Life Hacks: How to make economy class flights feel like first

Life Hacks: How to make economy class flights feel like first

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

Follow our easy how-to guide to maximise your comfort and feel like you're in first class... or at least premium economy.


Life Hacks brings you easy-to-follow tips and tricks to make your life that bit better. 

This week, we’ll show you how to get the most from your economy class flight - making economy feel like first class (or at least Premium Economy).

1. Choose an aisle and a window

If you’re travelling in a couple, opt for selecting the window and the aisle, instead of right next to each other, to maximise your chances of getting a whole row to yourself.

Unless the plane is completely full, nobody will have chosen a lone middle seat, so you’re boosting your chances. The best thing is, if it does get taken you can simply ask them to swap with one of you, it’s doubtful the middle seat is anyone’s first choice.

2. Ask for more than one drink

If you’re on a flight with free refreshments, don’t be afraid to ask for more than one drink.

You could order a glass of wine and a glass of water, ask for two cans of cola or even ask the staff to fill up your own water bottle. Let’s face it, those tiny glasses are gone in two mouthfuls, plus you’ll minimise the risk of dehydration.

3. Order a special meal

If you’re the type of person who boards a plane, wants to eat right away and then fall straight to sleep, then you need to order a 'special' meal - this is the pre-ordered options like vegetarian, lactose-free or Halal.

The pre-ordered special meals always arrive first - and depending on where you are on the plane, it can be up to an hour before your neighbour. This gives you plenty of time to eat and get your head down.

4. Consider a lounge pass for a layover

If you have a long layover, consider buying a lounge pass to save money overall and get the chance to freshen up.

Many airports have lounges than non-frequent Flyer members can enter for a fee - usually about £20-£30. This may seem like a lot at first, but remember that this includes all food and drink, Wi-Fi and other perks too - such as comfy seating, business facilities, TVs and sometimes there are even extras like massages too.

If you’re in the airport for a good 5 or 6 hours, food and drink alone can easily add up. A lot of loungers also have showers, so you can freshen up and get changed before your next leg of the journey.

5.  Move seats once boarding is finished

Once the plane has finished boarding, you can generally take any of the other available seats (some will make you wait until the seatbelt sign is off after takeoff). Listen out for the announcement (for cabin crew) that boarding is complete, this is the best time to make your move. We’d recommend doing this politely and actually asking the cabin crew if you can move to another row, as boarding finishes, they’ll generally oblige and sometimes will even indicate the best row to move to - like if they’ve kept the exit rows empty.

Tip: wait until takeoff to avoid delaying the flight! 

6. Buy a headphone adapter

If you’re looking forward to settling down to a solid run of latest release movies onboard your flight, you’re likely to be a little disappointed with the sound quality using the airline’s earphones. If you buy a headphone adapter (converting single prong earphones into double prong jacks) you can bring your own fancy headphones onboard instead.

These are often under a tenner at the airport but are as little as £2.99 on Amazon if you buy in advance.

7. Take your own mini comfort kit

Airlines differ with their amenity kits, so don’t assume you’ll get something just because you have on a different long-haul flight.

If you have space, take your own comfort essentials such as an eye-mask (this will make all the difference if your neighbours don’t pull their window shades down), comfy socks (especially if you’re boarding in sandals or flipflops) mints (good to suck on during take-off and landing, plus they’ll keep your breath fresh) and a mini bottle of moisturiser (planes can be really dry and dehydrating, a little lotion will help you keep feeling fresh).

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

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Life Hacks: How to make economy class flights feel like first Life Hacks: How to make economy class flights feel like first