I recently boarded a plane for only the second time since March 2020, and I’m here to tell you: Flying has not gotten any more pleasant. Seats are just as cramped, cabins are just as loud, and flights feel just as full. Airline travel, in general, is a big mess, thanks staff shortages, overbooking, delays, cancellations, and confusion about masking requirements.
It’s so chaotic that even $10,000 supposedly isn’t enough to get people to give up confirmed seats on a flight, and when you’re flying coach/economy class, two hours in the air can seem to last 12, even with noise-cancelling headphones, comfy clothes, and a window seat.
One alternative, of course, would be to pay to fly premium economy or first class. But on shorter, regional flights and smaller aircraft, I honestly don’t think this would make much of a difference, as everyone will be essentially the same cabin, and a few extra inches of legroom or degrees of seat recline probably aren’t worth the often substantial added cost. Plus, flight prices are already especially high thanks to rising passenger demand and skyrocketing fuel costs. An economy ticket may be your only (somewhat) affordable option.
How do you maintain your sanity while flying coach?
But I don’t think flying in the cheap seats has to be the worst. Surely there are items to bring, ways to plan ahead, upgrades to request, and things to do on the plane to make it feel like you are traveling in (relative) luxury, whether you’re on an intrastate or transcontinental flight.
So tell us: how do you make economy-class trips less uncomfortable? Whether you are a frequent flier or economy expert, share your best hacks with us in the comments, and we’ll round the best of them up to share with others in a future post.