Eight hacks to turn your next long-haul flight into a holiday

While there’s a lot of wisdom to the saying ‘it’s the journey, not the destination’, it’s probably a safe assumption that when travelling by air, most people don’t view the flight itself as the highlight.

Eight hacks to turn your next long-haul flight into a holiday
Photo: WOW air/WOW air Instagram

Airline travel is wonderful for getting you where you want to go quickly, but long-haul flights can challenge even the most eager explorers. If you’ve got a big journey coming up, why not break it up with a stopover in one of the most gorgeous places on Earth? With Icelandic low cost carrier WOW air, you can fly to 37 destinations in Europe, North America and Asia – all with a layover (or longer) in majestic Iceland.

Book your next trip with Icelandic low cost carrier WOW air

With that in mind, here are eight flight hacks for achieving the ultimate in-flight comfort:

1. Find the perfect Spotify playlist

Nothing gets you in the mood for, well, pretty much anything, like a great playlist. Kick back and relax on your next WOW air flight with some tunes picked specially for the occasion. 

Need some more inspiration? Check out the playlist below, and there's plenty more where that came from. Simply do a quick search on Spotify to find something that's just right.
Can't find the winning combo? Build your own playlist (and don't forget to include Lenny Kravitz's 'Fly Away' which sounds even better while cruising at 45,000 feet).

2. Stretch your legs with WOW comfy or WOW premium

There’s nothing worse than being packed like sardines on a long flight. That’s why you’ll want to take advantage of Wow air’s large seats that provide extra space between you and your fellow passengers.

With WOW comfy, you’ll be able to reserve an XL seat that gives you plenty of room to really stretch out. XL seats have a 32-33 inch (81cm – 84cm) seat pitch (that’s fancy airline speak for the amount of space between your seat and the one in front of you).

With an XXL spot, you get a seat pitch of at least 35 inches (89cm). If you really want extra legroom – and who doesn’t? – WOW premium is the way to go. A premium ticket features WOW’s BigSeat, the airline’s biggest and most comfortable seat with a seat pitch of 37 to 45 inches (94-114cm).

3. Take your own in-flight entertainment

Icelandic low cost carrier WOW air has two things all travellers love: low prices and comfortable seats.

One of the ways the airline can keep its prices low is by leaving it up to passengers to come up with their own in-flight entertainment. If you can’t imagine a long-distance flight without the classic movie options, fear not. All you need to do is plan ahead a bit and download a few movies to your favourite device.

Prep for your layover with Iceland-themed movies like the Ben Stiller action-drama ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ and ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ (both the classic 1959 version and the 2008 remake).

Photo: Seydisfjordur church in Iceland was one of many Icelandic filming destinations in 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'. Vichie81/Depositphotos

There’s also this little-known show called ‘Game of Thrones’ (perhaps you’ve heard of it?). Its ‘Beyond The Wall’ scenes were all shot in Iceland, so if you’re one of the few last holdouts who hasn’t gotten around to watching the global smash hit, why not start while you can catch a glimpse of its remarkable setting out your window?

There are plenty of acclaimed Iceland-linked films and TV shows to choose from, but of course Iceland isn't the only country that makes binge-worthy offerings. Why not try 'Goliath', from the creator of 'Big Little Lies' and 'Ally McBeal', or Golden Globe winning series 'The Affair'? Whatever you choose to watch, remember that a long-haul flight is practically the one time you can binge an entire series without any of the usual guilt.

4. Go old-school and load up on books

Long-haul flights are perfect for losing yourself in a book. Whether it’s that novel that you swore you’d read but just never seem to get around to, or the latest summer blockbuster, be sure to have some books with you and treat yourself to a needed screen break.

If you’re interested in books from Iceland, a good place to start would be Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s series of crime novels featuring the Icelandic lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir. In a similar vein, Arnaldur Indriðason’s series of crime fiction featuring Detective Erlendur has also received international acclaim.

Once you've torn your way through those Icelandic literary gems, check out these 73 recommendations for summer reading. Whether you fancy sinking your teeth into some true crime with Michelle McNamara's groundbreaking 'I'll be gone in the dark' or kick-starting your adventure with the travel tale 'Couchsurfing in Iran' by Stephan Orth, this list will have you covered.

