Surviving a Long Haul Flight in Economy

Surviving a Long Haul Flight in Economy

So you have a long haul flight scheduled in “gasp” Economy. We’re talking regular Economy, not even Premium Economy.  You have visions of ripping your hair out or banging on the door for them to let you out. Let’s look into some ways that will calm your fears and allow you to make the most of your trip.

Preparing for the Trip

Sleep as little as possible before your flight, so that you can sleep as much as you are able while on the plane. I prefer flights that are really early in the morning (1 am for example) since I’m sure to be exhausted naturally. In the days leading up to your trip, drink lots of liquids and avoid foods that will bloat you such as broccoli and fatty or greasy foods.

Pack the right kinds of snacks. These include items that make you feel at home such as your favorite cookies. I’m really still a child so I usually pack fruit snacks. Avoid foods that will bloat you as well.

Create an amenity kit with items that will make the trip more enjoyable. I talk more about this in my post ‘Making Economy Feel Like First Class’. A few airlines provide complimentary amenity kits in Economy. These include Turkish Airlines and Emirates.

At the Airport

Make sure that your devices are charged. Most airport gates have chargers. It helps if you have a suitcase that charges your devices. If you do, make sure to remove the battery before boarding the plane.

During the Flight

Making Yourself Feel at Home

Wet-wipes are perfect to disinfect the seat and tray table. It’s easier to feel at home once your environment is cleaner.

A comfortable neck pillow is a must. I suggest a one with fiber filling or foam beads. One with a washable cover is also a good idea. I don’t recommend the inflatable kind as the plastic edges aren’t as comfortable.

I use a sleep mask on occasion, but usually the lights are off most of the flight anyway. It does help to add feelings of coziness, though.


Try to sleep as much as possible in the beginning of the flight, no matter the time zone. Don’t sleep for periods longer than 3 or 4 hours as a time. You won’t be sleeping in a lay-flat bed so your movement will be restricted as you sleep. Deep vein Thrombosis is real and you don’t want to risk it.

Eating and Drinking

Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Your skin and hair will thank you.

Lots of time can be killed while eating. This is why choosing a good airline is so important. Choose an airline that will give you so many snacks with your meal that you have food to eat in between the main meals. While it’s a good idea to bring your own snacks (I usually do), it’s nice to eat all the fancy cheese and cakes many airlines provide. I even suggest requesting extra food from the galley from time to time. It kills time and is a way to get some much needed exercise.

  • Don’t let them take your tray away with unopened food. Save the unopened food in your seat back pocket for later.
  • If eating on a plane with turbulence gives you indigestion like me, ask for Ginger Ale. If not available, try 7UP. I know they’re not the same but it worked for me.
  • They say to not drink too much alcohol on a flight because it will dehydrate you. Wine helps me sleep on flights. Just drink enough water while you are awake.

Relax and choose a good movie to watch while you eat. Throw in a couple 3 hours Bollywood movies and you’re all set.

The Takeaway

You can make Economy a more enjoyable experience with some planning and the right tools. A positive mindset is very important as well. Think of the reason for your travel. Remember that travel is a luxury many in the world only dream of. Imagine the first thing you will do in your destination.

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