Handy Tips for a More Enjoyable Flight

Lets face it flying can really suck at times! It’s uncomfortable, cramped, smelly and boring (just to name a few irritants)! I have compiled a list of things to do to try make your flight a little more enjoyable! After all you don’t want to be “Grumpy Bum” when you reach your destination, you’re on holiday after all!!

Cheap isn’t always best

Do your research and book a good airline, just because the flights are cheap doesn’t mean they are the best airline to go with, read a few reviews and think about paying an extra $50 or $100, it might be worth better seating, food or service. It depends what your criteria for a good flight is. An while cheaper is usually better, on a long haul flight comfort trumps cheap (In my opinion)!

Book an exit row seats

We usually book an exit row seat for most of our “long haul” flights as they provide more leg room, but be aware that you might need to pay extra for these seats. The downside of the exit row is you can’t recline your seat and you can’t have your carry on luggage in front of you, it all has to go in the overhead compartment.

Gulf Air Airbus A321 Exit row

Take your own entertainment

The cost of entertainment on budget airlines can be quite high! The “entertainment” is usually an IPAD with limited movies or TV Series or one of the TV’s in the back of a chair in front of you which you have to swiping your credit card in. If you have your own IPAD purchase a few movies or TV series or download a few games before you take off or take your PSP, Gameboy (yes I went there!), DS or any handheld game console to keep you company. Alternatively you can take a book (e-book reader) or magazine to keep you occupied. Or whatever floats your boat!

Pack your own snacks

Like entertainment, food can be very expensive to pre-purchase or purchase on the plane and most of the time, the food is less than desirable.

Pack a few snacks in your carry on baggage and make sure to pack a few healthy snacks; it will make you feel less bloated and yucky. If you choose to pack “fresh” food such as a sandwich or fruit, these would need to be full consumed by the time you reach your destination otherwise they needs to be declared, if you are caught with fresh food that you haven’t declared you may receive a large fine for customs!

Earn frequent flyers

If you travel frequently or if you use a credit card for everyday purchases, think about getting a credit card that you can link to a frequent flyers program. While this doesn’t necessarily make your flight more enjoyable, it means you might be eligible to book flight upgrades with the points which will make your flight more comfortable and therefore a little more enjoyable!

Frequent Flyer Cards

Where to sit?

Where to sit on a plane can make a big difference to how enjoyable and comfortable your flight is. If you can, try to reserve your seat in advance, that way you are likely to get a good seat or a seat you are happy with.

But where are the best and worst areas to sit on a plane?

The back of the plane does get a bit more cabin noise and next to toilets and/or gallery can be a little smelly and noisy due to people going in and out.

The middle and front of the plane experience less turbulence and are generally quieter due to being in front of the giant jet engines. However back of the plane is statistically “safer”. Window seats are colder than the aisle seats, so if you get cold easily pick an aisle seat or if you are desperate to get a great view from the window, pack a jacket!

Before you book your flight have a look at SeatExpert or SeatGuru to check out the reviews of the seats and the airline so you can pick the best seat!

New Boeing 767-300ER - Lan Airline

When sleeping

Sleeping on a plane can suck! I know I have tried on many of our flights and its almost impossible for me! Some people nod off straight away (I wish I was one of these people!).

If you want to sleep make sure you fasten your seatbelt over your blankets otherwise the lovely fight attendant might wake you up to check you are strapped in, you wouldn’t want to be thrown around the airplane during heavy turbulence.

Pack a neck pillow, it reduces neck and head ache and stops your head from flopping around – giving you whip lash, a face mask if bright lights stop you from sleeping, ear plugs for loud snoring people or crying babies and a few tea bags of camomile tea to help you relax or lavender scented balms or moisturisers. You could even try staying a lavender scent onto your neck pillow, you will be sleeping like a baby in no time! (Yawn!!!! All this talk of sleep makes me sleepy!)

There are many method to avoid jetlag, we have found that it’s best to sleep as much as you can during your flight. When you arrive at your destination, forget your original time zone and focus on your destination’s time zone, if you arrive in the morning do your best to stay away until the evening, don’t take an afternoon nap otherwise you will be wide awake with nothing to do at 3am!

Dress appropriately

Comfort is always nice when you fly, you don’t want to have to wear tight, restricting, uncomfortable clothing for 8-24 hours, we generally wear something “comfortable but stylist on the plane and bring a change of clothes for our destination. Make sure you plan for your destination, you don’t want to be walking off the plane in shorts and a t shirt when its snowing outside!

