I had a lot of long-haul flights in the economy before learning about travel hacking, and the bulk of them was uncomfortable and unpleasant. I eventually mastered how to endure lengthy flights in economy and make the most of the situation after years of long-haul travel. Long-haul coach travel might be terrible, but there are techniques to ensure a pleasant flight. Here are my best suggestions for surviving a protracted travel in the economy:
1) Get a decent seat
Although no seat in the economy is perfect, some are superior to others. Avoid being caught in the last row's middle seat in a seat that won't recline; I experienced this when I was a teenager. As soon as you reserve your flight, be sure to receive a seat assignment. Call the airline and ask them to give you the seats you want if you are unable to choose them online. I always check seatguru.com to find the seat map for my aircraft before choosing a seat. Bad seats will be identified by SeatGuru (for example seats with less legroom, close to the bathroom, etc.)Find a vacant seat next to you or an entire row to yourself. The back of the planes seems to have fewer passengers. If your airline has online seat maps, keep an eye on them and adjust your seating arrangement. Even if the seat was free when you checked in online, some passengers are assigned seats at the airport, so you can still be placed next to someone.
2) Prepare the entertainment for your flight.
The easiest method to spend time on a long journey, aside from sleeping, is entertainment, whether it be reading a book or watching a movie. Don't rely solely on in-flight entertainment; carry your entertainment instead. It's possible that the in-flight entertainment system won't operate or that the movie you're watching is one you already saw or don't like. (If you're looking for more travel-inspired entertainment suggestions, check out these top travel TV shows, travel films, and travel books.)
Use your Kindle or iPad to download shows, videos, and podcasts before your flight. Before your flight, make sure your electronics are fully charged, and carry any additional batteries or adaptors you might need. Since many airlines don't have power outlets in the economy, I always bring an external battery. I advise taking enough books and periodicals to last the whole of the flight if you like reading physical books rather than on an e-reader in case you are unable to fall asleep.
3) Layer your clothing and dress comfortably
Are you familiar with long-haul flight attire? Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing at all times. To conveniently take them off and put them back on when using the restroom, I also advise using slip-on shoes without laces. When taking off your shoes, keep your feet toasty and tidy by wearing socks. Even in the summer, I bring a sweater, cardigan, or fleece on international flights because I find most flights to be frigid. I always carry a scarf with me since it serves double duty as a blanket and a face mask if you forget to pack one. A scarf also keeps you warm. On 99% of my trips, I'm cold, but occasionally the cabin gets incredibly warm. To acclimatize to the temperature on the plane, dress in layers.
4) How to sleep well
To me, sleeping for the majority of a long flight in the economy is the key to survival. You can take a few steps to increase your chances of getting good rest on your lengthy travel. To drown out the noise and promote sleep, I advise taking earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. The best headphones I've found are these. Bring an eye mask if you have difficulties sleeping with the lights on. Additionally, you might discover that bringing your cushion or a neck travel pillow makes travel more comfortable. If you want to sleep after supper, don't eat a big meal. I usually travel with a toothbrush and toothpaste because I believe it helps me go asleep after brushing my teeth. I don't use sleep aids, but if you think you'll need one, you might want to pack some or think about taking melatonin on the journey.
5) Stay hydrated
Drinking a lot of water is one of my best travel recommendations for lengthy trips! Dehydration occurs more quickly when flying than it would at home since the air is so dry. I try to drink as much water as I can because I always feel so dehydrated on airplanes. I don't rely on the meager amount of what the flight attendants bring because it is so little. Every time the flight attendants offer drinks, I request 2 cups of water, and I also make sure to request some water when I get up to use the restroom. For the occasions when the flight attendants are seated, like takeoff and landing, I also bring my water on the aircraft. Bring an empty reusable bottle with you and fill it up before boarding, or purchase a bottle of water at the airport before your flight. Caffeine and alcoholic beverages should be limited or avoided as they dehydrate you.
In addition to being dehydrated, my skin and lips feel very dry when I fly. I always bring lip balm with me as well as moisturizer/lotion for my hands.
7) Watch out for Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Long flights carry a significant risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can affect anyone. Wearing compression socks on a lengthy economy flight may help avoid blood clots due to the confined space. This couple is adorable. Additionally, you can avoid DVT by drinking lots of water, exercising your legs while seated, getting up frequently, and taking walks around the cabin.
8) Stay healthy
Surfaces on airplanes can get quite grimy. I clean my tray table, armrests, and other surfaces with antibacterial wipes. These individually packaged wipes are my favorite brand. Additionally, remember to pack a face mask because most airlines and airports demand it.
9) Bring your food and snacks
Bring your food and/or snacks if you prefer healthier options or don't like the airline cuisine. Energy bars are a great alternative.
10) Place all of your carry-on luggage essentials in your carry-on.
Make sure to pack everything you'll require for a comfortable trip in your tiny carry-on bag so it can be quickly accessed while you're flying. I have a downloadable list of everything I need for a long-haul flight in my carry-on bag.