22 Tips to Survive Long Haul Flights in Economy

Are you planning to fly on your upcoming vacation? Well, that is a great idea. Overall, the most effective way to survive a long-haul flight without being bored to death is to first watch a movie and wait for the free meal (assuming your airline offers one). That’s 2–3 hours down. Once you eat, you can fall into a comfortable food coma and sleep for the middle of the flight, anywhere from 3–8 more hours.

Depending on the length of your flight and airline, the crew generally serves another meal or snack a couple of hours before landing and turns the lights up for the service. Wake up, watch another movie and have the second meal which kills 2–3 more hours.

Traveling is a great learning and I got a lot of lessons from my travel experiences in the world. It started when I was looking for cheap flights and was able to find it. Instantly I went through an article which was about the ways to make the economy class flight like a first-class.

It got me all attention and then I read the tips given in that article. Let me share with you, my economy class experience literally was like a first-class thing. That was great learning. In this blog, I'm giving you all those tips I have read and experienced. You will literally have a very different and pleasing experience in flight.

how to survive long flights in economy

Here are some of the tricky things to know about your flight experience. You can easily enjoy the first-class privileges in your economy class flight.

1. Start Searching Special Packages

Sometimes you find the first class flights in an economy class budget. What else do you need? This is a trick to find the tickets and packages at the last minute. I have experienced it multiple times and now I regularly use last-minute packages. It is something that most travelers don’t know.

Grab the first-class packages now on the rates of the economy. Where are you moving to? Find the best, but last-minute family packages, you will get your ideal package I’m sure.

2. Travel Pillow is Important

If your bottom gets sore on a flight, take the pillow they give you and try to find an extra. Put them on your chair but leave room for your tailbone to not touch the seat (basically try as if you are sitting over the edge of a ledge). Ideal for long journeys, an inflatable neck pillow will help you sleep better and can be deflated to take up less space at other times.

It is important to carry a travel pillow for a more comfortable traveling experience. There are many types of travel pillows. Take the pillows you are comfortable with. Check online for the pillows with a number of online sellers or visit a nearby shop, you will have a variety of travel pillows for you and your family. Without this, you will not be comfortable either on short or long haul flights.

Especially if you are flying with kids, you must pack the special travel pillows with you to make them comfortable. This idea would get you a very comfortable travel experience.

3. Inflate Foot Rest

There is an option to use during your flight experience. There is a footrest to make you comfortable during flight. Most of the people don’t know how to use it but I came to know it first when I was traveling to Thailand. It was Thai Air and I was having a tremendous flight experience in its economy class.

So keep your foot on rest, it would make your travel experience more comfortable. You can ask the aircrew to inflate it for you if you can't inflate it. The flight attendant would be happy to help you as most of the airlines now have very kind, professional, helping, and cooperating staff.

4. Move Your Seat Back

Do you want to lay down and sleep during a long haul flight? Ask the flight booking manager to book the seat that is easy to move back. Actually here the ethics come.

Some travelers don’t like to be disturbed and don’t allow you to move back your seats. You at that moment have to cooperate and take care of others. This is also a lesson I learned through various experiences traveling to many places on earth. If you and your fellow traveler are mutually fine with your seat moving back, then move on.

It is good to ask the fellow passenger first, and then move. To fix any problem, talk to the flight attendant. They will help you out to be on the seats where nobody is on your back, then you can easily lay down on your seat to have a sleepy, and pleasant experience throughout your flight.

5. Blankets and Masks are for your comfort

Make it more comfortable bringing your own blanket or ask the flight attendants to bring one for you. Thai, Qatar and all the big names in the air industry have good quality pillows and blankets for the passengers.

Don’t rely on them, Bring your own pillows and blankets with you. Remember, the blanket and pillows should be compressible according to your carry-on bag. Don’t overburden your luggage sets. The Rakuten marketplace is your source for great deals on premium luggage. Shop the Rakuten marketplace for great deals on luggage from names you trust like Samsonite, Delsey, Travelpro, and more.

Also, buy the soft face masks for your eyes or full face. To avoid the light in the flight, it would help you out.

6. Get More Space in Economy Class

Yes, you read that right. You might be a bit surprised to know that you can get more space even when you are traveling economy class but how? There are websites that very few people know about. They can provide you with real time information of your flight seats.

You can find everything from customer reviews to photos to even inside information such as whether the seat has extra leg room or whether the seat recline or not. Such information can come in handy. You can also get valuable insights such as Boeing 767 has fewer middle seats so if you are planning to book a seat in that airplane and want more space, you are less likely to get it.