Keep in mind that planes can be cold so pack a light jacket.

I know it temping but make sure to keep your shoes on, the flight attendants don’t clean the toilet floor every time someone uses it! (think about that next time you want to take your shoes off…)

Stay fresh

On a long haul flight it is easy to get a little sweaty and smelly, planes aren’t known to have showers on board. Pack some baby wipes and give yourself a mini wash, pack a toothbrush  to freshen up after a snooze (no one likes smelly breathe!) and make sure you get up and stretch, this will prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis?), Blood flows more slowly, and collects in the legs when they are hanging down. Blood flowing slowly is more likely to make a clot.

Book Premium Economy or Business Class

This is probably the most obvious but also the most expensive option, If you can afford it, upgrade or book premium economy or business class seats, these seat s are generally much more comfortable and the food, entertainment and service is generally much better. (some of these tips might even help with getting a free upgrade to Business class!)

Business Class 777-200

And the golden rule is: Be positive and polite.

If you think positive thoughts you will feel better, don’t get upset because the flight attendants are taking too long to get to you with the food cart and always be polite to your fellow travellers and flight attendants.

 How do you make your flights a little more enjoyable?

Images were used via Flickr creative commons :Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4

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47 Comments

  1. 5 March, 2014 / 9:53 pm

    Excellent tips; many I had never thought of!

    • Robbo
      26 August, 2014 / 11:17 pm

      “Many you never thought of?” Seriously? Most of this is just common sense, clearly this is written for our friends in the USA, common sense is not very common, LOL. I guess after reading only 13% of people in the USA travelled internationally last year, I can understand why, how funny.

  2. 5 March, 2014 / 10:29 pm

    Good list of tips for longer fights. Fortunately I am a good sleeper in public transport.I learnt to be that on the more than 20 hour bus rides in South America:) I usually have my music on my IPod, mostly relaxing classical music to help me sleep as much as possible, and I never take coffee on the airplanes.

    • 6 March, 2014 / 9:13 pm

      hey Gabor,
      i dont mind flying but i get bored easier and sadly cant sleep very well on a plane 🙁
      good tips – classical music is very relaxing – surprisingly i can sleep after a coffee 🙂

  3. 5 March, 2014 / 11:43 pm

    I’m still old skool – if I don’t like any of the movies, a book is all I need. 🙂 Yes – earplugs and warmish clothes are essential!

    • 6 March, 2014 / 9:14 pm

      i get a little bored with the in flight movies and agree with reading a book 🙂

  4. 6 March, 2014 / 1:11 am

    Nice tips! The sleeping ones were a great idea because being woken up by the flight attendants can be annoying, but if you strap above blankets etc. then they won’t bother you! Never thought of that one actually.

    The only thing is I always book the cheapest and trade my comfort for a good price as I’ve gone camping in woods and can always find a way to be comfortable in strange places, haha, but I know not all are like me. That’s why I also liked your tips on packing your own entertainment and snacks – this way you can save that money possibly spent and use it for a better flight if you like or just save it for pocket money.

    Another thing I do to make my flights enjoyable is to chat with those I’m sitting next to when I’m traveling alone – my most recent flight from Dublin to Rome was a surprise when I started chatting with two nice gentleman and they ended up offering me a lift in their rental car to my destination! I know we grew up to not trust strangers and usually I don’t, but in that situation I felt absolutely comfortable with them after chatting for almost three hours and they were so kind to offer (plus I really needed the help as going with all the luggage I had for my move to Rome was a daunting thing on my own, haha).

    Ok enough chatter from me, thanks for the post! Now I have a couple new tips for when I’m flying!

    • 6 March, 2014 / 9:26 pm

      hey Tara ! thanks for stopping by!
      cheap is good but not always the best especially for long haul trips – comfort can make a big difference.
      its great to meet new people on the plane – doesnt mean they all turn out to be crazies! lol

  5. 6 March, 2014 / 1:12 am

    I do SO hate to fly. I’m far too ADHD for sitting still very long. Wish I could hike or drive everywhere. But this gives me some handy tips to make it a little more bearable. 🙂

    • 6 March, 2014 / 9:39 pm

      hey Erin,
      i am the same – i get irritable sitting around for hours!

  6. 6 March, 2014 / 2:32 am

    Good tips on how to have a enjoyable flight. On long haul flights its about the seating and entertainment on board. The best thing is to kill time by watching movies.

