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6 Instant Upgrades: Long haul flights

With this kit, even the lengthiest in-plane jaunts will be a breeze

For many of us, few things are as bothersome as a long haul flight.

Sure, it gets us where we need to go, but travelling in cattle class – legs wedged awkwardly under our chins while hulking, snoring brutes elbow us repeatedly from either side – is never a pleasant experience. And that’s before they bring out the “food”.

But never fear, for the wonderful world of technology is ready to step in and alleviate your airborne woes. Here are six gadgets and accessories that will make even the longest flight pass by more comfortably:

1) AKG N60 NC headphones (£230)

1) AKG N60 NC headphones (£230)

There’s one aspect of air travel you can’t avoid: noise. With the constant hum of the ventilation system, the clattering of trolleys and the inevitable crying baby, a cabin is never a place of serenity.

Unless you’ve got these noise-cancelling headphones from AKG, which do away with background babble while also delivering a balanced performance for music and films. With 30 hours of battery life, the N60 NCs will keep things quiet for all but the longest of journeys.

Buy a pair of AKG N60 NC headphones (for £230) here

2) Bluesmart suitcase (£350)

2) Bluesmart suitcase (£350)

The ultimate carry-on case for well-travelled tech-heads, the Bluesmart comes with a dizzying array of tricks, most of which are accessible via the free iOS/Android app.

Tere’s a 10,000mAh battery pack, an integrated scale so you don’t exceed weight limits, proximity sensors that auto-lock it when you walk away, and a GPS tracker to ensure you’ll know exactly where it’s ended up. It’s built from aluminium and polycarbonate too, so it’s both strong and lightweight.

Buy a Bluesmart suitcase (for £350) here

3) Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (£110)

3) Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (£110)

Real books are wonderful, but they’re not the best travelling companions. Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite, on the other hand, can hold thousands of books while slipping into a pocket.

Its battery lasts for weeks and the backlit screen – ideal for night reading – is an absolute wonder. Yes, the new Kindle Oasis might be smaller, lighter and brighter, but if you need a more affordable e-reader for the rough and tumble of a holiday, the Paperwhite is still a great choice.

Buy an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (for £110) here

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4) Manhattan Portage Harbor backpack (£320)

4) Manhattan Portage Harbor backpack (£320)

The Harbor may have been designed for cycle couriers weaving through New York traffic, but it works just as well as hardy hand luggage.

Its tough but thin nylon is totally waterproof, and it comes with a two-year warranty, plus a pull-out organiser for a 15in laptop. Heavy padding and a waist stabiliser make it a comfy carry too, so there’s no need to dread those long walks to the gate.

Buy a Manhattan Portage Harbor (for £320) here

5) Zendure Gen A5 portable charger (£50)

5) Zendure Gen A5 portable charger (£50)

If you’re lucky, your seat might have a socket for charging your phone, tablet or e-reader – but if not, Zendure’s A5 power bank is the perfect backup.

With a 16,750mAh capacity and twin USB ports, it smartly recognises power requirements of different devices and divvies up its 10.5W output accordingly.

At just over 320g, the A5 is a tad too portly to call pocketable, but on the plus side it’s built like a tank, meaning you can toss it in your luggage without having to worry about it getting crushed.

Buy a Zendure A5 (for £50) here

6) NeuroOn Intelligent Sleep Mask (£320)

6) NeuroOn Intelligent Sleep Mask (£320)

Want to catch up on some Zs? The NeuroOn will serve you better than a travel pillow.

Syncing wirelessly with iOS and Android devices, this smart mask uses coloured LEDs and light therapy principles to adjust your body’s biorhythm, give you an energy boost or gently wake you by simulating sunrise.

There’s even a jet lag blocker, shifting you to your destination’s timezone so you arrive feeling ready to take on the world, not spend three days in bed weeping.

Buy a NeuroOn sleep mask (for £320) here

Flight Hacks

Get the cheapest flight: You probably know about comparison sites like SkyScanner, but also try to book around 60 days before you plan to travel. Any earlier and prices may be higher.

Bag the best seat: Once you have your flight details, head to SeatGuru to find out which seats have the best legroom and width, plus those that have charging points.

Prep your reading list: Yes, some planes have Wi-Fi, but just in case yours doesn’t (or the price is extortionate), use the Longform app (£free, iOS) to save some offline reading.

Don’t pay for in-flight Wi-Fi: Mobile apps such as Gmail, Maps and Search avoid in-flight Wi-Fi charges – probably because the services allow access to Google’s servers for analytics purposes.

Profile image of Sam Kieldsen Sam Kieldsen Contributor


Tech journalism's answer to The Littlest Hobo, I've written for a host of titles and lived in three different countries in my 15 years-plus as a freelancer. But I've always come back home to Stuff eventually, where I specialise in writing about cameras, streaming services and being tragically addicted to Destiny.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, drones, video games, film and TV

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