The 4 biggest mistakes men make when flying long haul, according to a flight attendant

Rob Staines, British Airways flight attendant.

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Rob Staines, British Airways flight attendant.
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Rob Staines

  • Business Insider spoke to British Airways flight attendant Rob Staines about how men can best prepare themselves for long haul flights.
  • Air travel for extended periods of time can be a nightmare for your body, thanks to the dry environment caused by low cabin pressure.
  • While there’s a wealth of information out there for female travellers, guys are left pretty much in the dark when it comes to skincare and diet advice.
  • Staines picked out bad practices and solutions across four themes, from drinking onboard to clothing.

There are plenty of articles and blog posts out there about what to bring on a long flight if you’re a woman – from shawls, to makeup, to hair ties.

As a result, guys are left pretty much in the dark when it comes lengthy flights, which can be a nightmare for your body if you’re not prepared.

Business Insider spoke to British Airways flight attendant Rob Staines to find out where guys are going wrong and how they should best ready themselves for the trials and tribulations that air travel poses. He came up with four main themes, ranging from moisturization to correct clothing.

1. You let your skin dry out

One of the biggest issues with air travel is how much it dries your skin out. This is because the air in the pressurised cabins of planes is often less than 20% humidity, which is comparable to a desert, while humidity in the home is normally over 30%, according to the World Health Organization.

As such, Staines stressed the importance of keeping your skin moisturized at all times.

“Always have a good moisturizer,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be an expensive one. The one I use is Clinique for Men because it’s lightweight, it’s oil-free and it’s very intensive.”

It’s best to moisturize before your flight, then reapply during and after as necessary.

While it might not be a staple of every guy’s washbag, Staines also recommends using a facial mist to keep things fresh.

“They’re so easy to use,” he said. “They’re always in really small packages so they fit great into your liquids bag.

“The one I use is Kiehl’s Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating Mist and it just makes you feel really fresh.”

How dry your skin is can actually depend on the aircraft you’re in, Staines added, as some have different cabin pressures to others.

“We have more modern aircraft in our fleet like the Dreamliner, which do make you feel fantastic when you get off because the cabin pressurisation is lower and they don’t have as much of a drying effect on the skin.

“Some aircraft can just dry you out completely.”

2. You use baby wipes

The dry air on planes sets off a vicious chain of events for your skin. As a result of drying out, your skin can overproduce oil, making your skin feel greasy and potentially leading to blemishes.

Many guys, therefore, tend to bring baby wipes to clean their faces onboard, or even resort to washing their faces in the tiny bathroom sink.

However, baby wipes are often so gentle that they don’t give your face a proper clean, and, as Staines notes, their thin, soft texture means they can often get caught in your stubble and leave fluff.

“I always use face wipes that are specifically targeted towards men,” Staines said.

“Men’s ones tend to glide over your skin much more easily.

“I use Anthony Glycolic Facial Wipes, and the exfoliating ones just make your skin feel so much fresher.”

3. You dress up for a flight

Dressing up for a flight will get you nowhere these days.

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Dressing up for a flight will get you nowhere these days.
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Shutterstock.com

While you may have read a thousand times that you’re more likely to get an upgrade while wearing your best suit, Staines said attitudes are changing.

“I think that probably was the case years ago,” he said, “but now people are more interested in comfort.

“I think a lot of brands are waking up to that and I think the airline industry is waking up to that as well.”

Staines is quick to add, though, that comfort does not have to come at the cost of style or elegance.

Hugo Boss, for instance, has a Travel Line of breathable suits and shirts designed specifically for business travellers.

Staines likes to wear a pair of Adidas NMD sneakers, which have a knitted textile upper and are extremely easy to slip on and off.

“The sole is cushioned too,” Staines said, “so they’re really comfortable, and they’re so lightweight that they just kind of fold up into nothing.

“Because they hug your foot, they don’t let in any draft. They’re also great for when you land because they’re suited to any environment.”

Staines likes to pair his sneakers with a Uniqlo tracksuit, because it’s comfortable, stylish, and has zip pockets for all his valuables.

4. You take advantage of the beverage service

“We do offer some fantastic wines,” Staines said, “but I would try not to overindulge on alcohol. It’s just really dehydrating.”

While it can be tempting to go straight for the booze (especially if it’s free) to celebrate the start of your vacation, drinking alcohol will do you no favours onboard an aircraft.

It might be better to skip the Champagne.

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It might be better to skip the Champagne.
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Ranglen/Shutterstock

Lucas Paluch of the Lean Traveller Guide previously told INSIDER: “During the flight, you lose a lot of water from your body due to dry, air-conditioned air in the plane.

“Researchers show that during a 10-hour flight you lose from 1.6 to 2 liters of water – it’s about 4% of water in your body. If you skip drinking enough water, soon you will feel fatigue and your head will start to ache.”

Read more: 10 mistakes you’re making when ordering drinks on a flight

What’s more, the alcohol may have more of an effect on you in the air than it would on the ground.

“When on a plane, the barometric pressure in the cabin of a plane is lower than it normally is,” Dr. Clare Morrison, from online doctor MedExpress, told HuffPost UK.

“This decreased pressure means that the body finds it harder to absorb oxygen – this can produce light-headedness or hypoxia. In other words, the lower level of oxygen in your blood means that you may seem more drunk in the air than you would on the ground after consuming the same amount of alcohol.”

Instead of alcohol, Staines recommends mixing chia seeds into a bottle of water and bringing that onboard.

“Chia seeds are really good because they’re packed with Omega 3,” he said.

“They also fill you up and help you absorb the water more. Because they’ve got omega 3 in, they’re really good for your brain function and I think that really helps when you’re tired.”