  7. 6 March, 2014 / 4:07 am

    I bring an empty water bottle and fill it up in the airport. This saves me money when traveling if I get thirsty. I also try to pack as light as possible to make airport navigation and my trip more enjoyable. I dislike when someone over packs and holds up boarding the plane because they can’t handle all the items they have brought.

    I also try to think of the views on the plane when I am flying. If I will be flying over mountainous terrain, I definitely choose a window! However, if it is a night flight or one that does not have great views, I don’t think too hard about where I sit.

  8. 6 March, 2014 / 6:02 am

    and don’t drink too much, whichever cabin you are in! plane hangovers, for the amount of fizz consumed are always worse than a typical head after a few glasses…

    good tip with premium economy – for the money it is a much better deal, and yes, you are one step closer to an upgrade as it is always a small cabin

    we love our airmiles though – and putting all miles to one carrier affords some real luxury travel!

    • 10 March, 2014 / 3:47 pm

      Hey Anna,
      i wish i had read this yesterday!
      Had 2 small bottles of red wine on the plane last night 😛
      Feeling less than awesome today !

      Great suggestion in regards to Prem economy

      I agree i think if you are loyal to one airline, it can get you very far!

  9. 6 March, 2014 / 6:44 am

    I actually despise flying and gives me anxiety so I just try to sleep through flights. I learned my lesson though that paying an extra $50 or $100 is worth it for a better itinerary. No more 10 hour layovers in the middle of the night! Good tips and no matter how many times I fly I always need to reassure myself.

  10. 6 March, 2014 / 7:04 am

    Great tips!
    Love traveling but hate flying. I never seem to get any sleep, I hate the noise, the lack of space… but you’re so right: with a positive attitude you’re halfway there. And when I can, I always pay for an upgrade, it’s so worth it.

    • 10 March, 2014 / 3:49 pm

      Hey Nina!
      i agree with you there! I have a love hate relationship with flying!
      We can usually only get seats in rows 19,20,21 and 22 on the plane which is usuaully right behind the engines, we were able to get seat 4 last night and WOW there is a massive engine noise difference!

  11. 6 March, 2014 / 8:08 am

    wonderful tips and very comprehensive, I do most of those, except walking into the toilets barefoot!

  12. 6 March, 2014 / 11:57 am

    Great tips! For me, long distance flights are great to catch up with latest music and videos. I always watch 3 or 4 movies in a raw and listen to songs I missed when in China :)!!

  13. 6 March, 2014 / 7:34 pm

    Many great tips here. I so agree with you on all of it. I prefer to fly Star Alliance when I travel so I can earn my miles and then later I use the miles/points for an upgrade on long haul flights. Thanks to this I have flown from Oslo to New York with Scandinavian Airlines (Star Alliance member) many times in business class 🙂 Sometimes it is actually worth paying a little more for your flight and not always go with the low cost option.

    • 10 March, 2014 / 3:50 pm

      thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed them
      exactly true
      we are the same – no point in wasting points on short trips !

  14. 6 March, 2014 / 7:56 pm

    Book, earplugs, notebook and I’m set. Also, melatonin = my only chance of sleep. Oh, how I envy those people who can pass out immediately….

  15. 6 March, 2014 / 9:15 pm

    Great tips Sam, I used to be a person like you, couldn’t sleep but those days I fall asleep straight away, thanks God for that. And if not like Agness I catch up with movies and sorting pictures on my computer!

  16. 7 March, 2014 / 7:06 am

    My best tip is to fly low season if you can. I find the most comfortable flights, regardless of airline, are when the flight is only half full. Stretching out is awesome!!

  17. 8 March, 2014 / 3:10 pm

    I totally agree with sitting by the emergency exit. When we flew from Toronto to Taipei, we had seats by the emergency exit which made for a very enjoyable flight.

    Also, gathering air miles is another great suggestion – my husband and I both flew from Taipei to Seoul on air miles! Gotta love free flights! 🙂

    I never wear my contacts when flying – they make my eyes dry, itchy, and unfortunately, infected one time!

    • 10 March, 2014 / 3:19 pm

      Hey Constance,
      oh no! you poor thing, i hope you didnt have an infection for long! That is one of to put a real damper on your trip!

  18. 9 March, 2014 / 1:07 am

    I hate flying too! But it’s a necessary evil to do our favourite pastime. We used to go for the cheapest, be uncomfortable and have countless hours of sitting around in random airports on the middle of the night waiting for our connection, just to say a few pounds. But as we’re getting older we’ve decided to pay more for direct flights and with decent airlines. In fact we’re going with Emirates for the first time later this year and rather stupidly I’m quite excited (we’ll get movies and nice food after all!). Thanks for all the tips.

