How do I fly comfortably in economy class? Not easily, given I am 6′5″, 200lbs, and don’t fit nicely into economy class seats! Still, as someone who flies more than 100,000 air-miles a year, there are a few things I do to make flying in economy class more comfortable.
1. Whenever possible, get an “Economy Plus” or “Extra Legroom” seat. Doing this requires extra payment, but it is well worth it for a relatively tall guy like me.
2. When an Extra Legroom seat isn’t possible, get an Economy Exit Row or Bulkhead seat. Again, usually requires extra payment, but if you have a disability you can ask the gate agent for a bulkhead seat.
3. Choose a Window or Aisle Seat when you buy your tickets. Either type of seat will give you more side-to-side legroom than a middle seat.
4. Forget work. Trying to type on your laptop in a regular economy seat is next to impossible. If you need to answer e-mails, do it on your smartphone.
5. Bring creature comforts. I always carry an inflatable neck pillow and noise cancelling headphones with me. For overnight flights, I bring my own travel blanket. For long flights, I’ll bring my Kindle or a paperback book.
6. Fully charge your tablet, smartphone and other devices before boarding the flight. Don’t assume you’ll be able to charge on the plane, as not all airplanes have outlets.
7. Download the airline’s app to your smartphone before boarding the flight. The airline’s app will give you real-time updates on your flight, and (in some cases) allow you to watch TV & movies on your flight through their WiFi.
8. Get a bottle of water and a favorite snack before boarding. Staying hydrated actually makes you more comfortable as you fly! And given the flight attendants only come through the cabin a small number of times in Economy Class, having your own water and a snack is important.
9. Have a separate smaller bag just for things you’ll need on the flight. In my laptop bag, I have a smaller “ditty-bag” that contains a smartphone recharge cable, a recharge battery (in case the plane doesn’t have outlets) and my noise cancelling headphones. It also has any medications that I need to take while on the flight. Instead of rummaging through my laptop bag for cables, I just take out the smaller ditty-bag and it has everything I need.
10. Finally, get Status and avoid Economy Class. By mostly flying on one airline, I rack up the frequent flyer miles and gain status with the airline, which results in free upgrades, meaning I can avoid flying in economy class in the first place!
I hope these tips help, and happy flying!
© Les Jordan: travel blog – The road Les traveled