Regardless of whether you’re a nervous flier or a comfortable one, you can’t deny that plane travel can leave a lot to be desired. Unless you are lucky enough to have snagged premier class seats, things like complimentary extras, leg room and general space can come in short supply.
That doesn’t mean you need to spend your flight in discomfort. We have compiled trade secrets from two experienced travel bloggers, as well as some of our own handy tips, to help upgrade your flying experience from the lacklustre to the luxurious. From getting a free flight upgrade to choosing the best seats, here are the insider tips you need to know.
Choose your seats wisely
If you’re anything like us, now and again you’ll find yourself fantasising about one day boarding the aeroplane and turning left. First class is a luxury many of us can’t afford though, meaning we need to make the most of what economy class gives us to work with.
Paul Johnson of A Luxury Travel Blog explains gives us some insight into choosing the best seats on a flight:
“It all depends on your definition of best. Some people will want the leg room, others the window seat, others an aisle and some will want to be either near to, or away from, the lavatory. Your best bet to make a proper evaluation would be to look at online resources such as SeatGuru.com and SeatExpert.com, or Skytrax’s own airplane seat guides and maps.”
Know what to pack in your hand luggage
tombola’s tips: Once you have chosen your seats, there are a few basics that can really improve your comfort during a long flight. A neck support, hand sanitizer, ear plugs – or treat yourself to noise cancelling headphones – face spritz, lip salve, a toothbrush and bed socks can all be useful additions to your hand luggage. Packing a few snacks from the airport is always a good idea for during your flight, particularly if there isn’t an in-flight meal or you’re a fussy eater. Hard-boiled sweets also double up as relief for ‘popped’ ears during take-off.
Be aware of what your body needs
tombola’s tips:Drinking plenty of water, using eye drops and keeping your skin moisturised are the best ways to avoid dehydration from the plane’s dry air. By doing some simple exercises during your journey, you can also avoid your muscles becoming stiff and sore on long flights. Walking up and down the aisle every so often is also a good way to improve poor circulation that comes with being seated for lengthy periods of time.
Pledge your loyalty
Loyalty is an act amply rewarded in many circles, one of them being the world of air travel. Paul Johnson’s second travel tip explains why this is the case:
“Forget dressing smartly, having a title or smiling at the person on check-in as a means of getting an upgrade. Although they can’t harm, these are mostly long out-dated methods of getting an upgrade and the only sure-fire way nowadays is by loyalty to an airline. Climbing to the upper tiers of an airline’s frequent flyer program (or becoming a travel journalist) will always be your best means of getting an upgrade.”
Save your money for your accommodation
Another consideration when it comes to making travel plans is balancing the cost of flights and accommodation. One usually ends up being compromised in favour of another, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially when modern budget flights get the job done so well. Travel blogger Emily Luxton, author of Emily Luxton Travel Blog and Backpack South America, explains:
“Opt for a budget airline, or even overland travel, to save money for a more expensive hotel. It may be the less glamorous option, and you’ll have to go without the free pretzels, but the flight only lasts a few hours whereas you’ll be in the hotel for days, and that’s where you’ll really enjoy the extra luxury.”
Aim for first class perks
Rather have extra perks, but don’t want to spend a fortune? All you need to do is spend a little bit extra (which still adds up to less than a first class ticket) or, again, show loyalty to an airline.
Paul Johnson explains:
“Even if you’re not travelling business or first class, there are many ways to gain access to the airport lounges and start your journey in a little more comfort, away from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal thoroughfare. This can be achieved by being a frequent flyer, by signing up for lounge access for the year, purchasing a lounge pass, or – in some cases – by being a premium credit card customer.”
You see? Having a better flight isn’t all about emptying your pockets to indulge in a higher class ticket; it’s about savvy-thinking, patience and forward planning. An extra effort, we admit, but one that will make your flying experience as luxurious and relaxing as possible.
Where will you jet off to next?