How To Survive Your Long, Economy Class Flight

Your next economy flight doesn’t have to be a cause of travel stress.

airplane economy flight
UNSPLASH Suhyeon Choi

While a lucky few get to sip champagne and spread their arms out in First Class, most of us fly to our destinations in good ol’ economy. If you’ve ever been on a long flight in coach, you’ll know that the anything-but-spacious seats and hours of sitting, coupled with the crying infant or overly comfortable neighbor, can be a travel nightmare. Worry not, for your next flight doesn’t have to be a cause of travel stress. Below are some tips for maintaining your sanity, and even enjoying, your next overseas economy flight.

Set up your own entertainment

All international airline providers have a few channels of radio and the occasionally good movie, but airplane entertainment, like life, is a box of chocolates, and you never know what you’re going to get. I once made the mistake of forgetting to charge my iPod before an international flight, and consequently was left with the 80s station and the generic elevator music channel. Your best bet is to bring an iPod with your favorite music, a Kindle with your most addictive reads, and a book full of intermediate level Sudoku (if that’s your thing).

Yoga pants please

I can’t imagine anything more uncomfortable than wearing tight leather pants (which my neighbor did) on a 16 hour flight. While this may seem obvious, keep it comfortable! Wear slippers, flip flops, and cotton-y clothes. I like to bring layers; soft outwear can double up as blankets!


Staying in the same position for multiple hours can’t be good for anyone. Of course you won’t be able do your usual cardio routine in the aisles of the plane, but hey, you can do a few things to keep your muscles from becoming as stiff as your airplane dinner roll. The next time you finish your trip to the bathroom, don’t immediately return to your seat. Linger a big at the back of plane (yes, it’s allowed), stretch your legs out, and heck, why not a few squats?


“I love airplane food!”

–No one Ever.

As much as we hope for good plane food, your in-flight menu will probably disappoint you. The over-compartmentalized and packaged plates are suspiciously sterile and often loaded in empty carbs and sodium. That’s because airlines need to keep everything compact, while still filling you up (kind of). Treat yourself to a healthy meal at the airport before your flight or just bring your own snacks. Being scrunched up on a plane will keep you feeling full anyway.


Have you ever felt particularly thirsty or that your skin seems dry on a long plane ride? The cold cabin air in planes will do that you, so bring the lip balm, moisturizer, and plenty of water (bought after security check, of course). The hydration will keep you feeling refreshed, not drained and icky.

Live in the moment (yes, even on a plane)

Moping and crying about a long flight isn’t going to make it any shorter, and neither will constantly checking the time.  You’ve had the privilege to travel and ride a plane, an opportunity many people can only dream about. A 12-hour flight is the least of your list of life’s hardships, so relax, and take the necessary steps that will make the ride more enjoyable.

Desiree Constance Choy

Desiree is from San Francisco, California. She is an actress, known for 13 Reasons Why (2017), I Won't Give Up (2014) and Dreality (2016).

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