Make economy feel like first class

Everyone loves to travel. Well, they love the idea of travelling anyway. I’m not so sure I know too many people who actually enjoy flying. Except, of course, those who have the means, or who are prepared to mortgage their house, for a first-class ticket. (And, to tell you the truth, I don’t think I know anyone who’s even travelled first class!)

Admittedly, I enjoy flying. I find it a most exciting experience. But for those who find it harrowing, or who just don’t like to do it, there are ways to make your trip more enjoyable, such as these seven clever ways to make economy feel a little more like first class.

1. Choose the right airline

This might sound obvious, but choosing the airline that best suits you is the first step to having a shot at actually enjoying your flight. And it’s not only about the airline, it’s more about the plane itself. As you may be aware, some planes have better in-flight entertainment than others, while some have none at all. Some have wider seats, whilst others have more legroom. Seat Guru and Seat Expert are invaluable online resources that can help you with your research.

2. Check in early

Passengers who check in early will usually have the best seat options. Try checking in online as soon as you can to select you preferred seat. If you can’t find a suitable seat 72 hours from your flight, try again at 48 hours, because this is typically when frequent flyers (who always get preference when it comes to seats) will be upgraded.

I find aisle seats the comfiest, because you have a little extra legroom on the side, and you won’t have to climb over people to go to the loo or stretch your legs.

3. Pillow, cushion and inflatable foot rest

If you’re heading off on a long-haul flight, then a plane pillow is a must. There are also inflatable footrests available that will take the pressure off your heels and, in turn, your lower back. Keep an eye out for an inflatable cushion for your backside too, or bring along a dining-chair cushion from home. Sure, these all may sound a little extravagant when you first read this, but your bottom, neck, back and feet will thank you profusely for the extra comfort.

4. Tune out the noise

Buy yourself a set of noise-cancelling headphones or earphones, or, if you’re not a fan of music, pick up a pair of noise-cancelling earplugs. That way you can tune out the noise of passengers and the constant hum of the plane. Just remember though, that most, if not all, planes have the twin plug set up for audio, but you can usually pick up an adapter for your single-plug headphone from the airport or stores such as Jaycar or JB Hifi.

5. BYO bits and bobs

In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, a small kit containing such items as an eye mask, hand sanitiser, slipper socks or spare pair of socks, toothbrush and face wipes will go a long way to making your flight even more comfy.

BYO food

If you’re not a huge fan of plane food, or if you have favourite treats with which you like to spoil yourself every now and then, why not bring them on board? Food items such as nuts or seeds may not be allowed on the plane, but if you check with your airline before you fly, it should be able to give you list of what foods are allowed.

7. Smile!

You’d be amazed at how far a smile will take you. No one likes a sourpuss, and a smile is one of those things you can give away for free, but will bring you maximum returns. Flight attendants will do much more for someone who smiles – it’s just human nature. And a smile will just make your whole flight, and indeed, your holiday, that much more pleasurable.

Read more at www.hopper.com

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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