How to Survive Long-Haul Flights in Economy

6. Move Around


Sitting motionless in your seat for hours can lead to stiffness and discomfort when you arrive at your destination. Instead, try some of these exercises recommended by Richard Carmona, MD: stretch your arms and fingers (carefully, to avoid hitting your neighbor!), pumping your feet up and down, lifting yourself in your chair, and tightening and releasing your muscles all the way up your calves and quads to help keep blood flowing.

7. Avoid Cramming Your Space Full


Many people, to avoid having to check luggage, will take advantage of everything an airline will allow them to carry on. If you pack your bag to the limits, carry on a heavy coat, and have an extra bag or purse with you, however, you may end up sacrificing leg room–and on a long flight, that means sacrificing comfort. Instead, go ahead and check your luggage if needed, including placing it in the hold instead of at your feet once you’re on the plane.

8. Bring Your Own Pillow and/or Blanket


Trying to curl up and sleep in a plane seat without head and neck support is a surefire way to end up with a stiff neck and a long flight. Airline pillows, on the other hand, are often flat and uncomfortable–not to mention, all too often, not washed between flights. Tuck your own travel pillow and blanket into your bag. You’ll find that it’s much more comfortable when you know exactly where your pillow has been and you’ve chosen one that will help you get comfortable, rather than something that has been used by dozens of others and might not meet your needs.

9. Dress for Comfort

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You might want to look nice when you travel, but you also want to avoid being uncomfortable throughout your flight. Skip the belts, big buckles and buttons, and constricting waistbands. Instead, choose clothing that you know will be comfortable after wearing for several hours. Try elastic waistbands, loose-fitted clothing, and comfortable, slip-on shoes to make it easier to make it through security.

10. Clean Out Your Pockets


You carry many items in your pockets every day–and before a long flight, you may choose to carry even more because you want to streamline your day or make sure that you have everything you’ll need. Unfortunately, during your flight, those items can poke, prod, and make it difficult to settle down and get comfortable. Even your wallet in your back pocket can make it harder to get comfortable in your seat. Instead, empty your pockets before you settle in for the flight. Try tucking the contents into a pocket of your bag or bringing along a small bag just for those items to help keep you from forgetting them when you get off the plane.

Are you ready for your next flight? Dreading a long trip in the cabin of a plane with dozens of strangers? While you can’t make the trip any faster, you can make it more comfortable–and increase the odds that you’ll be able to rest and relax while you wait to get to your destination. Try these key strategies to make yourself more comfortable in the plane.

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