    • 10 March, 2014 / 3:26 pm

      Very true! I am the same, i get bored very quickly on a flight and hate being restricted to my seat!
      Its not stupid at all! Its nice to be able to get a decent meal and something to entertain you on a long flight!
      I think to save a few bucks is not worth being overly uncomfortable.

  19. 9 March, 2014 / 3:50 am

    The emergency exit tip is a golden one for me! Specially because it allows window-seat passengers to go to the toilet without having to disturb/wake-up the aisle-seat passengers!

    • 10 March, 2014 / 3:27 pm

      Hey Raphael,
      I agree!
      We just flew back from Perth last night and i had to wake up the guy on the Aisle seat twice to go to the bathroom – i felt terrible!

  20. 9 March, 2014 / 10:30 pm

    It seems that the things have changed quite a bit since my last long haul flight – do you really need to pay for the entertainment these days?! Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

    • 10 March, 2014 / 3:33 pm

      Hey Frank,

      I am not sure what airlines you fly with , the “cheaper” airlines in Australia charge for everything as an extra, food, entertainment etc.
      We usually fly with Qantas where everything is included

  21. 10 March, 2014 / 1:51 am

    Excellent tips here! Being tall, I love it when we get the exit row seats because of the extra leg room. One of my pet peeves unfortunately is when folks in front recline their seats, I personally never do that! My personal opinion is that we all have our own personal space and I don’t agree that the folks in front should be able to invade your space – but again, that’s just my opinion and probably because I am tall.

    Like others that have commented, I rarely can sleep on flights, so give me my laptop/iPad and a couple of magazines to pass time and I will be fine.

    • 10 March, 2014 / 3:37 pm

      Hey Chris!
      Thanks so much.
      I just found out that the seats right behind business class have excellent leg room (that was with Qantas).
      I agree i really dislike people who recline their seats too! I understand that they have paid just as much or more to fly and they can recline if they want but it think its disrespectful! I never do it.

  22. 11 March, 2014 / 2:37 am

    Great tips! Funny thing about me is…if it was my choice, I could read or watch movies all day but when I’m forced to, I hate it. I’m way too restless. Luckily, I can usually fall asleep.

    • 12 March, 2014 / 8:54 am

      Thanks!
      i am the same, i hate being forced to just sit there and do nothing!

  23. 11 March, 2014 / 3:16 am

    One of the things I always do is moisturise, and drink lots of water during the few days before the flight, to avoid ending up feeling dehydrated. I totally own a pair of trousers specifically for travelling, they are those Aladdin style pants, definitely the most comfortable. Also being short, extra leg room is almost never a problem.

    • 12 March, 2014 / 8:56 am

      Hey Sammi!
      good points, its very easy to become hehydrated on a flight, leaving you feeling less than great!
      I am the same (with the pants) love my genie pants!

  24. 28 April, 2014 / 7:22 pm

    Getting the exit row seat is a life saver for me – I am 6’5″… You say that you can’t recline exit row seats. This is not always true. Usually you can not recline the seats in front of exit. Seats behind the exit are reclinable.

    • 1 May, 2014 / 6:21 pm

      Hey Ted,
      Is that true?
      I have never been able to recline my exit row seats 🙁

  25. 12 May, 2014 / 4:10 pm

    Thanks for these tips Sam! I never used to be able to sleep whilst flying like you, but I guess now I’m more used to taking flights and, even if I don’t enjoy being on a plane, I’m more comfortable than I used to and I can even snooze if I want to.

  26. 22 May, 2014 / 3:50 pm

    Great thanks for the tips! I found the row before the gallery perfect, you can recline your seat as much as you like without disturbing the person behind you. (BA Int Flight)

    • 23 May, 2014 / 4:19 pm

      Not a problem Louise.
      I think that is the case with most flights but then you have to deal with the noise and possible smells.. 🙂

  27. 7 July, 2014 / 4:00 pm

    Some great tips in here and most I agree – my only stark warning (if there is one) is that, if while using SeatGuru or the like; IF any of the seats one or two rows in front and behind of a good row are truly terrible…i.e. practically in the toilet/kitchen, then avoid the whole section – from experience airlines can swap aircraft series (i.e. same model, different series) and the effect tends to be a few seats out…so the carefully-booked exit seat at row 12, will end up being row 13 or 14 and you now can’t recline your seat and also have no extra legroom!

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