Staying comfy in Long haul Economy

One of the disadvantages of being based in Australia is that my long distance flights are all very long. And many of my flights have been done in the back of the plane! the reality is that this is where most passengers end up. The hallowed grail of Business or First can be elusive despite our best prayers, wishes and attempts!


A very crowded Emirates A380

Here are 12 tips:

  1. Do some research- some airlines do long haul better than others.  Air New ZealandCathay PacificEmirates, Finnair, Lan, Malaysia, Qatar,  QantasTurkish and Singapore keep me much happier than Air Canada, Air France, American, Delta, Etihad and United
  2. Pay for more leg room- I always aim for the Exit Row and avoid sitting near the lavatories -noisy and sometimes smelly!IMG_0836
  3. Bring stuff to do – I have a book, a set of cards and some work to do. I do not rely on the airline entertainment system- it may not be working or it may be full of Hindi language movies or only have feature films I have already seen (all has happened to me)
  4. Build in some sleep- refreshing and kills some time
  5. Plan on walking – I try to go for a walk every hour or between movies. Thankfully, not everyone does this otherwise planes would be more chaotic – with passengers walking continually! Please do not go for the walk when cabin crew are distributing or collecting meals.
  6. Drink water- I grab some every time you get up
  7. Change of clothes- I have clothes I can quickly change into in the lavatory including socks and underwear
  8. Noise cancelling head phones are my friend.
  9. Have your own amenity kit- some airlines are great and have economy class kits but many don’t. My essentials are deodorant, a hydrating face spray, tooth paste and tooth brush. Brushing your teeth after eating makes you feel so much more human. Throw in eye shades.
  10. Take your contacts out and wear glasses- your eyes will thank you. For selfies on-board, I whip my glasses off!

    United 747 between USA and Aust- me sans contacts!


  11. Bring a gift for the flight attendants – I try to present cabin manager with a box of individually wrapped chocolates for the crew. Lindt Balls are highly popular!
  12. Be friendly but not familiar with other passengers – I like to chat and connect but also like to respect other people’s space. Being aloof is a bore but being a bore is also awful!

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  1. I have nothing against your todo list for long haul flights, but I am puzzled by your list of which airlines are good & bad for long haul. One noticeable problem in the list: Qantas. I have Australian family members, and they steadfastly refuse to fly Qantas when they visit home.

  2. While not as good as they once were, I can assure your family members they have an excellent long haul product. Entertainment plus meals plus snacks plus service throughout the trip plus a good rate of baggage delivery add up to a product that beats many airlines. Qantas won awards in every class this year for their service. I have flown them 318 times over the last 20 years.

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