When Flying Economy, Do As I Say, Not As I Do.
I’ll admit it: When I fly in economy class, I’m a creature of habit and some of my habits just aren’t smart. For example, I usually pick window seats. For some reason, I don’t feel so confined and cramped if I can see out. So, having made that confession, let me suggest a number of common-sense things we can all do to make flying in economy class a little easier.
1. Avoid the bad seats. All airline seats are not created equal. Some don’t recline because they’re in front of an exit row, Others may not have a window. Some may be located right next to the lavatories. I never book a flight and select my seat without first checking the seatguru website because it shows me which are the seats to avoid on my specific flight.
2. Choose an aisle seat. The obvious reason for this: easy in-and-out for going to the lavatory, retrieving something from the overhead bin, or just walking up and down the aisle to get the circulation going.
3. Bring your own food. The stuff they sell you in economy is over-priced and usually not very good. So bring healthy stuff from home or buy it at the airport. And eat light.
4. Dress comfortably. Loose clothing and a couple of layers in case it’s cold, but which can be easily peeled off if it’s not.
5. Bring a couple of sanitizing towelettes. Use them to wipe down arm rests, the tray table and the wall if you’re in a window seat. I just came across this idea and it make absolute sense.
6. Get up and walk around. Every so often you hear about people developing blood clots in their legs on long flights. It does happen and getting up once or twice on a long flight and walking the length of the cabin a couple of times is a good idea. There are elastic support stockings you can wear, but I’ve tried them and they get very uncomfortable. Besides, my doc says he’s not convinced they do much good anyway.
7. Drink, drink drink. Low humidity and low pressure in the cabin means it’s easy to get dehydrated, so buy a big bottle of water at the airport — AFTER you go through security — and sip it throughout the flight. In theory, you should also avoid alcohol. In theory.
8. Upgrade to a better economy seat. This is good advice in the context of making long flights more comfortable, but I still have a really hard time with it. Yes, the extra room and a more comfortable seat can make a difference. But, honestly, something in me just rebels at paying extra for a few inches of leg room that I used to get for free. It wasn’t much, but the darn airlines took it away and are now trying to sell it back to me.
OK, there you have it. Eight ideas that could help make those long flights a bit easier for you. I’m sure there are others. For me? Well, five out of eight ain’t bad.