Economy Class Travel Tips

Let’s face it, most of us are still waiting for that highly coveted upgrade to a comfortabel flatbed at the airport check-in desk. In the meantime, here’s a few pointers that could help make your journey a little more comfortable whilst traveling in the far more realistic Economy Class cabin.

Economy Class on Cathay Pacific
Economy Class on Cathay Pacific
  • STURDY, COMPACT HAND LUGGAGE – Choose a hand luggage piece that provides good protection and space for all of your on-board essential items, whilst being compact and durable enough to fit under the seat in front of you. Not only will you avoid the battle for space in the limited overhead lockers, but it will also convert into a personal footrest to elevate your feet whilst seated which can make a big difference, especially if you are vertically challenged. I recently purchased a sling-style travel foot rest in Japan which is particularly good if  you like having your feet elevated. On the downside, it doesn’t work if you have long legs, or if you are sitting at an Emergency Exit or bulkhead seat, as you need to be able to secure the sling to the tray table in front of you.
Choose a good hand luggage bag
Sturdy and practical hand luggage
  • WEAR PRACTICAL OUTER LAYERS – A lightweight jacket, pashmina or cashmere cardigan is a good option to combat any of those erratic and sometimes cruel changes in cabin temperature. It’s also worth taking a change of top just in case you happen to spill anything during an unexpected bout of turbulence. Opt for style as well as practicality which means that you will look also look the part if you do happen to score that lucky upgrade.
  • OPT FOR SMART, COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR – It’s worth wearing flattering but practical shoes that you can easily slip on and off at any given moment. Some airport security checkpoints require you to remove your shoes before passing through and I’ve learnt my lesson to avoid wearing lace ups or any shoe that requires me having to sit down to put them back on again. If you do experience swollen feet after a long flight, choosing a shoe you can easily squeeze back into before leaving the aircraft is also an advantage.
  • PACK YOUR USB CABLE AND CHARGERS – Don’t forget to pack a USB cable in your hand luggage for inflight phone or tablet charging, as most new aircrafts have this facility built into their seating as standard. It’s always good to ensure that your mobile phone is fully charged on arrival at your destination.
In-flight charging is often available
In-seat USB charging stations are often standard
  • INVEST IN NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES – Although some premium airlines do provide noise-cancelling headphones in Economy Class as standard, if you want to thoroughly enjoy that latest in-flight Hollywood blockbuster or you favourite soothing tunes without any background noise disturbances, it’s worth investing in a pair of your own so you can plug them in, sit back and completely relax.
  • USE AN INFLATABLE OR MEMORY FOAM NECK-PILLOW. If your main priority during the flight is to catch some well needed shut-eye, an inflatable or memory foam neck-pillow is a great option. I’ve only ever been on one airline that has provided an inflatable neck-pillow as part of their in-flight amenity kit, and it really did make a difference on the quality of my much needed sleep at the time. It also thankfully prevents any embarrassment through unnecessary leaning or unexpected drooling on your neighbouring passenger, not to mention those sudden mid-sleep neck jerks that often occur at that crucial point right before fully drifting into that wonderful land of nod.
  • SLIP INTO SOMETHING MORE COMFORTABLE. As soon as you have settled into your seat, remove your shoes and change into a fresh pair of socks or travel slippers. Although most long-haul airlines do provide in-flight socks as part of their amenity kit, it’s not always guaranteed, so it’s worth taking a spare pair with you. I always carry my folding ballet pumps for this purpose, but I have on more than one occassion noticed a few savvy passengers sliding on a pair of swiped hotel slippers, which isn’t such a bad idea at all as you can dispose of them on arrival at your destination.
Folding slippers
Golden folding slippers
  • WIPE DOWN WITH A WET WIPE. Over the years I’ve seen in-flight tray tables being used for a lot more than simply eating a meal off (that’s another story altogether, but you can use your imagination) and unfortunately not all airlines are equal when it comes to cleanliness. I carry a small packet of disinfectant wipes in my bag to give my tray table a quick wipe down before use.
  • SPRITZ YOUR SEAT. Freshen up your designated seat with a quick spritz of a mini fabric/air freshener. I have managed to collect a few of these from various hotels I have recently stayed at and always keep one in my hand luggage. The fresh fragrance is reminiscent of freshly laundered bed sheets, subconsciously making me feel more relaxed and comfortable for the long journey ahead.
Fabric and Air Freshener
Fabric and Air Freshener
  • LIGHTWEIGHT MAKE UP – For the ladies, keep some face wipes and lightweight make up to hand to ensure that you arrive refreshed and ready to take on the world as soon as you step of the plane (all under 100ml of course).
Freshen up before landing
A quick spruce and spritz before arrival

Before you choose your seat, have a look at the SeatGuru app or website for a detailed seat plan of the aircraft you will be traveling on. Every seat has its pros and cons and this is the best way for you to pick the best seat available.

Do you have Economy Class travel tips to add?


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