How to Survive a Long Haul Economy Class Flight

Smiling, while there was still hope...

Smiling, while there was still hope...

This Friday, I'll be flying home to the 303. Also known as Denver, also known as one of the greatest places on earth.. Anyways. The journey has three legs: one stop in Tokyo, ten hours over the Pacific, and then another stop in LAX. It's going to be a great day. I just know it. In preparation for the epic trans-Pacific journey, I've been trying to get my house in order, because let's face it... It's not actually going to be a great day. Spending ten hours in an economy class plane seat, on an airline owned by an American company? Just.. no. But, I know I'm not the only one who to opt for this kind of situation. so here are my best tips to help make your economy class journey feel like first class (Not actually... but it might make it suck a little less).

Like many things, the long game can be just as important as the short game, and it's a good idea to start preparing your body at least a day ahead of time. 

1. Exercise the Night Before Your Flight - Exercise helps almost everything, almost all the time. If you, like me, often find yourself up at 3am the night before a 7am flight, this might be especially helpful. A strenuous bout at the gym will help you to fall asleep easier the night before, as well as feel less restless and more relaxed on the flight itself. Additionally, exercise not only helps to work out kinks in your muscles and back, the flood of extra endorphins puts you in a better mood overall. It's a win-win-win situation.

2. Eat Well - This applies to the few days before the flight, as well as on the flight itself. Don't spend the morning, or even the day before you flight loading up on high fat, high sugar foods... Also, don't eat anything that you know will give you gas, or any other form of unpleasant bodily discharge. Lay off the fried chicken, pasta carbonara, and Flamin' Hot Cheetos, and instead opt for steamed vegetables and lean proteins. These foods will give you the right kind of energy, help you to maintain a positive mood, allow you to sleep easier when you want to, and not send you running to the lavatory every hour.

3. Drink Enough Water - Most people don't drink enough water as it is, and flying only exacerbates dehydration. I don't know how so many people missed this day in P.E. but drinking is the panacea for a whole host of bodily ills: chapped lips, dry skin, headaches, random hunger pangs, and obviously thirst. Our bodies are made of water! Not only should you drink a lot of water the night before you fly, you should also buy a plastic bottle in the airport, drink it before you go through security, and then refill it on the other side. [Sidenote: Don't drink the water coming from the lavatory sinks. It is NOT meant for drinking. If you're really thirsty just ask the stewardess to leave the whole bottle.]

Maybe leave the selfie stick at home...

Maybe leave the selfie stick at home...

4. Charge Everything (and bring a backup) - I feel like this should go without saying, but make sure your devices are charged. Laptop, Tablet, iPod, Phone... Whatever you plan on using for multi-media viewing/listening make sure you charge it to 100% the night before. Also, pack your charger in your carry-on. Don't check it! Though your seat probably won't have an outlet, it's a good idea to have a charger with you in case you find an outlet prior to your flight or whilst on a longer layover. True technology ninjas can invest in a portable USB charger. These handy devices are life-savers and can be found in most tech stores for $30 or less.

5. Come Prepared to Get Comfortable - Though economy class is obviously not a five star resort, that doesn't mean you can't spruce it up a bit. Bring a travel size blanket, your fluffy socks, a face mask, a small pillow - whatever will help you feel more relaxed, and less like you are stuffed in a metal tube with a hundred random strangers. Also, wear comfortable clothing in layers, so you can adjust easily with any changes in temperature. [Sidenote #2: Don't get carried away with getting comfortable though. The plane isn't your living room. Don't invade the personal space of the person next to you, and your pants definitely need to stay on at all times. Don't be like these people.]

6. Substances! Of course, these don't have to be illicit (you hooligan).  If you really need to sleep, and you know you will have trouble, invest in some Tylenol PM, or visit your doctor for something stronger. If you prefer the more natural route,  many people swear by Melatonin, but herbs like Chamomile, Damiana, and Valerian also have calming properties. Though it pains me to say this, I would suggest waiting holding off on any alcohol until, A. you've gotten all the sleep you want, or B. are 100% sure you won't be able to fall asleep. Though alcohol can make you drowsy in the short term, it prevents your body from entering into the deepest stages of sleep, which is when your mind and body are actually able to rejuvenate. It's also extremely dehydrating. So, though your glass of wine might afford you an hour long doze, it might also prevent you achieving any kind of meaningful rest.

For more tips and tricks check out these great articles below:
10 Ways to Survive a Long Haul Flight - Independent Traveler
How to Survive a Long Haul Flight With Finesse - Map Happy
5 Tips to Survive a Long Flight - U.S. Travel News

Did I miss anything? What are you favorite tips and tricks for surviving a long-haul flight? Tweet me your best strategies and I'll share them on my Facebook! If you found this article helpful or useful, please share the love! If there is one think I think everyone can agree on, it's that flying long-haul in economy is just not the business. Safe travels friends!!


Enjoy the beautiful view!

Morgan S.