- Long-distance flights can feel endless sometimes, especially after a vacation or when you’re crammed in coach and traveling solo.
- I traveled with United Airlines from Guam to New York with stops in Honolulu and Houston. Including layovers, my total travel time was about 24 hours.
- I figured out how to make this trek more bearable by not relying on the airline to feed me, entertain me, or make me feel comfortable. I brought my own food, entertainment, and a comfy neck pillow.
- I also used the extra time during my layovers to walk around, making sitting still on a long flight much easier.
- Here’s how I endured 24 hours of travel.
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I arrived at the Guam International Airport at around 5:45 a.m. for my 7:40 a.m. flight to Honolulu. But I began preparing for my journey the night before.
On my way to Guam, United’s in-flight entertainment sometimes didn’t work for hours at a time. So I prepared for my flight by downloading movies and entire seasons of TV shows on my iPad’s Netflix app …
… and Amazon Prime. I downloaded a mixture of comedy and drama to ensure I could satisfy my entertainment cravings for the whole trip.
I arrived at the airport on Guam two hours before my flight. I don’t usually arrive at airports this early, but my uncle who travels to the states from Guam often insisted that I give myself some extra time.
And I may have needed the additional time if not for my Premier Access ticket.
I dropped an additional $20 for Premier Access on this leg of the trip, which gives United passengers access to a shorter check-in line and, in some airports, a shorter security line and priority boarding as well.
As you can see here, there was hardly a line for United’s Premier Access travelers on this particular January morning.
I was still glad I got to the airport early because there’s a lot to see at the Guam airport, like this marine life mural painted by Robert Wyland.
Exhibits throughout the airport showcase elements of Chamoru culture.
Having a Premier Access ticket also gave me a chance to spend a final few minutes with some of my Guam-resident family members that met me at the airport to say goodbye.
There was no Premier Access line at security, but the line was pretty short anyway.
Once I got to my gate, people were already lined up to board.
We had to go through customs as we entered the plane.
The sun was rising as I took one last look at Guam and boarded the plane.
The first leg of my trip was an eight-hour flight from Guam to Honolulu.
Although it’s a pretty long flight, traveling from Guam to Hawaii isn’t technically flying internationally, so United Airlines flights won’t provide a free meal. That’s why my auntie brought me Kings — a local favorite on Guam.
Source: In Flight Feed
I began my trip by eating breakfast and watching a dramatic TV series. I hoped a heavy meal would put me right to sleep.
And I was successful! I turned off the show I was watching and instead put on a familiar favorite to fall asleep to.
I woke up to Ferris Bueller singing Twist and Shout about an hour later.
At this point, I decided it was time for a bathroom break and to stretch my legs. I reluctantly bugged the sleepers to my right so I could get up.
First I went to the bathroom, where lotion and face mist were available.
I left the bathroom feeling refreshed from these products. This was the only leg of my trip that offered these amenities, but I suggest always checking when you’re on a long flight.
Next, I went to the large open space by the bathrooms to stretch.
I used this cushioned pad to help me stay balanced as I stretched.
When I got back to my seat, I continued to watch television on my iPad until I noticed the sun was setting.
At around the same time, Hawaii’s islands came into view. I just sat and enjoyed the view.
It got darker as we approached the airport, and I was glad I got to be in the air for the entire sunset.
When I got to Hawaii, I had to go through customs and then back through security, which took less than an hour.
My entire layover was almost three hours, so I had some time to kill. I decided to spend it on my feet since I was about to sit for hours.
I spent some time admiring the Cultural Gardens, which merge Chinese, Japanese, and Hawaiian cultures — three heritages that influence life in Hawaii.
Source: The Official State of Hawaii
Next, I browsed some of the stores at the airport. A store called From Hawaii with Love has a huge selection of souvenirs that don’t look like generic airport gifts …
… like this small bag collection, which features a pug that looks just like mine.
This flower shop sells fresh leis made from Hawaiian flowers.
While I was walking around the airport, I began to notice how sweaty I was getting.
I always get sweaty when I’m traveling through Hawaii …
… since parts of the terminals are outdoor covered spaces.
During the day, you can see the Ko’olau volcanic range from this view.
Source: Google Maps
Since I planned to get sweaty, I brought a fresh T-shirt and undergarments to change into in Hawaii.
So when I was done walking around outside, I headed to the women's bathroom ...
... and left feeling fresh.
My last stop before my gate was this market to pick up a water bottle.
At less than $4, this was the cheapest brand of water in stock.
When I got to my gate, I took a seat by the window.
When I saw people were already lining up to board the aircraft, I knew I had succeeded in killing time in Hawaii.
In no rush to get on the plane I was about to spend seven and a half hours on, I let most of the other passengers board before me.
While I was waiting, I stretched my legs one last time.
Since we flew through the night, the plane was pitch black for most of the trip. Most people seemed to fall asleep, but I couldn't.
The lights were only turned on as flight attendants handed out drinks and free snacks, which were Stroopwaffles, Biscoff cookies, or tiny pretzels.
During this flight, I really wanted to get up stretch, but I mistakenly booked another window seat for this viewless flight, and the people sitting next to me seemed to be in deep slumber. So I did some seated yoga poses in my chair.
I knew it would take me less than 24 hours to get bored of watching TV, so I also downloaded issues of the New Yorker on my iPad.
While I was reading, I noticed the sun began to rise.
I continued to read fiction after fiction in 2019 issues of the New Yorker while I watched the sunrise.
When we landed, the sun was up ...
... and I was in Houston for the final leg of my trip. I had a two-hour layover in Houston.
After taking a long walk around the airport to get my blood flowing, I grabbed a taco and some chips and queso near my gate.
Then I headed to my gate.
I snagged a seat by the window to take a look at the plane I was about to board.
At this point, I realized how absolutely exhausted I was from a whole day of traveling. I've always dreamed of sleeping all the way through a flight so it feels like you arrived in the blink of an eye.
After boarding, I got cozy, closed my eyes, and hoped for the best. I woke up in New York three hours later in what felt like just a few minutes. What a perfect way to end my trip.