revolut is brilliant.
Have a multi plug adapter handy. Chargers and cables are your friend.
Medicine pack is a great idea, especially the bug spray. Be careful of local laws re OTC medicines. (UAE can be a mine field). They are touchy on codeine and I think ephedrine too.
I carry a door wedge in case the locks aren't brilliant - it does stop the cleaners from barging in.
Get into the habit of locking and securing your door.
Long haul flights may need compression socks. You'll know what works.
I carry very little cash these days. Main currencies are Euro, GBP and USD (if going further afield).
Wool fibres work well. They don't crush and can last many wears.
Unless you know the country well, bottled water is your friend.
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Old 8th May 2022, 13:03
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I keep my phone on UTC time always - crewing and my roster use UTC, and I change only my watch to local.

Work out your wake-up time in UTC and local time, and set both alarms accordingly. Two chances to get it right. Two devices. Two batteries. Give yourself plenty of time to get up, shower, pack and pay at reception. I give myself an hour, so there is no rush and I have time to pre-brief myself on the flight and weather, and time also for emergencies and mishaps as you are getting ready, such as a broken shoelace etc.

Crews often pay their hotel bills just before they go to sleep, so no risk of having to queue at reception when you get up.

I set two alarms, one on my watch and one on my phone to wake up for the next duty. Put them out of reach and out of sight when you sleep. No danger of you hitting snooze if you can't reach the alarm. If you can't sleep, it does not help knowing that you have 7....6.....5.....4 hour's left before you have to get up.

Do not accept a hotel room with an internal door to the next room. Whatever the hotel might say, they are never completely soundproof. Ditto, if there are any concerns about noise, insist on a room change - it is extremely important that you can sleep before your next duty.

There used to be red "do not disturb: aircrew" notices for your door, which are different to the normal hotel ones, so they stand out, I still have one somewhere.

If there is noise, white noise from the aircon or a ceiling fan can help drown it out and help you sleep.

No alcohol the day before you fly - except a modest glass of red to get you off to sleep if required, no closer than 8 hours before departure.

Put your phone on airplane mode when you sleep - the alarm will still work but you will not be disturbed by texts etc.

Pack a spare uniform shirt. If you spill coffee or cut yourself shaving while you are getting ready, trust me; you will be very grateful that you have a spare clean shirt ! Do your own ironing in your room the night before departure - (iron both main and spare shirts), so no worries about waiting for housekeeping.

Good advice on the thread already about safety and security of passport, wallet etc.

A little box containing paracetamol-codeine, plasters, immodium, sun block etc.

A pair of soft boat shoes with thick soles if stingrays are around - trust me you do NOT want to tread on a stingray. They sit motionless on the bottom camouflaged in the shallows, and my Captain trod on one. The pain was indescribable, and it wasn't even happening to me. If your Cap is incapacitated, you are 2nd in command. You will need to liaise with operations and your No. 1 etc.

Buy a phone contract from a decent company giving you reliable service wherever you fly to in the World. You are a professional and you should not be relying on hotel or local Wi-Fi, (which are not secure anyway).

Get a set of travel adaptor plugs for your phone charger - Apple do a very good kit.

Remember that you are a professional crew and act accordingly. Don't boast or brag or throw your weight around. Be pleasant and polite to ground staff, airport staff, security staff, and hotel staff. Don't get drunk and make a spectacle of yourself in the bar.

Down route you will probably need to be more pro-active with ground staff - don't necessarily wait for things to happen; you sometimes need to drive them along a bit. But be professional and nice about it. Don't be a d*ckhead

Help your crew and be alert to any problems your crew might have. Help them if they do. This might involve going to hospital with them.


Last edited by Uplinker; 8th May 2022 at 13:26.
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Old 9th May 2022, 08:50
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Of course if you'd asked this question in the 70's you'd have been advised of the following:

No cameras down route
What goes on down route stays down route(see above)
Last one to the Bar buys the round
If you ring home you're always 'in my hotel room reading a book'

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Old 9th May 2022, 09:41
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Money: Another vote here for Revolut - Almost perfect exchange rates and almost everyone has it, so you can split bills or pay people back easily.

