September 9, 2017
Five Tips for Making Economy Flying Less Painful
Everyone wants to fly in First Class and Business Class, and there are plenty of ways to book those seats using miles and points. But we still have to put up with plenty of Economy flying. While the objective of First Class is to maximize luxury, the objective of Economy Class is to minimize pain. Here’s five tips to survive Economy:
Empty Your Seat Pocket
Nearly every airline stuffs magazines and advertisements into the seat pocket in front of you. It’s especially unbearable when they’re those one inch thick magazines. The first thing I do when I get to my seat is put all that junk (minus the safety card) in the overhead bin. That typically gets you an extra inch of legroom.
Air on airplanes doesn’t have the same moisture as it does on the ground. This slowly dehydrates your body. To combat this, make sure you drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your flight. It also helps to bring a bottle of water on board with you. You don’t want to be stuck thirsty with no flight attendant in sight.
Download the Airline App
Airline apps give you a tremendous amount of information about your flight. You can often track where your plane is coming from, you can see if it’s delayed, you can pull up a mobile boarding pass, you can immediately see a gate change, etc. Having that information at your fingertips means you don’t have to look around for the giant flight boards at the airport or wait in line to speak to a customer service agent.
Six Essential Supplies
- Eye mask: You might want to sleep when the cabin lights are still on. Putting on an eye mask makes everything instantly dark.
- Noise cancelling earphones: Some people like noise cancelling headphones, I prefer earphones as they’re less bulky. Flip the switch and they block out most of the cabin noise. I use the Q20 from Bose.
- iPad: Bring a tablet loaded with movies and games. The in-flight entertainment could be broken, or it could have horrible movie options. By bringing your own entertainment, you won’t care as much.
- Book: Bring a book in case your tablet’s battery dies. And because books are awesome.
- Sweater: Airlines sometimes keep the cabin temperature low, and if you’re in Economy they’ll likely give you a borderline useless ultra-thin blanket. Aside from keeping you warm, you can also fold up your sweater and use it as a pillow.
- Don’t book Basic Economy: Basic Economy is the most restrictive Economy ticket you can buy. It’s often a bit cheaper than a regular Economy ticket, but comes with a host of restrictions that make the flying experience much more painful (no seat assignments, no ticket changes, no carry-ons etc). Avoid these fares.
Where to Sit
Always pick your seat assignment online as soon as you book your flight. When flying during the day, I like to book an aisle seat. This lets me stand up and stretch as well as go to the bathroom whenever I want. I hate having to awkwardly ask the person in the aisle seat to get out almost as much as I hate getting stuck if the aisle passenger is sleeping. When flying overnight, I like to book a window seat. This lets me rest my head by the window to sleep more comfortably, and I usually don’t have to get up on an overnight flight (if I manage to fall asleep) so that eliminates the climbing over the aisle seat passenger problem.