So this first tip isn’t the easiest to follow and even I rarely do it…
Upgrade to Business class!
Now for those of us who can’t afford to upgrade to business class, or would rather use the money for more travel here’s the real tips!
How to survive a long haul flight in economy/coach
Keeping yourself well-stretched is very important for staying comfortable on a long flight. Simply roll your foot to stimulate blood flow and keep your ankles from getting stiff. The best stretch for me is standing up, planting my feet and twisting my upper body around to each side. This will really help your back and legs.
On the same note as stretching, getting up and moving is a great way to survive a long haul flight! This is even better when flying on a wide body plane. When flying on an overseas flight with two aisles I will often walk laps of the aisles from time to time to get the blood flowing and loosen up the lower body.
If you’re a sleeper I suggest you take the window seat. The benefit here is you can lean on the wall of the plane. Plus you wont be disturbed when others want to get up to go to the bathroom or stretch.
Added bonus to a window seat is the chance for killer views like the Northern Lights I saw flying from Seattle to Iceland.
If you’re like me and plan to do a lot of stretching and walking around during the flight I recommend you grab the aisle seat. The drawback of the aisle seat however is that you get bumped by people walking the aisle and have to move to let those seated next to you out.
The best seats for a long flight while still staying in the economy cabin class are the exit rows. These guarantee you extra leg room at the cost of now under seat storage and usually fixed armrests.
While it is helpful to sleep on your flight, especially when flying over many time zones were you will be landing in the morning. If you will be landing late at night sleeping on the plane can be counter productive as you will have trouble sleeping once you get to your hotel or other accommodation. Make sure you are also well rested before you board the flight!
Many airlines offer premium economy seats. These will usually have a little more leg room. Some may include free food and drinks as well. These seats usually cost just a little more than a standard economy ticket and can easily be upgraded to with miles. They’re worth the upgrade if you can’t afford business class or choose to spend your money on better things, like your destinations!
Make sure you take out the things you’ll need during the flight then store you bag in the compartment above your seat. For me this is my iPad, chargers and headphones. Avoid putting things under the seat in front of you! This only shrinks your leg room.
Often airlines make entertainment free on long flights (especially international ones). However it’s still a good idea to bring your own entertainment. I usually download movies and TV shows to my iPad to watch during the flight. I recommend you bring a pair of noise canceling headphones. A good book is also advisable as you can get some good reading time in on a flight. E-books save you tons of space! Pro tip: Don’t forget to download anything off the cloud before you go. On one of my long flights I had forgotten to download my music library to my new phone!
Traveling can be stressful but it’s always helpful to be friendly. If you’re flying alone it is helpful to talk to those around you, they may have experience in your destination that can prove useful! Also the flight crew can be your best friend. Flight attendants are people just like you who are much more likely to give you great service if you show a little courtesy. Give them a smile as they pass and say hello when you board the flight. I’ve had many great experiences with flight attendants including some free drinks as a thank you for being able to talk about American Football with a flight attendant from the USA who was working Europe to Europe flights. She was seriously missing being able to talk about it and was thankful for the friendly conversation.
Before arrival it’s always a good idea to freshen up. Something as simple as brushing your teeth, washing your face with a paper towel or changing your shirt can help you feel fresh and ready to take on your destination!
I hope these tips will help you on your next flight! If you have any tips to share about surviving a long flight share below in the comments.