I took a 10-hour flight from Los Angeles to Paris. Here are the 8 biggest mistakes I made on my trip.

·7 min read
mistakes made on a flight
I had no idea that Air France gave out free wine on its long-haul flights to every class.Kirsten Acuna/Insider
  • In July, I spent 10 hours on a direct flight from Los Angeles, California to Paris, France.

  • I made a number of mistakes before, during, and after deboarding my flight, like choosing a window seat.

  • Here's what else I messed up so you can conquer any long journeys in the sky.

I naively chose a window seat, not realizing that I'd have a tough time getting up if I needed to go to the bathroom.

window seat Kirsten Acuna
I was initially excited about this window seat. Little did I know there really aren't any pros to having a window seat on a 10-hour flight.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

Typically, I love the window seat on a plane. Not only do I enjoy resting my head against the side of the plane, but I like looking out at the clouds and the layout of the landscape below, especially after takeoff.

Unfortunately, we were told to have our windows shut for most of the flight so others could rest, so it really didn't even matter if I had a window seat or not.

That wasn't the worst part, though. I never considered that the two people next to me may both fall asleep, making it impossible for me to get up if I needed to go to the bathroom or stretch my legs.

I don't really like bothering others if they're sleeping, so I wound up glued to my seat for the majority of my 10-hour flight.

On the way home, I had an aisle seat. Though the experience was better, I would recommend not choosing an aisle seat that's too close to the bathroom, as I did, since a line winds up forming next to you and people may lean on or knock into your chair.

I didn't pack a sleep aid or melatonin to help me fall asleep.

French melatonin c'zen
I wound up buying a French brand of melatonin that I found in a pharmacy abroad called C'Zen for the flight back.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

My biggest regret was not thinking ahead to purchase a sleep aid.

My flight left at 1:15 p.m. PT on Wednesday, July 6, and was set to land in Paris at 9:05 a.m. local time. However, the 10-hour flight would make my brain believe it was closer to 11:05 p.m. the night before.

With a big Thursday ahead of me, I knew I could really use some rest. Unfortunately, I couldn't fall asleep at all on the flight there, in part because I was so excited about this trip.

While I don't like taking melatonin often, this would've been helpful to help my body adjust to the massive time difference. I made sure to acquire some in France for my journey home and was able to sleep for the majority of that flight.

I didn't realize the wine offered on Air France was free.

wine on Air France
You get a decent-sized wine bottle on Air France.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

Unless you're sitting in first class, you usually have to pay for alcohol. When I saw my neighbor ask for wine and didn't see any payment, I wondered if I was missing out on a perk I didn't know about. (I was.)

I was shocked to learn after my flight that Air France offers alcoholic drinks free of charge on long-haul flights to all classes.

I regretted not asking for a bottle of red because it may have helped me fall asleep.

I made sure to make use of this perk on the way home.

I failed to make sure a few audiobooks and music playlists were downloaded to my devices before arriving at the airport.

downloaded music on iPhone
I really messed up.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

I was pretty excited to listen to summer playlists from my friend and brother, but I failed to make sure the music on my iPhone was available offline.

While I successfully downloaded a few shows to my iPad, I also had a technical issue when trying to start up an audiobook.

This was a real rookie mistake on my part.

I wore cool, fun, and uncomfortable shoes on the flight instead of ones that provided comfort.

mickey shoes vs sandals
I failed to change out of my uncomfortable, but cool-looking, Vans for my comfy sandals before boarding. This was another rookie mistake.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

Generally, I wear really comfortable sneakers or flip-flops while traveling on planes.

However, I wanted to have a cool pair of Mickey Mouse shoes with me to wear to Disneyland. They're a bit bulky and I didn't want to risk putting them in my checked luggage in case my bag got lost, so I decided to wear them through security.

I figured I could change into my yoga-padded Sanuk sandals on the plane if the original shoes became uncomfortable. Wrong.

I forgot how tough it is to get your feet out of laced-up Vans. After taking my seat on the plane, I painfully realized there was no way I was going to be able to contort my body to maneuver out of these shoes without elbowing the person next to me.

I should've set time aside to change out of my shoes once I got through security. I decided to own my mistake and leave my shoes on without causing a scene.

I brought my own blanket and didn't even need it.

Air France pillow and blanket combo
Having never traveled internationally, I wasn't expecting to be treated to a pillow and a blanket in economy on Air France. They rocked.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

I had never flown internationally so I always assumed blankets and pillows were things you only received if you sat in first class.

As a result, I packed a thin blanket in my backpack in case I got cold.

I was blown away when I first got to my seat and saw that Air France provided everyone on board with pillows, blankets, and free headphones to use — things that are usually reserved for first class on domestic flights.

I didn't wind up using the blanket because I never got chilly, but if I realized Air France had these amenities, I wouldn't have brought my own blanket and saved some space in my bag.

I shouldn't have brought an unfinished coffee onboard because there wasn't a holder large enough for the cup.

Air France cup holder
I was dumbfounded that this was the size of the cup holder at my seat. It wasn't large enough to hold anything really.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

I instantly regretted this decision when I arrived at my seat and realized I wasn't going to have a cup holder large enough to hold my beverage.

As a slow drinker who never wound up finishing the coffee, I had to hold it in between my legs for most of the flight.

I should've changed the moment I got off the plane instead of racing over to border control in France.

Kirsten outside of Disneyland Park
I went over to Disneyland Paris in the clothes I wore on the plane. At least they were Disney-themed.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

By the time I got off the plane in Paris, I had been in the same outfit for over 15 hours.

I had a change of clothes in my carry-on duffel bag but decided to head straight for border patrol after going to the bathroom because the line was fairly long.

I figured I could change once I arrived at my hotel. Unfortunately, my check-in wasn't for a few hours.

The moment I arrived, before I realized what was happening, my bags were taken to the luggage storage to be dropped in my room later.

I was finally able to change Thursday evening — about 27 hours or so later — when I got back to the hotel.

Though I had a good day, I felt a bit gross being in the same clothes for so long.

 

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