Nine tips for making economy class flights more comfortable

Travel tips & advice

Economy class can be comfortable. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

Sarah Marshall

There's no need to fork out a fortune for a first-class flight. Turn right in comfort with Sarah Marshall's clever tips...

To get a flight upgrade is the holy grail for most air travellers, eager to experience how the other half live.

But new data released by Gatwick airport reveals less than 10pc of all business travellers passing through the airport actually travel in business class. Instead, many opt for economy. So what tricks do they use to upscale their inflight experience?

1. Choose a seat before flying

On most planes, areas with legroom are at the front and in the middle, so aim to reserve these online before arriving at the airport.

2. Carry comfort essentials

Most airlines supply pillows and blankets, but bring an extra cover-up if you're prone to feeling cold.

3. Take care of your toes

There's less space to recline and stretch feet in economy, so pack a pair of travel socks to help prevent DVT. Also remember to get up and move around frequently on long-haul flights.

4. Pack light

Business class passengers have the privilege of a fast check-in and a separate queue. Speed up your journey by packing a carry-on bag, meaning you can zip straight through security and won't have to wait for your bag at the other end.

5. Pack spare clothes.

Bring a change of clothes (or pyjamas) to wear on long-haul flights. Putting on a clean outfit will help you feel more refreshed on arrival. Packing clothes in bags from the dry cleaners will minimise creasing in the suitcase.

6. Stay refreshed.

The dry air on planes can make you feel dehydrated. Drink plenty of water and carry a face mist to help spruce up skin throughout the journey.

7. Lounge around

You don't need to be a business traveller to make use of exclusive lounges. Most airports will offer independent spaces, such as the No1 Lounge at Gatwick, which can be booked in advance for a one-off fee, with prices starting from £20. You'll get free snacks, drinks, newspapers, Wi-Fi and a comfortable space to relax.

8. Speedy security

Another benefit of business travel is fast-track security. Several airports now sell premium security passes to passengers travelling in any class. At Dublin Airport, for example, fast-track access costs from €5.99-€7.99.

9. Fast food

Business passengers always get their grub first. To be in with the best chance of being served before others in economy, strategically sit in row nine (or nearby).

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