The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Long Flights?

The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Long Flights?

The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Long Flights?

Long haul flights can be grueling. Being stuck in a cramped seat for 10+ hours is uncomfortable and tedious. However, there are ways to make your journey more pleasant. As an experienced travel writer and frequent long-haul flyer, I've compiled my top tips for surviving those marathon trips in the air. Follow this advice to arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to explore.

Table
  1. Preparing For Your Flight
    1. Book your seat wisely
    2. Choose comfortable clothes and shoes
    3. Be strategic with your packing
    4. Get good rest before your trip
  2. Settling in On Board
    1. Get situated and organized
    2. Make the most of in-flight amenities
    3. Have a mental plan and routine
  3. Sleep Strategies
    1. Prepare your space
    2. Time it right
    3. Relax your body and mind
  4. Arriving Refreshed
    1. Best Ways to Fall Asleep on a Long Flight
    2. Best Sleep Position for a Long Flight
    3. Ear Plugs and Eye Masks: Essential for Sleep on a Long Flight?
    4. Dealing with Crying Babies or Noisy Passengers on a Long Flight
    5. What to Do If You Can't Sleep on a Long Flight
    6. Best Ways to Adjust to a New Time Zone After a Long Flight
    7. Staying Hydrated and Energized After a Long Flight
    8. Light Therapy: Can It Help with Jet Lag?
    9. Stretching and Exercises to Recover from a Long Flight
    10. The Ultimate Post-Flight Checklist: What to Do to Feel Refreshed and Ready to Explore Your Destination
    11. How to Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) on a Long Flight
    12. Best Ways to Stay Healthy and Avoid Getting Sick on a Long Flight
    13. What Should I Do If I Feel Unwell During a Long Flight?
    14. Turbulence Tips: How to Stay Calm and Manage Anxiety During Turbulence?
    15. Staying Connected: Can I Use My Phone and Internet on a Long Flight?
    16. What Are the Best Healthy Snacks and Meals to Bring on a Long Flight?
    17. Should I Avoid Drinking Coffee or Alcohol on a Long Flight?
    18. How to Stay Hydrated Without Relying on Airplane Water?
    19. What Are the Best Options for Vegetarians and Vegans on Long Flights?
    20. Dealing With Dietary Restrictions: How to Navigate Airline Meals With Allergies or Specific Needs?
    21. Best Strategies to Beat Jet Lag Before and After a Long Flight
    22. How to Choose the Most Comfortable Seat for a Long Flight
    23. Essential Items to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag for a Long Flight
    24. TSA Regulations for Liquids and Electronics on Long Flights
    25. How to Stay Hydrated and Avoid Dehydration During a Long Flight
    26. Best Neck Pillows for Long Flights
    27. Noise-Canceling Headphones: Worth It for Long Flights?
    28. Best In-Flight Movies and Shows to Download for a Long Flight
    29. Books vs. E-Readers: What's the Best Way to Read on a Long Flight?
    30. Stretching and Exercises to Avoid Stiffness and Discomfort on Long Flights
    31. Best Strategies to Beat Jet Lag Before and After a Long Flight
    32. How to Choose the Most Comfortable Seat for a Long Flight
    33. Essential Items to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag for a Long Flight
    34. TSA Regulations for Liquids and Electronics on Long Flights
    35. How to Stay Hydrated and Avoid Dehydration During a Long Flight
    36. Best Neck Pillows for Long Flights
    37. Noise-Canceling Headphones: Worth It for Long Flights?
    38. Best In-Flight Movies and Shows to Download for a Long Flight
    39. Books vs. E-Readers: What's the Best Way to Read on a Long Flight?
    40. Stretching and Exercises to Avoid Stiffness and Discomfort on Long Flights

Preparing For Your Flight

Proper planning and packing is key for a comfortable long flight. Here are some strategies to implement in the weeks and days leading up to your trip:

Book your seat wisely

  • Aim for an aisle seat so you can get up and stretch your legs without having to climb over other passengers. Being able to access the aisle easily also means shorter waits for the restroom.
  • If possible, book seats with extra legroom. The few extra inches can make a huge difference in comfort. Exit row seats typically have the most legroom.
  • Consider premium economy or business class tickets if within your budget. The wider seats and legroom make enduring long flights much easier.

Choose comfortable clothes and shoes

  • Wear loose, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Avoid restrictive clothing.
  • Bring layers so you can adjust to the temperature. Airplanes can run cold.
  • Wear slip-on shoes that are easy to kick off, allowing you to relax shoeless. Compression socks can improve circulation on long flights.
  • Travel in soft, stretchy pants you can sleep in, along with a t-shirt and sweater. You want to be comfy.

Be strategic with your packing

  • Pack light. Bring only essentials to avoid having to wrestle with lots of luggage. You'll have to store your carry-on under the seat, so don't overstuff.
  • Have travel-sized toiletries ready to minimize liquids. Refillable bottles can reduce waste.
  • Prepare entertainment options like downloaded books, movies, music, and podcasts. Don't count on in-flight entertainment.
  • Pack snacks like trail mix, energy bars, and fresh fruit in case you don't like the in-flight food options. Always bring a refillable water bottle.
  • Carry earplugs, eye mask, and neck pillow so you can sleep. Noise-canceling headphones also help block disturbances.
  • Don't forget chargers for your devices. In-seat power ports allow you to stay juiced up.

Get good rest before your trip

  • In the days before your flight, focus on getting adequate sleep. You'll arrive better rested.
  • Avoid red-eye flights that depart late at night. Sleeping will be tough and you'll land exhausted.
  • Cut back on alcohol and caffeine which can dehydrate you and disturb sleep cycles. Drink extra water.
  • Eat light, healthy meals so you don't feel bloated and sluggish on the plane.
  • Exercise regularly leading up to your trip so your body feels energized. Yoga is great for flexibility.

Settling in On Board

Once you've boarded and settled into your seat, implement these tips for physical and mental comfort during your journey:

Get situated and organized

  • Stretch your legs by walking around before your flight takes off. Don't stay seated any longer than necessary.
  • Organize your carry-on so what you need is easily accessible during the flight.
  • Adjust air vents above your seat to control air flow. Staying cool and dry makes a big difference.
  • Put on comfortable footwear and clothes you can move around in.
  • Drink water to stay hydrated in the dry cabin air. Avoid alcohol and salty foods which dehydrate.

Make the most of in-flight amenities

  • Request pillows and blankets to make yourself cozy for sleep. A little extra padding helps.
  • Utilize in-flight entertainment like movies, TV shows, or games. Downloading the airline's app lets you access more content.
  • If offered, partake in in-flight meals. Walking around during food service gives you a chance to stretch your legs.
  • Take advantage of mood lighting settings that airlines provide to align with sleeping and waking hours.
  • Connect to in-flight WIFI (if available) to access the internet and stay occupied. Just know it's usually not free.

Have a mental plan and routine

  • Listen to guided meditations to clear your mind and relax. Calm your thoughts.
  • alternate between activities - watch a movie, read a book, do a puzzle - to avoid boredom.
  • Chat with your neighbor, especially if you're anxious about flying. Having someone to talk to makes the time pass quicker.
  • Map out sleep periods and try to align with night time at your destination so adjusting is easier.
  • Take short walks up and down the aisle every couple of hours to stretch and stimulate blood flow. Just be courteous of other passengers trying to rest.
  • Stay positive! Remind yourself that the flight will end and focus on the exciting destination ahead.

Sleep Strategies

Quality rest is essential on long flights. Fortunately, there are things you can do to set yourself up for the best sleep possible:

Prepare your space

  • Once cabin lights dim, put on eye mask and earplugs to block out disturbances.
  • Adjust your headrest, pillow, and recline your seat to get as close to lying down as possible.
  • Cover up with a blanket to stay warm and cozy. Airlines keep cabins cool and dry for ideal flying conditions.
  • If you have an empty seat next to you, utilize the extra space to get even more comfortable.

Time it right

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol several hours before your desired sleep period as both can inhibit good rest.
  • Take short naps of no more than 30 minutes so you don't wake up groggy.
  • Hydrate well but limit fluids 1-2 hours pre-sleep so you aren't disturbed by the restroom.
  • Turn off screens an hour before sleep. The blue light inhibits melatonin production.

Relax your body and mind

  • Do light stretches to release tension from your muscles before you plan to sleep.
  • Engage in relaxing activities like listening to calming music to ease your mind.
  • If you can't sleep, try progressive muscle relaxation - tighten then relax muscle groups one by one.
  • Utilize meditation techniques like deep breathing to clear your head before attempting sleep. Focus on your breath.
  • Avoid trying too hard. Remind yourself that rest will come even if you can't fall asleep quickly. The key is staying relaxed.

Arriving Refreshed

Despite your best efforts, it's normal to feel a little disoriented when you first land after a long haul flight. Give yourself time to recover with these tips:

  • Hydrate and stretch once you disembark. Drink plenty of water and move your stiff muscles.
  • If arriving at night, go to bed early and sleep-in the next morning. Give your body time adjust to the time zone.
  • Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol your first day or two. Eat light, energizing foods.
  • Spend time outdoors to get sunlight and stimulate your circadian rhythms. Take short, gentle walks.
  • Take breaks from activities if you feel jet lagged. Listen to your body's needs. Be patient with yourself.
  • Stay hydrated, eat healthy foods, and maybe try melatonin to help regulate your sleep-wake cycle if needed.

Best Ways to Fall Asleep on a Long Flight

Falling asleep on a long flight can be challenging, but these strategies can help you catch some rest:

  1. Comfortable Attire:
    • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid tight shoes for better sleep.
  2. Neck Pillow and Blanket:
    • Bring a supportive neck pillow and a cozy blanket for added comfort.
  3. Adjust Your Seat:
    • Recline your seat slightly and adjust the headrest to find a comfortable position.
  4. Noise-Canceling Headphones:
    • Use noise-canceling headphones to block out ambient sounds.
  5. Relaxation Techniques:
    • Practice deep breathing or listen to calming music to relax your mind.

Best Sleep Position for a Long Flight

Finding the right sleep position is crucial for restful sleep on a long flight:

  1. Aisle Seat Advantage:
    • Choose an aisle seat for easier access and the ability to stretch your legs.
  2. Head Rest Position:
    • Adjust the headrest to support your neck and prevent strain.
  3. Lumbar Support:
    • Use a small pillow or a rolled-up blanket for lumbar support.
  4. Elevate Your Legs:
    • Place a small cushion or blanket under your feet to elevate your legs slightly.
  5. Experiment with Positions:
    • Try different positions until you find the most comfortable one for you.

Ear Plugs and Eye Masks: Essential for Sleep on a Long Flight?

  1. Ear Plugs:
    • Wear high-quality earplugs to block out engine noise and other disturbances.
  2. Eye Masks:
    • Use a comfortable, light-blocking eye mask to create a dark sleep environment.

Dealing with Crying Babies or Noisy Passengers on a Long Flight

  1. Noise-Canceling Headphones:
    • Invest in noise-canceling headphones to minimize disruptions.
  2. Choose Your Seat Wisely:
    • Opt for seats away from high-traffic areas or large groups.
  3. Earplugs and Eye Mask:
    • Have earplugs and an eye mask handy to create a cocoon of peace.

What to Do If You Can't Sleep on a Long Flight

  1. Stay Relaxed:
    • Focus on relaxation even if you can't sleep to reduce stress.
  2. Entertainment Options:
    • Engage in calming activities like reading or watching a movie.
  3. Hydration:
    • Stay hydrated but avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol.

Best Ways to Adjust to a New Time Zone After a Long Flight

  1. Adapt to Local Time:
    • Adjust your activities to the local time as soon as you arrive.
  2. Sunlight Exposure:
    • Spend time outdoors to help regulate your circadian rhythm.
  3. Stay Hydrated:
    • Hydrate well and avoid excessive caffeine or heavy meals.

Staying Hydrated and Energized After a Long Flight

  1. Hydration:
    • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the flight.
  2. Nutrient-Rich Snacks:
    • Pack healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, or energy bars.
  3. Light Exercise:
    • Stretch and move around periodically to prevent stiffness.

Light Therapy: Can It Help with Jet Lag?

  1. Natural Light Exposure:
    • Spend time in natural light to regulate your body's internal clock.
  2. Light Therapy Lamps:
    • Consider using light therapy lamps to simulate natural sunlight.

Stretching and Exercises to Recover from a Long Flight

  1. Neck and Shoulder Stretches:
    • Rotate your neck and stretch your shoulders to relieve tension.
  2. Ankle and Leg Exercises:
    • Perform seated ankle circles and leg stretches to improve circulation.
  3. Yoga Poses:
    • Incorporate gentle yoga poses to stretch and relax your body.

The Ultimate Post-Flight Checklist: What to Do to Feel Refreshed and Ready to Explore Your Destination

  1. Freshen Up:
    • Take a shower or use refreshing wipes to freshen up upon arrival.
  2. Rehydrate:
    • Drink water and electrolyte-rich beverages to combat dehydration.
  3. Light Meal:
    • Have a light, nutritious meal to replenish energy.
  4. Outdoor Time:
    • Spend time outdoors to help reset your circadian rhythm.
  5. Limited Napping:
    • Limit naps to short durations to avoid disrupting nighttime sleep.

By incorporating these strategies into your travel routine, you can enhance your comfort, sleep quality, and overall well-being during and after a long flight.

How to Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) on a Long Flight

  1. Move Regularly:
    • Perform in-seat exercises and take short walks to promote circulation.
  2. Hydrate:
    • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and maintain blood flow.
  3. Compression Socks:
    • Wear compression socks to support leg circulation.
  4. Ankle Exercises:
    • Rotate your ankles and flex your feet regularly to stimulate blood flow.
  5. Choose Aisle Seats:
    • Opt for aisle seats to make it easier to stretch your legs.

Best Ways to Stay Healthy and Avoid Getting Sick on a Long Flight

  1. Hand Hygiene:
    • Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer to minimize germ exposure.
  2. Stay Hydrated:
    • Drink water consistently to support your immune system.
  3. Avoid Touching Face:
    • Refrain from touching your face to reduce the risk of germ transmission.
  4. Air Ventilation:
    • Use the overhead air vent to maintain airflow around your seat.
  5. Boost Immune System:
    • Prioritize a balanced diet and consider immune-boosting supplements.

What Should I Do If I Feel Unwell During a Long Flight?

  1. Alert Cabin Crew:
    • Inform cabin crew if you're feeling unwell for prompt assistance.
  2. Stay Hydrated:
    • Drink water to stay hydrated and alleviate symptoms.
  3. Rest and Relax:
    • Take short breaks to rest and avoid overexertion.

Turbulence Tips: How to Stay Calm and Manage Anxiety During Turbulence?

  1. Follow Crew Instructions:
    • Listen to and follow the instructions provided by the flight crew.
  2. Deep Breathing:
    • Practice deep breathing exercises to stay calm.
  3. Distraction Techniques:
    • Engage in activities like reading or listening to music to distract yourself.

Staying Connected: Can I Use My Phone and Internet on a Long Flight?

  1. In-Flight Wi-Fi:
    • Check if the airline offers in-flight Wi-Fi for internet access.
  2. Airplane Mode:
    • Keep your phone in airplane mode to avoid interfering with aircraft systems.

What Are the Best Healthy Snacks and Meals to Bring on a Long Flight?

  1. Fresh Fruit:
    • Pack sliced fruits like apples or berries for a refreshing snack.
  2. Nuts and Seeds:
    • Bring a mix of nuts and seeds for a healthy source of energy.
  3. Vegetable Sticks:
    • Carrot and cucumber sticks are convenient and nutritious.
  4. Greek Yogurt:
    • Single-serving Greek yogurt cups provide protein and probiotics.

Should I Avoid Drinking Coffee or Alcohol on a Long Flight?

  1. Moderation:
    • Consume coffee and alcohol in moderation to prevent dehydration.
  2. Hydration Priority:
    • Prioritize water intake over caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

How to Stay Hydrated Without Relying on Airplane Water?

  1. Bring Your Water Bottle:
    • Carry a reusable water bottle and ask flight attendants to refill it.
  2. Hydrating Foods:
    • Consume hydrating foods like water-rich fruits and vegetables.

What Are the Best Options for Vegetarians and Vegans on Long Flights?

  1. Special Meal Requests:
    • Request a vegetarian or vegan meal when booking your flight.
  2. Snack Options:
    • Pack plant-based snacks like nuts, granola bars, and dried fruits.

Dealing With Dietary Restrictions: How to Navigate Airline Meals With Allergies or Specific Needs?

  1. Advance Notification:
    • Inform the airline of dietary restrictions when booking and remind the crew.
  2. Pack Snacks:
    • Bring your safe snacks to supplement the provided options.

Best Strategies to Beat Jet Lag Before and After a Long Flight

  1. Adjust Sleep Schedule:
    • Gradually shift your sleeping and waking times a few days before travel.
  2. Stay Hydrated:
    • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the flight to combat dehydration.
  3. Natural Light Exposure:
    • Spend time outdoors in natural light to help regulate your circadian rhythm.
  4. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine:
    • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake, as they can disrupt sleep patterns.
  5. Nap Strategically:
    • Take short naps strategically to ease fatigue without affecting nighttime sleep.

How to Choose the Most Comfortable Seat for a Long Flight

  1. Aisle or Window:
    • Choose based on personal preference; aisle for easier mobility, window for resting.
  2. Exit Row or Bulkhead:
    • Opt for extra legroom seats in exit rows or bulkhead for added comfort.
  3. Avoid Near Restrooms:
    • Prevent disturbances by avoiding seats near restrooms or galley areas.
  4. Consider Seat Configuration:
    • Check the aircraft's seat map for configurations that suit your preferences.

Essential Items to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag for a Long Flight

  1. Travel Pillow and Blanket:
    • Enhance comfort with a neck pillow and a cozy blanket.
  2. Hydration Essentials:
    • Carry a reusable water bottle and hydrating skincare products.
  3. Entertainment:
    • Pack headphones, a good book, or e-reader, and download movies or shows.
  4. Snacks:
    • Bring healthy snacks to stay nourished throughout the flight.
  5. Travel Documents:
    • Ensure passports, boarding passes, and travel documents are easily accessible.

TSA Regulations for Liquids and Electronics on Long Flights

  1. Liquid Limit:
    • Pack liquids in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less in a quart-sized bag.
  2. Electronics Screening:
    • Place laptops and large electronics in separate bins during security screening.

How to Stay Hydrated and Avoid Dehydration During a Long Flight

  1. Drink Water Regularly:
    • Consume water consistently throughout the flight to stay hydrated.
  2. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol:
    • Reduce intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can dehydrate.
  3. Use Hydrating Skincare:
    • Apply moisturizer to combat the drying effects of cabin air.

Best Neck Pillows for Long Flights

  1. Trtl Pillow:
    • Provides neck support with a unique wrap-around design.
  2. Cabeau Evolution Pillow:
    • Memory foam pillow with 360-degree support.
  3. BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow:
    • Offers chin support and can be worn in various positions.

Noise-Canceling Headphones: Worth It for Long Flights?

  1. Bose QuietComfort 35 II:
    • Industry-leading noise cancellation with excellent sound quality.
  2. Sony WH-1000XM4:
    • Premium noise-canceling headphones with customizable features.

Best In-Flight Movies and Shows to Download for a Long Flight

  1. Classics:
    • Catch up on timeless films or TV series you've missed.
  2. Series Marathons:
    • Download entire seasons of your favorite shows for binge-watching.

Books vs. E-Readers: What's the Best Way to Read on a Long Flight?

  1. E-Readers:
    • Kindle or other e-readers offer a lightweight option with access to numerous books.
  2. Books:
    • Physical books can be a nostalgic choice and don't require electronic charging.

Stretching and Exercises to Avoid Stiffness and Discomfort on Long Flights

  1. Ankle Circles and Toe Taps:
    • Rotate ankles and tap toes to improve circulation.
  2. Seated Leg Lifts:
    • Lift and extend legs while seated to engage leg muscles.
  3. Neck Stretches:
    • Gently tilt your head from side to side to release tension.

Best Strategies to Beat Jet Lag Before and After a Long Flight

  1. Adjust Sleep Schedule:
    • Gradually shift your sleeping and waking times a few days before travel.
  2. Stay Hydrated:
    • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the flight to combat dehydration.
  3. Natural Light Exposure:
    • Spend time outdoors in natural light to help regulate your circadian rhythm.
  4. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine:
    • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake, as they can disrupt sleep patterns.
  5. Nap Strategically:
    • Take short naps strategically to ease fatigue without affecting nighttime sleep.

How to Choose the Most Comfortable Seat for a Long Flight

  1. Aisle or Window:
    • Choose based on personal preference; aisle for easier mobility, window for resting.
  2. Exit Row or Bulkhead:
    • Opt for extra legroom seats in exit rows or bulkhead for added comfort.
  3. Avoid Near Restrooms:
    • Prevent disturbances by avoiding seats near restrooms or galley areas.
  4. Consider Seat Configuration:
    • Check the aircraft's seat map for configurations that suit your preferences.

Essential Items to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag for a Long Flight

  1. Travel Pillow and Blanket:
    • Enhance comfort with a neck pillow and a cozy blanket.
  2. Hydration Essentials:
    • Carry a reusable water bottle and hydrating skincare products.
  3. Entertainment:
    • Pack headphones, a good book, or e-reader, and download movies or shows.
  4. Snacks:
    • Bring healthy snacks to stay nourished throughout the flight.
  5. Travel Documents:
    • Ensure passports, boarding passes, and travel documents are easily accessible.

TSA Regulations for Liquids and Electronics on Long Flights

  1. Liquid Limit:
    • Pack liquids in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less in a quart-sized bag.
  2. Electronics Screening:
    • Place laptops and large electronics in separate bins during security screening.

How to Stay Hydrated and Avoid Dehydration During a Long Flight

  1. Drink Water Regularly:
    • Consume water consistently throughout the flight to stay hydrated.
  2. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol:
    • Reduce intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can dehydrate.
  3. Use Hydrating Skincare:
    • Apply moisturizer to combat the drying effects of cabin air.

Best Neck Pillows for Long Flights

  1. Trtl Pillow:
    • Provides neck support with a unique wrap-around design.
  2. Cabeau Evolution Pillow:
    • Memory foam pillow with 360-degree support.
  3. BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow:
    • Offers chin support and can be worn in various positions.

Noise-Canceling Headphones: Worth It for Long Flights?

  1. Bose QuietComfort 35 II:
    • Industry-leading noise cancellation with excellent sound quality.
  2. Sony WH-1000XM4:
    • Premium noise-canceling headphones with customizable features.

Best In-Flight Movies and Shows to Download for a Long Flight

  1. Classics:
    • Catch up on timeless films or TV series you've missed.
  2. Series Marathons:
    • Download entire seasons of your favorite shows for binge-watching.

Books vs. E-Readers: What's the Best Way to Read on a Long Flight?

  1. E-Readers:
    • Kindle or other e-readers offer a lightweight option with access to numerous books.
  2. Books:
    • Physical books can be a nostalgic choice and don't require electronic charging.

Stretching and Exercises to Avoid Stiffness and Discomfort on Long Flights

  1. Ankle Circles and Toe Taps:
    • Rotate ankles and tap toes to improve circulation.
  2. Seated Leg Lifts:
    • Lift and extend legs while seated to engage leg muscles.
  3. Neck Stretches:
    • Gently tilt your head from side to side to release tension.

By incorporating these strategies, you can enhance your comfort and well-being during long flights, making your travel experience more enjoyable and stress-free.

The key is remembering that surviving long flights takes some preparation and discipline. Implementing healthy habits leading up to, during, and after your journey will help you feel refreshed, allowing you to thoroughly enjoy your destination once you arrive! With the right strategies, even the longest flights don't have to feel unbearable.

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