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Luxury in the Cheap Seats — How to Fly Comfortably in Economy Class

economy seating
Written by Shannon Durso

This blog post was updated on August 1, 2023.


It’s obvious that not everyone has the luxury of sitting in first class when traveling. Booking more affordable cheap flight deals in economy class is the norm for most travelers. If you’ve flown economy on a long-haul flight, you already know that it isn’t the most comfortable experience. Some may think there’s nothing to do other than to suffer from limited leg room, climbing over your neighbor to get out of the row, and waiting in a long line to board your flight. Luckily, we’ve come up with a few solutions on how to sit comfortably in economy class according to your personal preferences. Read on to learn how to cozy up on your next economy class flight!

Choose Your Seat Wisely

woman sleeping in the window seat on an airplane

If you’re always catching zzz’s on your flight you may want to choose a window seat, especially if you don’t wish to be bothered by your neighbor who must pass to get to the restroom (had you chosen an aisle seat). And, if you want to be the first group in economy class to board, check your airline’s boarding process; passengers at window seats may board first. For example, JetBlue has recently implemented a new boarding process. Depending on the aircraft and seat assignments, passengers with window seats at the back of the aircraft will board with Group B. Group C will be for passengers with middle seats in the back of the aircraft and for window seats at the front of the plane. And the rest of the passengers will be in Groups D and E.

For extra leg room, sit in the emergency exit row (if you fit the requirements) or sit up front in the first row where there is usually more space. If you are an antsy passenger, sit in the aisle to get up and walk around when you please.

Purchase Food Before Boarding

woman eating in airport

We know; the food and snacks in the airport terminals may be more expensive than your local supermarket, but are you willing to settle for the limited snacks and beverages your flight offers? We recommend you stop in at the shop at your terminal to purchase some snacks and beverages to keep you hydrated, munching, and full. Although most airlines offer refreshments, bringing your own on board prevents you from having to patiently wait for a crew member to come to the rescue of your hunger pangs.

RELATED: Flying with a family? Here are the best places to sit on an airplane.

Pamper Yourself In-Flight

Ever see a celeb on social media posing with a face mask all happy and relaxed in first class? You can do the same (in economy class, of course)! First, be sure to remove your makeup before you take off. Second, take out your new hydrating face mask and apply it. Third, sit back and relax! Yes, it’s that easy. Oh, and don’t forget to bring hydrating lip balm and hand lotion. If you feel the need to take off your shoes, airplane socks or any cozy socks are the best go-to so other passengers feel okay about your shoeless feet. Some items to bring to pamper yourself are face wipes, face and hand lotion, a disposable toothbrush, and hydrating lip balm.

Limit Your Baggage

For some travelers, packing is no easy task. You have your checked baggage, carry-on baggage, and then a personal handbag. It may seem practical to bring all these bags along so you don’t have to leave anything behind. If you want to be comfortable in economy class, we suggest you pack less. Stowing a bag under the seat in front of you takes up leg room and restricts you from stretching out with the limited space you have in economy class.

Wipe Down Your Seat

cleaning seat on airplane

Before you take a seat and get comfortable, wipe down the armrests, seat, and pull-down table. It doesn’t have to be a production or a difficult task that other passengers are side-eyeing you with judgment. With passengers on and off the aircraft multiple times a day (depending on your route), germs are destined to be everywhere. The flight attendants do their best to clean out an aircraft and pick up any trash, but they cannot thoroughly clean each seat especially when trying to board on time. By simply wiping down your seat before sitting for hours on end, you’ll be able to lower your chances of catching a virus and spreading more germs. And, you’ll feel a lot cleaner and more comfortable knowing there are fewer germs around you.

Inquire About a Seat Upgrade

Finally, if you’re not too happy with the seat you choose or that was assigned to you, ask for an upgrade! If you arrive at your gate early, ask if any seat upgrades are available. In most cases, passengers cancel last minute or don’t show up for the flight and the option may be available to upgrade…at an additional cost. If you’re a loyal customer to the airline or you have a credit card with the airline you’re flying with, you may have a better chance of upgrading to another seat.

FAQs:

Q: Can I request a specific seat in economy class? 

A: Yes, many airlines allow passengers to choose their seats in advance. During the booking process or through the airline’s website, you can often select your preferred seat based on availability. Keep in mind that some airlines may charge an additional fee for seat selection, especially for seats with extra legroom or specific locations on the plane.

Q: How can I deal with jet lag after a long economy class flight? 

A: Jet lag can be challenging, but there are strategies to help minimize its effects. Upon arrival at your destination, try to adjust to the local time as soon as possible. Stay hydrated, avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, and expose yourself to natural sunlight to help regulate your internal clock. Consider taking short power naps if needed, and give your body time to adjust gradually.

Q: Are there any options for upgrading to a higher class during the flight? 

A: Some airlines offer the possibility of upgrading your seating class during the flight, depending on availability and individual airline policies. However, these opportunities are not guaranteed, and the availability of upgrades may vary. It’s advisable to check with the airline prior to your flight or speak with the flight attendants once on board to inquire about any potential upgrade options.

Q: Is it possible to bring my own food on an economy class flight? 

A: In most cases, you are allowed to bring your own food on board an economy class flight. However, it’s essential to consider the airline’s specific policies and any restrictions on the types of food you can bring. Liquids and certain perishable items may be subject to restrictions, so it’s best to check with the airline beforehand. Additionally, be mindful of strong-smelling foods that could annoy other passengers.

Have any other tips on how to fly comfortably in economy class? Tell us in the comments section below! 

About the author

Shannon Durso

If she’s not searching for the world's coolest destinations she has yet to explore, you can find her writing content at Fareportal or maybe even drooling over a foodies latest post. Shannon’s a Brooklyn native who enjoys good company, new adventures, and a great laugh!

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