When you are seated at a window seat and if there is a black triangle symbol just above your seat, then congratulations, you are on the ‘William Shatner’s seat. This is just a visual marker to identify the window/seat that gives the best possible view of the wing.

7. Stay in The Middle

Some travelers might go for the premium option and travel business or premium while others might prefer to save a few bucks on travel and go for more pocket friendly options such as economy class. It is highly recommended that you find a middle ground because traveling economy class means that you have to make a few compromises and traveling business class means that you will have to pay much more.

Spend some time online comparing flight options, do your research and you could find a premium package that cost a few hundred dollars more than economy. Choose one of these options as it provides you business class features at a price of a economy class and for a traveler, there is nothing better than that.

Before you fall asleep, make sure your seat belt is visible over your blanket or sweater. If you are in the aisle seat, advise the passengers next to you beforehand to climb over you in the event of a turbulent bladder.

On most planes, the arm rests on the middle seats in coach can be flipped up to give you more room, but those on the aisle, can't. Or can they? It turns out that in about 80% of planes, there is a secret button on the underside of the arm rest toward the back, which when pressed releases a latch and allows it to be raised. Voila!

8. Compression Socks

Since you are sitting for such a long period of time, they increase circulation to your ankles and keep the blood flowing, reducing your risk of clots. If you don’t want to be a shoe-less weirdo when you deplane, invest in compression socks. They can be found anywhere from Amazon to your local Walgreens.

9. Face Moisturizer and Eye Cream

No more than 3.4 oz of course. When you are at 30,000 feet, you’re skin dries out fast. Every couple of hours apply a face moisturizer and eye cream to keep skin hydrated and feel refreshed.

Drink LOTS of water and get up and walk every hour, avoid drinking liquor. Eat your own food (healthy food low in sodium) airplane food is super high in sodium and you tend to blow up/bloat, on the plane, especially if you’re not drinking enough water. Try and stay awake as long as possible BEFORE boarding your flight so that you can sleep on the plane and wake up on time wherever you’re landing.

Make sure you drink tons of water after landing as well - It helps with jet lag.

10. Extra meal

Airline food is not known to be delicious or even appetizing, especially in economy class. The portion is getting smaller. And if you are still hungry, it would not hurt to ask for extra food, just be sure to ask nicely, not to make any demands. Often times they have leftover meals, but keep in mind that the leftover meals may or may not be what you want. You may specify what you want, but be prepared not to get it.

11. Duty free

Pack snacks and chocolates from home/duty free, don’t buy it from in the aircraft, it’s expensive. Know what you are allowed to bring in and out of the country, do not buy a million cigarettes on duty free and think you will bring them all if there is a restriction in the country you are going to. Pork and alcohol may be issues for Muslim countries, among other things, UAE is very anti voodoo type items.

12. Try not to check a bag

If you can avoid checking a bag, you will not only be able to bypass all the other types that have to wait for their luggage, but you will pass customs, you can take a taxi before the line arrives, and generally move faster throughout your journey. In addition, lighter suitcase adds to your budget with the money saved on checked baggage fees.

Have everything out of your pockets, take off your belt, sweater, jacket BEFORE you reach screening, come on you know its coming. Shove whatever you can in your carry on bag. Have that laptop or tablet out. The above means wear shoes that slip off easily and maybe better fitting pants. Tag your bags with your name, address and phone number.

13. Mark your checked baggage as fragile

If you can not help yourself and you need to check a bag, mark it as "Fragile". This should not only ensure that your bag is handled with care, but also that it occupies a prominent place in the cargo and is first removed from the aircraft, which means that your bag is one of the first bags on the baggage retrieval area.

14. Check your flight status

You should also check the website before leaving to make sure your flight is operating on time and you can see what Gate it is leaving from.

Knowing about possible delays earlier will allow you to adjust your plans as needed. This is a huge help in anticipating weather delays, and the app has equally good or better information than the terminal monitors. Board early if you have a carry-on. This is annoying but necessary. Finding overhead bin space is the most important airport battle worth fighting. If you have a carry-on, be that person who gets in line extra early.

Ideally you've avoided the bag check lines and qualify for expedited security, but the sooner you clear security, the more relaxed you will feel.

15. Drink a lot of water

Always packed a few snacks and always grab a drink before getting on the plane, just to not bug the steward or stewardess with how thirsty you get. It is IMPERATIVE to your overall health when you fly for a long period of time. Aside from the many known benefits, water helps prevent headaches and combat tiredness. Airplanes are known germ-zones and staying hydrated is staying healthy. The recommended amount is one bottle per hour.

