How to Survive a Long Flight in Economy Class

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The thought of sitting in a confined space surrounded by strangers and all their contagious pathogens for hours on end with no escape is enough to drive anyone mad. But with a little preparation and mindfulness, one can transform a long dreadful ordeal into just another delightful fragment of the journey.  

Have a variety of entertainment options ready

Whether provided by the airline or preloaded on your phone or tablet, having a vast selection of movies, books, or music accessible offline is a great way to keep you content while helping to pass the time.

Seat Selection

Seeing as your seat is where you’ll be confined to for the duration of the flight, it’s probably one of the most important factors to your long flight survival so you’re going to want to consider your options and choose wisely. The window seat is great when you want a headrest for sleeping, though the aisle seat can be preferable for easy access to the bathrooms and walking around when you need to get up and stretch. And those with long legs may also want to consider sitting in a row with extra leg room. Whatever your preference, these small factors can make all the difference in your overall comfort.

Maximize comfort

Everyone knows that if there are two words that don’t go together, it’s comfort and economy class. We board the plane accepting the fact that the next few hours of our lives aren’t going to be the most pleasant. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to make ourselves the most cozy as possible. For maximum comfort, dress in layers of lightweight, loose clothing. Bring a scarf or shawl to double as a blanket or pillow or eye mask. Wear lightweight slip-on shoes and comfy socks. Compression socks are even better, ideal for maintaining a healthy flow of blood circulation in your legs (which is extremely crucial in preventing life threatening blood clots).   

Walk around the plane

Speaking of blood circulation, getting out of your seat and walking around the plane every couple of hours is important and has a number of benefits. It’s good for your blood flow, muscles, and sanity. Sitting for extended periods of time isn’t healthy for our minds or bodies, so be sure to move around throughout the flight.

Sleep

Sleeping is easily the best way to get through a long haul flight. But if you find it difficult or maybe impossible to fall asleep in airplanes, there are steps you can take to assist in your relaxation. Use earplugs and an eye mask. If you have the space, bring a small pillow and blanket or alternatively you can check ahead of time to see if the airline provides them for you. Sleep aids (such as sleeping pills or melatonin) are also an option, though be mindful of any potential risks or side effects. If all else fails, try having one or two alcoholic beverages.

Stay hydrated

Airplanes are notoriously dehydrating places. Make sure you drink lots of water throughout the flight. It’ll help you relax, your skin will feel better, and you won’t emerge at your destination feeling like a walking corpse. Bring a water bottle (either reusable or bought from the airport) so you can stay hydrated without having to keep bugging the cabin crew for refills in that miniscule plastic cup.

Chat up your neighbor

This could be a great way to pass the time and ease your mind, and possibly even gain you a new friend in the process. Unless your neighbor is very obviously trying to sleep, try engaging in conversation and see what happens. They might have some interesting stories to tell or maybe they happen to be traveling to the same places you are. You could get a new travel buddy or maybe just some valuable advice. You never know unless you try.

Get some work done

Long hours of uninterrupted peace is the perfect opportunity to be productive. Write in your journal, work on your resume, get caught up on that project, or maybe just work on planning your travel itinerary. It’s not often that we’re presented with long periods of free time, why not take advantage?  

Embrace it

On the other hand, why not savour the free time and do nothing? Take these few hours that you don’t have to worry about anything and just be. Relax, meditate, be zen. Just enjoying the moment and being in a positive state of mind can work wonders to make the best of any situation.

Stokie says:

“If you have an android phone, download the Showbox app. It has heaps of tv shows and movies that you can stream or download, and it’s free. Best thing ever.” Angel, 29, Media

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