Clever ways to make your economy seat feel like first class

We all know economy class isn’t always that great to fly but it beats having to go by boat! But seriously, it can be quite an uncomfortable expensive no matter how great the airline is. Not all of us can afford a business class seat or an upgrade, so how can we ensure we don’t have a terrible time onboard?

There are a number of ways to do this without spending a fortune – here’s 10 we’ve found!

1. Pay to use the lounge

Ever look longingly into the special business lounge and wish you could go in? Well, you can. Many airlines will allow you access to the business class lounge without needing to purchase a business class fare. Most international airport business lounges offer comfortable seating, snack options and shower facilities.

2. Order the special meal

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Want the best meal you can have on an economy flight? Order the special meal when you book your ticket. The special meal (i.e. vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free etc) is typically fresher than the other snap frozen meals and frequent travellers agree it tastes better. Some airlines even offer to option of upgrading to a fine-dining meal designed by chefs for a nominal fee.

3. Buy an inflatable foot rest

Having your feet slightly raised on a flight not only aids circulation, but it can reduce the risk of swelling and joint pain too. They also make an economy flight feel much more relaxing!

4. Invest in good headphones or ear plugs

These will be a Godsend on a cramped, long haul flight so do not forgot your noise-cancelling headphones and ear plugs. Loud noises can ruin the chances of a relaxing flight so put in your headphones or ear plugs and forget those noisy babies.

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5. Dress for comfort

Word of warning: do not wear jeans! Wear loose-fitting clothes – baggy pants, a light top and a pashmina scarf, along with slipper socks.

6. Bring your own snacks

If plane food is not for you, or you want some refreshments in between meal service, purchase some luxury chocolates or snacks in the duty free shop to take with you on the plane.

7. Take a good travel pillow

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This might seem obvious but a good travel pillow will really make a difference and hint, a good travel pillow does not have beans! Opt for a memory foam travel pillow or one with neck and side support.

8. Look for free full rows OR choose a better seat

If you book during an off-peak time, there’s a good chance you could have a bit of an empty flight. Once everyone is seated, keep an eye out for full rows with no passengers and ask if you can move. Otherwise, you can ask when you check in.

If you can pick your seat prior to your flight, check out SeatGuru before you do – it shows the best seats on every flight route in the world based on reviews.

9. BYO blanket

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Flights can be cold and blankets aren’t always provided, or are used by every Tom, Dick and Harry. Airlines tend to fold them up after a flight and put them back in plastic without washing. Bring your own light blanket so you can snuggle up.

10. Keep some toiletries on hand

Pop some face spritz, under eye gel, tired eye drops, moisturiser, lip-balm, face wipes and a toothbrush and toothpaste into a small bag that you can access easily. Just a quick freshen up will make you feel all the better.

Tell us, what else do you do to make yourself more comfortable on a long haul flight?