Too much alcohol is not good. Don’t keep sitting for hours, take a trip to restroom even if you don’t want. Pre-order your meals otherwise you won’t get what you want, you will get what is left. Don’t make faces if the person next to you goes to the restroom too much.

16. Dress 'heavy' on planes

Your carry-on luggage will only hold so much, but what you can get into your pockets or wear on your body does not count against any size or weight restrictions. Do not pack jackets, big jumpers, boots or anything else that is heavy - wear them on the plane instead. That way you will be saving space and weight in your case and have another load of clothes and footwear to fall back on when you arrive.

You are on an airport runway not a fashion runway. Opt for leggings, sneakers, a t-shirt, and a warm sweater. Always bring a sweater because most airlines keep the planes cold. Also make sure you’re not wearing only a sweater in case your airline is the exception to this rule. Keep your shoes on! No one wants to smell that.

While going towards your seat, keep an eye on emergency exit, you might need it. If you’re traveling alone and somebody wants to switch seats, do it. Don’t do above mentioned point if you’re getting a non-preferred seat.

17. Entertainment

If you just have a laptop bag as your carry-on, keep it under the seat in front of you, it will be easy to access and safer than stuffing in the overhead box. Download 5 new games on your device, chances are you will get addicted to at least one of them.

Basically sit back, enjoy whatever entertainment they have. Noise cancelling headphones are very nice if that is your thing, and business class usually provides them. Use that magazine holder and check everywhere around you before you leave the plane to make sure you did not forget anything. Talk to people, you might make friends.

Stop talking if they seem disinterested. Bring your books/novels/kindle. Fully charge your devices and keep the chargers in carry-on. Take some movies of your choice. Set your watch to destination time as soon as you sit in the plane. Then try to sleep and eat accordingly. It helps a lot adjusting to local time.

18. Do not hurry to get off

Don’t stand up immediately after the aircraft stops, stand once the seat in front of you is emptied. Try to be the last on and do not hurry to get off, no reason to be cramped in an airplane longer than necessary and no reason to jump up and be standing the second the airplane touches the ground or the seat belt sign gets turned off, they still have work to do before those doors open.

19. Visa

Your visa actually does not guarantee your entry into the country, their border control still has authority. On that, make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your arrival, yes, some countries may deny you entry if it is not.

20. Pick up luggage on a connecting flight

If you are travelling International, with a change of flight mid-way, to reach your final destination, you need not collect your luggage at the airport where you have to change your flight. If you have one ticket with a change of flight, the agent will check you in for final destination. Which means you collect your baggage at the final destination.

But if you have 2 different tickets, one for airport mid-way and the other from that airport to the final destination, in which case you will have to collect your baggage at the mid-way airport and check in again to your final destination.

If your mid-way airport and the final destination is in the same country, and this involves change of flight mid-way, then you will have to collect your baggage and check in again for the final destination. If a bus is taking you to your aircraft from your gate, be the last to board the bus, you will be the first to get out and board the plane.

21. Layover is overnight in an airport

There are some awesome hotels that are even RIGHT IN the secure zone of many major airports across the globe… many that are physically connected to the airport itself, and of course, hundreds of thousands of airports that are within a very short mass transit or cab ride. Are you stuck in the airport? Do you have a long layover? Would you like to save money on an airport hotel by sleeping in the airport?

Invest in a GOOD quality eye mask. Not the cheap ones they give away for free from an airline, but one that COMPLETELY blocks out the light and lets your eyes move around to facilitate good REM sleep. A good inflatable seat cushion, could double as a pressure relief pad for your shoulder blades or hips.

Don’t change money at the airports, exchange rates are low. If your flight is delayed and you’re getting hotels and food passes, ask for a better hotel and more food passes, they will give it without a second thought.

If you’re traveling to any destination for the first time, find out the best way to get to your hotel beforehand. Most airports are well connected to public transport and taxis might take more money and time. Don’t forget to ask your hotel if they provide free pickup services or not.

22. Take advantage of deals and discounts

One of the very best hacks for making travel more affordable is to always take advantage of any deals or discounts that you come across. The fact is that when it comes to travelling abroad, if you want to cut costs and travel without breaking the bank, you can find some amazing discount codes online. Take your time looking around for deals and discounts before booking your trip, to ensure that you are getting as much for your money as possible.

Now tell me, what are your plans for the upcoming holidays?
Kalyan Panja