Let’s face it, most of us are still waiting for that highly coveted upgrade to a comfy flatbed at check in, but in the meantime here’s a few pointers that can make your journey that much more comfortable whilst traveling in the far more realistic Economy Class.
- Choose a hand luggage bag that is sturdy, spacious but compact enough to fit under the seat in front of you. Not only does it avoid the largely unavoidable battle for space in the limited overhead lockers, but it also converts into a personal footrest to elevate your feet whilst seated, which can make all the difference. I recently purchased a sling-style travel foot rest in Japan which is actually really good if you like having your feet elevated. On the downside, it doesn’t work if you are sitting in an Emergency Exit or bulkhead seat, as you need to be able to secure it to the tray table in front of you.
- Wear a smart pashmina or cashmere cardigan so you’re ready for those erratic and sometimes cruel changes in cabin temperatures. Keeping that outer layer of clothing simple yet stylish also means that you will look the part if you do happen to score that lucky upgrade.
- Wear smart but comfortable shoes that you can easily slip on and off. Some airport security checks 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. A sensible shoe is also much easier to slip back onto swollen feet after a long flight.
- Remember to pack a USB cable in your hand luggage for inflight phone charging to ensure a fully charged phone on arrival at your destination. Most new aircrafts have this facility built into the seating as standard.
- Although some premium airlines do provide noise-cancelling headphones in Economy Class as standard, if you want to really enjoy that latest inflight Hollywood blockbuster 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 you really need to get some sleep. I’ve only ever been on one airline that has provided an inflatable neck-pillow as part of their in-flight amenity kit and to be honest, I realised how much of a difference they actually can make in terms of comfort. A good travel neck-pillow plays a very important part in avoiding the dreaded drool on your fellow passenger’s shoulder or any sudden mid-sleep neck jersk as you drift off into the land of nod.
- Remove your shoes and change into a fresh pair of socks or travel slippers. Although most long-haul airlines do provide socks as part of their amenity kit, I’ve recently been quite surprised at how many don’t, so it’s worth taking a pair with you. I have a pair of folding ballet pumps that I like to change into once I’m seated but I’ve noticed a few passengers bring along a pair of swiped hotel slippers for such journeys, which isn’t such a bad idea at all.
- Over the years I’ve seen in-flight tray tables being used for a lot more than simply eating 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.
- 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).