Flying economy class on long haul flights can be cramped and uncomfortable; read on for top tips on 'how to make your Airport and Flight experience more bearable'.
First things first - Plan & Prepare! The more you prepare, the more enjoyable and less stressful your journey will be. Start by giving yourself 'extra travelling time'; always aim to arrive at the airport earlier than planned!. Nowadays, delays due to traffic jams, airport parking, queues for airport check-in and security can all affect the time taken to navigate the airport system. By planning and giving yourself extra time, any delays you come across will seem less stressful and may even prevent a missed flight.
- Fastrack Security: Sometimes, just getting to the airport can be a stressful experience, so think about ways to help ease that stress when you arrive. First, you can beat the security-check queues by pre-purchasing a Fast Track Security Pass (available at most UK International Airports). During peak travelling periods, the pass can save wasted time zig-zagging your way through the security area; a Fast Track pass avoids the standard queues by stepping into the VIP Fast Track lane instead. Please note: Fast Track lanes can sometimes get busy - so still give yourself plenty of time to clear security, whatever route you take.!
- Airport Lounges: The next stop is the peaceful haven of the Executive Lounge. The Lounge Pass is your next best friend; it
will whisk you away from the hustle & bustle outside, with some lounges offering a glass of bubbly to help you relax. For example,
Gatwick airport has 8 lounges, with the Clubrooms North being the most popular - or the No1 Lounge North being the cheapest - both
lounges are an oasis of calm 'in the middle of a busy airport'. Aim to arrive at your lounge 2-3 hours before your flight; you can
pick up a newspaper or magazine while relaxing with a beer, wine and snacks; some lounges have business zones with WiFi - but check before
Expect to pay around 30GBP for a lounge pass, available at many UK main international airports; it may be possible to purchase both the Lounge Pass and Fast Track security pass at the same time and at a discounted price - buying a lounge pass online and in advance is usually cheaper than buying at the airport.
- Get Comfy: Quite an obvious one, but often overlooked. On long-haul flights sitting in one position for several hours requires comfortable clothing; loose cotton layers are best as they can be removed or added; as required. Don't forget to pack an inflatable pillow and a comfy fitting eye mask; to finish off the look, take a pair of hotel slippers; they will add to your overall comfort level, plus help protect your toes and socks.
- Choose the airline you fly with carefully: The economy class flying experience can vary from airline to airline, and seat widths and legroom space may have an effect on comfort levels. Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways and Thai Airways all have a good reputation for economy seat size and general economy-class experience.
- Check-in Early: Choosing your seating can help make your flying experience more bearable; extra legroom can sometimes be found at bulkhead or exit row seating. Checking in online early gives you the best chance of selecting the seats you want.
- Passing the time: Modern in-flight entertainment can often provide the necessary distraction needed to help pass the time; however, they can often malfunction, so take your own media kit loaded with the films and music you like; alternatively, pack a good book to read, or if you have space load up on magazines, there's always plenty of shops with lots of choices in the departure hall.
For more travel tips & information - check out the F4 Travel Blog.