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12 travel hacks for having the most comfortable flight ever

12 travel hacks for having the most comfortable flight ever

It’s something that most budget travellers suffer from: a love/hate relationship with flying.

On the one hand, flights get us to exciting places we’ve never been before, offering us new areas to explore and a choice of destinations at our fingertips.

But let’s be real here. Flying is not fun. In fact, it could be categorised as one of the most unenjoyable experiences we put ourselves through.

Seriously, how many times have we walked through the business class section, death-staring those rich businessmen for their seats that actually recline and their delicious looking in-flight meals, while we make our way back to the overcrowded, understaffed, stuffy, dark metal coffin that is cattle class?

Budget travellers (such as myself) can’t afford the luxury of anything other than economy, so we’ve got to do everything can to make the best of this horribly uncomfortable experience. Here are my travel hacks for having the most comfortable flight ever!


Travel hacks for having the most comfortable flight ever

Hacks for some cattle-class comfort

1. Choose your seats wisely. For long-haul flights, certain aircrafts will have a few rows of seats at back of the plane that have extra room on the window seat (check out the last 3 rows of a 747-400). If you get the seats at the very back, you’ll also have the added benefit of not having a toddler kicking the back of your seat for the duration of the flight, and you don’t have to ask two people to move every time nature calls.

2. Travel with someone you can spread out on (if possible). Make sure you pick seats when you book or via online check-in so that you’re seated together.

3. Order special meals to get your food first. I request vegetarian meals on full service airlines. It’s a great feeling when you get your meal comes out first, and everyone around you stares with envy while they wait another 15 minutes for their own meals.

4. Dress comfortably, within reason. You’ll look like an idiot walking through the airport in your pjs, but there are ways you can dress somewhat classily and still be comfortable too. Check out this rad infographic by Girl vs Globe on how to dress for a flight.

5. Place a pillow behind your lower back. Ergonomics are basically forgotten by airlines, who have so kindly shaped their seat to curve my back in a way that’s sure to have me develop Scoliosis. Back pain can be lessened by placing a pillow (which are usually provided unless you’re flying with a budget airline) behind your lower back.

Travel hacks for having the most comfortable flight ever

Special meals make meal time fun

Hacks for getting sleep

6. Use your normal method of getting to sleep, whether it be hot chocolate, herbal sleeping pills, a shot of whiskey, or watching a doco. For me, a glass of red wine and reading a book with my head resting against something will have me out like a light.

7. Block out noise and light with ear plugs and an eye mask. These two items make it feel as though you’re just in a dark room instead of a crowded, noisy aeroplane.

8. Neck pillows. Need I say more? I know these look incredibly dorky and take up precious bag space, but you can get inflatable ones, allowing you to hide your dorkiness from view until the last minute. These pillows prevent your neck from sitting in uncomfortable angles and allow you to sleep upright.

9. Get a lounge pass or hotel room and have a shower and a massage during a stopover on a long-haul flight. It might seem like an unnecessary expense, but it works wonders for making you sleep better on the second leg of the flight. My friend Roxanna swears by this method!

Travel Hacks 1

Travelling as a couple has its benefits

Hacks for preventing jet lag

10. Start adjusting your body clock a day before you depart. By staying up late or going to bed early, the day before, that jump between time zones will be slightly less traumatising.

11. Stay hydrated. The conditioned air in the aircraft cabin is incredibly dry, and dehydration will make your body feel worse after landing. Make a mental note to accept water every time it’s offered to you throughout the flight.

12. Don’t give in to tiredness when you arrive. Stay up as late as you can before your normal bedtime. Going to bed too early or taking a long nap during the day will just stuff up your sleeping pattern even more!

Have you got any hacks to add? How do you make the most of cattle class? Share your tips with us in the comments!


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Ashlea Wheeler

Blogger & Photographer at A Globe Well Travelled
I'm Ashlea, an excitable Australian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

17 Responses to “12 travel hacks for having the most comfortable flight ever”

  1. Iida-Emilia

    Thank you for these tips! I absolutely hate flying because I’m so scared of it. There’s no way I could sleep in plane ever ever ever 😀 But I think these tips help me to feel more comfortable during the flight.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I’m with you there, Iida-Emilia. Sleeping on planes in near impossible for me too, especially if the flight is turbulent!

      Reply
  2. Alex Conomos

    My trick is to be the last on the plane and make a beeline for the back row which is almost always empty. That’s the best way to secure yourself up to 4 seats, a lifesaver on long haul flights.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s a good one! I’m pretty sure it’s because they usually save the last row for any unaccompanied minors (so that the staff can keep an eye on them) but if there aren’t any on the flight then the row will be kept available!

      Reply
  3. Mima Isono

    I always have a good read with me whenever I fly. It keeps me busy and shift my focus to something else more interesting during a day flight.

    I once order a vegetarian meal on the flight but then the stewardess skipped me for ice cream and chocolate. I could not protest and I was too shy to ask for ice cream when vegetarian sticker was on my seat 🙁

    Reply
    • Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)

      That’s too bad! But don’t feel bad about it. I know plenty of vegetarians who eat ice cream and chocolate. I always thought that was more of a vegan thing. Either way, I don’t think a flight attendant would judge…and now I’m wondering what airline you used where you got ice cream and chocolate! 🙂

      Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s odd – usually the only difference with the meal requests is the main meal, and everything else stays the same. Unless the meal was ordered as vegan instead of vegetarian? You should have spoken up about it Mima! You deserve chocolate and ice cream!

      Reply
  4. Sabine

    Great list of travel hacks for a comfortable flight. I also always chose my seat very wisely to be able to have a chance of having a free extra seat next to us. It does not always works out but it is worth the try.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Nice one Sabine, the old seat selection trick works a lot of the time! Not always, but it’s definitely worth a try 😉

      Reply
  5. Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)

    Awesome advice! I’ll just add that for the neck pillows, if your luggage has that strap at the top where you can hook another piece of luggage to it, use that to hold your neck pillow! It’s the perfect size for it on my bag. I have also used the neck pillow for my lower back. You aren’t kidding, those seats need a large bump right there!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s a good one, no need to take up precious luggage space! I have no idea who designed those seats but they obviously had some sort of curved back. They’re horrible for ergonomics!

      Reply
  6. Elisha

    Thanks for these hacks they will definitely be useful for my next trip! I just went to Marrakech (http://leeshloves.com/exploring-marrakech/) and I am close to investing in one of those neck pillows since I am incapable of sleeping upright haha – do they actually work? PS. Veggie meal hack is also SO true, I’m actually veggie but I feel so smug when mine comes out first lol. Love your blog!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      They’re actually surprisingly comfortable! I also love that smug feeling of getting our veggie meals first 😛 Thanks Elisha!

      Reply
  7. Melissa at GirlTripping.com

    Great tips! The pillow behind the back actually makes a world of difference! The same tips applies for sleeping in a car on a road trip. Also, the memory foam neck pillows are wayyy better than the normal foam. Plus you can smush them in different ways depending on where and how you’re sleeping.

    I love the tip about ordering special food to get it first. I wrote a post on hacking the business class travel experience and I used the same tip, but for a different purpose. Some people don’t even know you can get other meals! But every now and then I go full on diva and call ahead for my special meal. #girlboss. haha

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Ooh I’ve never tried one of the memory foam neck pillows, better give them a go!

      Haha I’m glad I’m not the only one who hacks the special meals order, I looove getting my meal before everyone else 😛

      Reply

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