How to dress up that economy flight

The reality is that economy air travel is the only way you can fly. The dream of upgrading to business, let alone first class, is just not within your means.

While you’re consoling yourself by thinking about the money you’re saving, consider these tips from Skyscanner that can help make economy feel that little bit more luxurious.

1. Lounge for less
When you pass an airport lounge, the passengers glimpsed through the privacy glass seem to ooze prestige. They have impressive buffet spreads, plush sofas, free wifi and … an open bar! Want the good news? Even if you’re not in first or business class, you can still enjoy the same perks by buying a lounge pass. It might cost as little as $30 in some airports outside of Australia. Being a frequent flyer can also grant you access.

2. Choose your seats wisely
What are your priorities when flying? Less noise? More space? A window seat will allow you to sit peacefully and not have people scrambling over you. Exit rows are winners in terms of space, but the seats don’t recline. If you want to get real specific, sites such as seatguru will help you find the best seat for the plane you’re on, rating everything from degree of incline to seat width.

3. Cosy up
Most travellers know to invest in a travel pillow, but how many know about inflatable footrests? They’re an often overlooked accessory, but can significantly boost your comfort level on long flights. Having your feet slightly raised helps with circulation and reduces the risk of swollen ankles and joint pain. Also put a wrap and some cosy socks in your hand luggage.

4. DIY amenity kits
So the folks in business and first class get some cool toiletries, but you can – and should – pack your own. Put these items in your own pampering kit:

  • toothbrush and toothpaste (or just mints, even)
  • pawpaw ointment or any moisturiser to soothe dry lips and skin
  • eye drops for tired eyes
  • face cleanser samples
  • under-eye concealer
  • mini perfume.


5. Fine dining
Supplement the in-flight snacks and meals with some of your own fancy finger foods. Fresh fruit and luxury chocolates will jazz up your no-frills meal.

6. Entertainment
While Qantas and Virgin offer stellar in-flight entertainment options, other carriers may not have the same variety at their disposal. Do your own prep by loading up your device with podcasts, movies, music and TV shows great for binge-watching.

7. The value of sleep
Last but not least, make sure you pack the essentials for a decent sleep: inflatable travel pillow, sleep mask and noise cancelling headphones or earplugs. Depending on how far you’re flying, you may not arrive as fresh as a daisy, but you’ll hopefully be ready to hit the ground running.

Read more from Skyscanner.

Do you have any other travel tips? Had any particularly good or bad experiences?

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Janelle Ward
Janelle Ward
Energetic and skilled editor and writer with expert knowledge of retirement, retirement income, superannuation and retirement planning.
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