Phone: Get a Skype number and Skype credit - you can forward all your calls to it, so your phone will work anywhere you have Internet (cellular/wifi/company ipad) practically for free. Plus it's works simultaneously on multiple devices, so your Ipad becomes a spare phone.
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Old 12th May 2022, 07:34
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Really and I mean really listen to the senior crews. Can make your life a whole lot easier not having to reinvent the wheel.
Itís not the men you need to be afraid of itís the women. Pretty much every continent has their own drugs of choice to incapacitate you and rob you.
Local cops walking the beat may be in on the scams.
So do the touristy things during the day, ask your hotel front desk or concierge if they have any recommendations and if itís safe to walk.
Anything after sunset bring a wingman unless youíre very familiar with the area.
Leave your big pilot watch and your passport in the hotel.
If itís cool enough to wear a jacket I usually carry my stripes in an inside pocket.
If Iím ever found unconscious in the street itís easy for the police to figure out:
  • dudeís not a local
  • heís flight-crew
  • heís staying in this hotel (hotel key card)
Hopefully everything goes well from there and company gets contacted and medical costs taken care of etc etc.
Whatsapp is one of the text apps that has a location function. Either send present position or live position for anywhere from 15 min to 8 hrs.
I use it all the time when using ground transportation.
This may sound overly paranoid but you are a target.
Places you go you make more in a day then they do in a monthÖor a year.
Be polite, be humble and understand you are very privileged in the job you hold.
Learn two phrases for your frequent overnights, hello and thank you.
I can say that in about 8 languages in addition to the two that I speak fluently.
Youíll visits amazing places and meet amazing people and youíll go to the sewers of this world.

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Old 12th May 2022, 10:24
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I echo much of what B2N2 says.

I once walked through (a safe) part of Cape Town by myself to meet the crew somewhere. I took all the usual precautions, no wallet, no phone, no watch, dressed scruffy etc. It was during the afternoon and it was fine, but what amused me was that I walked past a small hut in a square where a policeman could shelter. FOUR policemen were sitting, crammed inside this tiny hut ! I thought, gee, thanks guys, you are supposed to be out patrolling the streets, keeping us all safe and yet here you all are, hiding in the police hut !

A ramp agent in Mexico, I think it was, tried to get a bribe out of us once saying he needed to collect our air traffic fees that our company had not paid, so he couldn't release our passengers to board. It sounded plausible to me, but luckily my Captain was no fool and very experienced, (hi Bob). I checked with ATC to see if they had our clearance which we were given, so we sussed the agent out and sent him packing.
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Old 12th May 2022, 11:02
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Definitely open a Revolut account.
Order a Pokefi to get reasonable cheap data.
Duct tape: to tape your curtains to the wall.
Travel adapter with multiple USB ports.
Talk365 for making overseas phone calls.
If you are fatigued let it be known!
Spoil your kid(s)

As you are in cargo: do not check your roster more then once a day!
Always carry clothes for the arctic and the tropics.
Bring plenty of underwear.

Consider going Part-time. These endless road-trips through multiple time zones do take their toll without you even realizing it.
Try to drink less and work out more
Clean the toilet after usage!
Keep the galley clean!
Drink enough water: cargo aircraft are extremely dry.

Enjoy it! It will be tough from time to time but it is the best airline job there is in my opinion. The world will be your oyster and the lifestyle is great.
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Old 12th May 2022, 14:45
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Don`t get a room near the lifts...on the `quieter side,maybe not best views...
If there are `adjoining `rooms,other crew member only.
Our loadmasters(mil crew) on descent would prepare (usually in `sick-bags-unused) any spare sachets of coffee/tea/sugar/salt pepper/sauce) to give to the Customs/agent/refueller/rubbish collector.Sometimes the aircraft would be `guarded`,so spare cans of water/soft drinks/biscuits, would be appreciated,especially if he had a 4-legged friend...
Know the phone/location of your nearest Embassy/consulate.
Only use `approved `/govmnt taxis.
Know the room numbers of all the crew.
Look after the girls in the crew.
Learn a few local words for the `pleasentries of life`..
Agree with everything in previous posts..and enjoy it...
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Old 13th May 2022, 10:25
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The quicker you accept that sometimes youíll sleep in the bunk and sometimes you donít the happier youíll be. Appreciate the times that you do sleep and relax as best you can the times you donít. The first two years for me were the worst till I accepted that.
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Old 13th May 2022, 10:53
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I slept when I was tired and ate when I was hungry. If is 2.00 am local and your body thinks itís 4pm somewhere else, you canít fight it.

I used to tell the PurserÖ my job is to keep you happy. A happy Purser is a happy crew. We used to do trips up to 21 days long. You donít want to be away with an unhappy crew for 3 weeks!

Have funÖI used to say ..there is a big difference between taking your job seriously and yourself seriously. And remember .. sometimes the journey is the destination and it does not matter where you are going, itís who you are taking with you!!!

And all of the other posts offer excellent advice.
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