An old Russian tradition has it that how you celebrate New Year’s Eve will dictate the course of the next 12 months. Well, as my key resolution for 2019 is to travel more and further, it seems appropriate that I spent this New Year’s Eve in a plane above the Atlantic.
Nope, it wasn’t intentional. I had to be back in the office on the second of January, so that meant I needed to be back in London by then too. As I was travelling quite far for Christmas – all the way from London to Argentina – the only way I could make it happen was to take an overnight flight on New Year’s Eve.
I was travelling with friends and at first, the thought of ringing in the New Year above the clouds made us nervous. What would it be like? What if there was turbulence at midnight? Would we be allowed to open a bottle of champagne? Can we play music? All of these questions were running through our heads right up until the end, but the thought of having the ability to celebrate New Year’s Eve in multiple time zones and to literally fly into 2019 – this seemed fun. So, let me tell you how to celebrate New Year’s on the plane.
1. One hour passed by – it’s the New Year somewhere and time to celebrate!
I’m Russian and New Year’s Eve in Russia is the biggest holiday of the year. If you’ve heard Robbie Williams’ song ‘Party like a Russian’, that’s exactly what happens, and we take it very seriously. So, my friends and I are always very excited about this holiday. I’ve watched a lot of videos of people partying on the plane on NYE and was imagining that this is exactly what would be happening – a big party for everybody. Not in our case, unfortunately.
Once the plane took off and the food was served, the lights got switched off and many people went to sleep. We were flying with an Italian airline and thought that maybe in Italian time zone there will be something, but… well, not really.
Did it stop us? Of course not. The key here is good prep – put on a cosy New Year/Christmas jumper to set the tone and buy your alcohol in advance. We opened a new bottle of wine (champagne was not allowed to be opened after the take off because of the pressure) in every single time zone we were entering the New Year in and when it was midnight in London we were right above the middle of the Altantic Ocean. No one will remind you it turned midnight somewhere in the world though, so don’t forget to set alarms for every ‘midnight’ you want to celebrate.
2. Make sure to arrive into the New Year fresh and clean
Long flights can get a bit messy if you don’t do it right. The key here is also good prep. Pack a moisturiser (my #1 essential), toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste, a hairbrush, warm socks, inflatable pillow, earplugs, and wet wipes. Staying hydrated is crucial and if you’re planning on drinking alcohol at midnight (or should I say midnights?), remember that it dehydrates you. Drink lots of water too if you want to enter the new year looking fresh.
My friends and I actually also did moisturising sheet face masks on the plane and bless face masks! A little bit of spa time is important, easy to do, and easy to pack but it’s also easy to scare a flight attendant or people around you… Oops.
On our second ‘New Year’s’, we realised that we hadn’t walked around the plane much and decided to check if in some other parts of it people were having more fun. We went to the back to find a group of teenagers that were 1) awake, 2) playing music, 3) chatting and playing games. We had some wine there too and through the curtain noticed that flight attendants also sat down to have their little celebration (not drinking, of course, though).
Download offline games on your phone and share the fun with others. I’m sure even if I didn’t have my friends around, I would be able to make some there. Trust me, people (the ones that stay awake) are very friendly and easy to approach on New Year’s Eve flights!
If you love to travel as much as we do, you would agree that some trips are totally worth sacrificing the more ‘down to earth’ New Year’s Eve celebrations and spending this holiday on the plane either coming back from your happy place or travelling to one. I can only hope that this flight will bring me luck this year because I made a lot of wishes at a lot of midnights on my way back to London.