This article was originally published on the flight comparison site Skyscanner
When travelling economy, we've all let out a jealous groan as we pass the First Class cabin of the plane. Those huge comfy seats, the posh toiletries, proper food and five-star service.
Don't feel down you're not living the high life this time, here are 10 tips to make your economy experience feel frankly first class. Frequent flyer Alicia Drewnicki shares her secrets.
1. Take a good travel pillow
A top quality travel pillow can make all the difference when it comes to sleeping well and avoiding neck ache. Ditch the free cushions that you get on long-haul flights; these are flat, thin and slip behind your head as soon as you fall asleep. Don't go for anything big and bulky that's shaped like a normal pillow either. Instead, invest in an inflatable pillow - it'll save room in your hand luggage bag, give good neck support and prevent your head from falling over when you sleep.
2. Buy an inflatable foot rest
Having your feet slightly raised on a flight not only aids circulation, but it can reduce the risk of swelling and joint pain too. This is a comfort-boosting option that is often overlooked, and it won't take up much space when deflated either.
3. Look around for any empty seats and see if you can move
Always be on the lookout for free seats - sometimes whole rows are empty and let's face it, three seats are better than one. You will be able to lift up the arm rest and potentially lie down across a full row. So keep your eyes open and ask if you can move.
4. Go DIY gourmet with Duty Free treats
If plane food has never impressed you, then why not take the time to purchase some luxury chocolates or snacks in Duty Free to take with you on the plane? These little treats can make all the difference, especially whilst having a mid-air toast with your favourite tipple (you'll have to get that from cabin service - you're not allowed to drink your Duty Free purchases on the plane).
5. Bring some good noise-cancelling headphones and ear plugs
Whether it's a crying baby, a chatty neighbour or the noise of the engine, loud noises can ruin the chances of a relaxing flight, so make sure that you're fully prepared. Bring some noise-cancelling headphones and listen to some relaxing music, or if you want complete silence, buy some good quality ear plugs.
6. Choose your seats wisely before you board the flight
Aim for a window seat to ensure you don't have a frequent toilet visitor scrambling over you every five minutes (or snag an aisle if you're that frequent toilet visitor). Also, don't immediately assume an exit row is best. Yes, these seats have extra leg room, but they don't recline. Instead, consider the row behind the exit row where you won't have someone reclining in front of you.
7. Bring a good sleeping mask
Sleeping masks are great for blocking out ambient light and letting you have a good rest. Invest in a slightly pricier one that sits away from your eyes and has eye cavities built into the mask. This will mean that rather than pushing on your eyelids, your eyes will be unobstructed during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, so you will sleep more deeply.
8. Bring your own blanket
Flights can be chilly and blankets aren't always provided, or can be very thin. Bring your own soft cashmere lightweight blanket/pashmina so you can snuggle up and dream away.
9. Bring slipper socks to walk around the plane
Sometimes flights provide free socks but they're often thin and flimsy. Bring some of your own slipper socks so you can comfortably walk around the plane.
10. Pack some toiletries to pamper yourself on the plane
There are so many lotions and potions that you can bring on the flight with you to make your trip more comfortable. Try some face spritz, under eye gel, tired eye drops, moisturiser, lip-balm, face wipes and a toothbrush and toothpaste. Stay hydrated as well as keeping your skin moisturised and you're all set for a comfortable flight.
Alicia Drewnicki is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer and television presenter from London.
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