5. Break up your trip with an Iceland stopover

Photo: TTstudio/Depositphotos

Whether you’re there overnight or you’ve only got a few hours between flights, you’ll have more than enough time to fit in a few sights. Ideas include catching one of the hourly buses to and from the Blue Lagoon or getting in some shopping and drinks along Laugaveger Street, there are plenty of locations worth exploring.

Use your flight to read up on the options, and remember that when you’re flying with Icelandic low cost carrier WOW air, you always have the option of scheduling a stopover in order to better explore Iceland.

6. Find inner peace with these mindfulness apps

Whether you’re flying from Stockholm to San Francisco for a pitch meeting with the newest hot tech company or visiting Copenhagen from Pittsburgh for a green energy conference, you may want to use your in-flight time to relax your mind.

Photo: denisismagilov/Depositphotos

There are no shortage of effective mindfulness and relaxation apps out there, but the ones we like best include Calm, Headspace and Breethe. Open one of these, settle into your extra wide seat and feel the calmness overtake you.

7. Skip the queues by going premium

Photo: WOW air

One of the worst things about flying is the constant queuing. With WOW premium, you can significantly cut down on your waiting time by gaining access to a separate fast-tracked security lane at Keflavík Airport that allows quicker access to the departure hall. Plus, you’ll get priority boarding at all airports, giving you more time to get comfy on board.

8. Take control by customising your flight

Are you a window or an aisle person? With WOW comfy and WOW premium, you can pre-select your seat rather than leaving things up to chance (after all, no one wants to be stuck in a middle seat on a long haul).

Photo: WOW air

Plus, you don’t have to worry about unforeseeable circumstances wreaking havoc on your plans – or your wallet. Both comfy and premium tickets ensure that you will receive a refund if you need to cancel a reservation.

Book your next trip with Icelandic low cost carrier WOW air

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by WOW air.


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Could Oslo-Copenhagen overnight train be set for return?

A direct overnight rail service between the Norwegian and Danish capitals has not operated since 2001, but authorities in Oslo are considering its return.

Norway’s transport minister Knut Arild Hareide has asked the country’s railway authority Jernbanedirektoratet to investigate the options for opening a night rail connection between Oslo and Copenhagen.

An answer is expected by November 1st, after which the Norwegian government will decide whether to go forward with the proposal to directly link the two Nordic capitals by rail.

Jernbanedirektoratet is expected to assess a timeline for introducing the service along with costs, market and potential conflicts with other commercial services covering the route.

“I hope we’ll secure a deal. Cross-border trains are exciting, including taking a train to Malmö, Copenhagen and onwards to Europe,” Hareide told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The minister said he envisaged either a state-funded project or a competition awarding a contract for the route’s operation to the best bidder.

A future Oslo-Copenhagen night train rests on the forthcoming Jernbanedirektoratet report and its chances of becoming a reality are therefore unclear. But the Norwegian rail authority earlier this year published a separate report on ways in which passenger train service options from Norway to Denmark via Sweden can be improved.

“We see an increasing interest in travelling out of Norway by train,” Jernbanedirektoratet project manager  Hanne Juul said in a statement when the report was published in January.

“A customer study confirmed this impression and we therefore wish to make it simpler to take the train to destinations abroad,” Juul added.

Participants in the study said that lower prices, fewer connections and better information were among the factors that would encourage them to choose the train for a journey abroad.

Norway’s rail authority also concluded that better international cooperation would optimise cross-border rail journeys, for example by making journey and departure times fit together more efficiently.

The Femahrn connection between Denmark and Germany, currently under construction, was cited as a factor which could also boost the potential for an overland rail connection from Norway to mainland Europe.

Night trains connected Oslo to Europe via Copenhagen with several departures daily as recently as the late 1990s, but the last such night train between the two cities ran in 2001 amid dwindling demand.

That trend has begun to reverse in recent years due in part to an increasing desire among travellers to select a greener option for their journey than flying.

Earlier this summer, a new overnight train from Stockholm to Berlin began operating. That service can be boarded by Danish passengers at Høje Taastrup near Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany