How to Survive Long Flights in Economy

credit: Yay

Planning to go to a far-off destination on an economy flight? Learn about some essential tips that will help you survive the long-haul flight in economy class.

You have booked a flight to your dream destination. You’re short on cash so you went for the economy class. The day before the journey, you are done with the packing and ready to go on the trip. The next morning, you get up and go to the airport.

If it isn’t your first time flying in economy, you will know how hard long flights in economy class can be. However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. You can fly comfortably even in the economy if you know how.

1. Smart Seat Selection

airplane seats
Yay Airplane seats

Seat selection is essential if you want to fly comfortably in economy class. We recommend that you select your seat in advance when booking. Most airlines allow you to choose your seat when you are booking online.

Some prefer asking for the seat at the check-in, but this isn’t a good idea as the plane might be full and you might not get the seat that you want. You might have to pay extra for seat selection with some airlines, but if that means a comfortable flight, you should do it.

Some people prefer the window seat because it allows them to enjoy the view. However, during long flights view isn’t important. What’s important is that you choose a seat where you will be able to sleep comfortably, without any distractions.

2. Don’t Dress to Impress

When going on a long haul flight in economy, don’t dress to impress. Instead, choose comfortable clothing and dress in layers. Carry a jacket, sweater, or fleece with you as the cabin can go from hot to cold and back again.

Consider taking a scarf too because it can keep you warm and can also be used as a blanket. If you’re wearing sandals, make sure to keep a pair of socks with you in the bag.

3. Power Up

Charge your phone
MAKI Charge your phone

A day before the flight, charge your smartphone, tablet, and any other gadget you intend to take with you on the plane. Take all the chargers with you in a portable case so that you can keep all your devices powered up during the flight.

4. Stay Active While You Are at the Airport

Passengers before their flight at Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand
Yay Passengers before their flight at Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand

You have got several hours of sitting down to do once you get on the plane so don’t stay stuck on a seat while you are at the airport. Explore the airport and walk around before getting on the airplane. Check out the bookstore while you are waiting for the flight; you might just find your favorite book there waiting for you.

5. Stay Hydrated

You need to stay hydrated during the flight which means that you must drink a lot of water. Drinking alcohol before the flight or during it isn’t the best idea.

Also, avoid drinking soda or anything other carbonated drink during the flight or before it as they will make you feel bloated due to the change in the atmospheric pressure.

Your body and skin dry out much faster on the flight, as the air is very dry so we recommend you carry a refillable water bottle with you. You can also ask the flight attendants for water when your bottle runs out of it.

6. Take the Right Essentials with You

If you want to survive a long flight in economy, you need to pack the right essentials to use during the flight. Since your skin will feel dry during the flight, take a good moisturizer with you and apply it as soon as the plane takes off.

Also, take anti-bacterial wipes with you. Reduce the risk of picking up germs from the plane by using these wipes to clean your armrests, tray, seat belt, and even the toilet seat. A sanitized area will help you rest a bit easier during the long flight.

If you think you might need it, consider taking a seat belt extender with you. Especially on long haul flights, seat belts that are just a bit too short will really start to bother you. Flight attendants like to see you wear your seat belt at all times, even when sleeping. Therefore, it’s important to be able to fit in it comfortably.

A pillow and an eye mask are a must for a long flight since you’ll need a comfortable sleep to survive the long hours. You won’t be able to sleep comfortably if you don’t take a travel pillow and eye mask with you.

When choosing a travel pillow, don’t go for the most affordable or stylish one. It should make you feel like you are floating on a cloud. If it doesn’t, skip it. Go into shops and try pillows out instead of ordering one online. This way, you will be able to pick a comfortable travel pillow. If you are a frequent flyer, make sure to invest in a pillow that will stay with you for the long-haul.

In addition to the moisturizer, eye mask and pillow, you should also put a toothpaste and toothbrush (in case you intend to brush your teeth in the toilet of the plane), hand cream, nose spray, tissues and a facial cleanser in your bag.

Also, carry headache medicines and other pills that you might need to take during the flight. Women, it is a good idea to take tampons/sanitary pads if you think that you will get your period. 

7. Bring Some Snacks

Food served in economy flight isn’t too great, so bring your own snacks with you. You can stock up some foot at the duty-free area or a supermarket and bring it onboard. Protein-rich snacks like dried fruits and dry nuts are a good idea.

8. Walk Around

It is important to stretch often because sitting for hours isn’t healthy. Thrombosis is a major issue, and it gets worse with age. So every so often, get up from your seat and walk around the aisle. Ask for some water from the stewardess or just say hi – whatever – but avoid sitting for 10 hours straight. Don’t feel awkward walking through the aisles. You should be concerned about your health, not what others think.

9. Carry Noise-Cancellation Headphones

If people in the flight are speaking loudly or there is a crying baby-on-board, earplugs won’t do the trick. So take noise-cancellation headphones with you and play music or an audiobook to sleep peacefully.

10. Watch Something

Instead of relying on in-flight entertainment, bring your own entertainment. If you are interested in watching new episodes of your favorite series or a movie, download them to your device before traveling. It will help you pass the time and when you feel tired from watching the film, put on your mask, and try to sleep.

11. Bring Something to Read or Take Games

If you are traveling with family members or friends, bring a portable game like Scrabble or deck of cards. If you are traveling alone or are not interested in playing games or watching videos, then travel armed with books, newspapers, magazines or anything else that you want to read. This will help you pass the time on a flight.

12. Be the Last One to Board the Plane

If the flight isn’t full you might just be able to ditch your seat – even if you got the seat you wanted – and grab a whole row to yourself. This will give you the extra space to stretch your legs or sleep. You won’t know whether the seats are empty unless everyone is seated. So be the last one to board the plane. There is nothing as awkward as taking up another passenger’s seat and having to shuffle when they arrive.

13. Try to Get Over Time Zone Differences by Sleeping

Depending on where you are going, there may be time zone differences. You might be completely knackered due to the time difference when you reach a new destination. You can overcome time zone difference by sleeping during the flight. This can be hard because sleeping during flight doesn’t come easy to many people. However, if you follow all our previous tips, you might just be able to get a good sleep on the plane.

14. Be Nice to Everyone

Going nuts in economy class
Dragos Condrea Going nuts in economy class

Be nice to everyone during the flight even if you feel tired or irritated. You are on a long flight together and no one likes staying on a plane for a long time, so be pleasant to gate agents and other passengers. Put on a smile and don’t say anything to people who are talking loudly or keep on getting up from their seat. If you feel annoyed by others, just cover your eyes with the mask, put on headphones and try to get some sleep. The journey will soon be over.