How to make Economy Class enjoyable!

Flying isn’t always enjoyable and airlines are making it worst by making the seats smaller plus less legroom. Most of my trips include the flights as being part of the journey making it a memorable experience as I’m not flying Economy class thanks to miles/points. With over 100,000 miles flown so far this year, I’ve had to endure a few long hauls in Economy. Each time I’m faced with flying Economy I always try to make it as enjoyable as possible which can be done with proper planning. Who has ~$7,000 for a roundtrip Business class ticket to Australia when Economy is $1,200? Below is my guide to making the most of flying Economy class.

 

Step 1:
Find an airline which offers newer planes, new IFE (inflight entertainment), inflight WiFi, better seats and better seating arrangements. A great resource is RouteHappy which rates your flight options.

Step 2:
Once you’ve identified the airline be sure to choose the right plane as it can make a huge difference. Not all planes within a single airline are always the same. Very few airlines (Southwest, Virgin America, etc.) fly a single plane type. Some carriers install inflight WiFi systems only on certain aircraft so be careful. Virgin America is one of the few to offer WiFi on all flights.

Step 3:
Find the flight with the newest plane type or refitted plane available. B777-300ER’s, B787’s, A350’s and A380’s are a sweet spot at the moment. My overall favorite at the moment is the B787 as it’s a wide-body plane, not too many passengers, high ceilings, quieter and better air quality.

Here are a few examples:
-Philippine Airlines offers an A340 or B777 depending on the flight for their SFO-MNL service. You’d want to select the B777 as it’s a much better plane and offers upgraded amenities. The A340 is old and worn out.
-Asiana Airlines offers an A380 or B777 depending on the flight for their LAX-ICN service. You’d want to select the A380 as it’s a much better plane and offers upgraded amenities. The A380 has the brand new Smartium Business Class seats.
-American Airlines offers an A321S or B737 depending on the flight for their DFW-SFO service. You’d want to select the A321S as it features their new seats and fast Gogo ATG4 inflight WiFi.
-Etihad offers B787 service from IAD to AUH and B777-200 service from LAX-AUH. I opted to fly Virgin America to IAD just to fly the B787 which I felt was worth it as it was much more enjoyable due to the brand new Economy Smart Seat.

Step 4:
Select your seats at the time of booking by using SeatGuru as a reference guide. If you are sitting on a flight over 8 hours I’d recommend a window seat where the middle seat isn’t booked but the aisle is booked. This increases your chances of having the middle seat open during the flight. Most aisle seats have limited leg room due to mounting brackets. A window seat is best as you get the legroom for both seats if the middle seat isn’t occupied. You can even pull up the armrests and split the middle seat with the other traveler as long as you aren’t in an exit row or bulkhead seat. I wouldn’t recommend sitting in a bulkhead or exit row seat due to the stationary armrests unless you really just want leg room and no wiggle room. The extra leg room seats on United (Economy Plus) or American (Main Cabin Extra) are a nice bonus if you can book it. My favorite is Row 17 on American’s B777-300ER as it’s a private Economy class cabin with only 4 rows.

Step 5:
Buy a neck pillow. I always thought they looked funny but your neck will thank you after multiple long haul flights.

Bought it mid-trip in Singapore

Bought it mid-trip in Singapore

Step 6:
Check the seat map 24-36 hours prior to your flight on the airlines website/app so you know if the entire row is available. Take a screenshot so you can reference the seat map as most airline block you from viewing it close to the flight. You can use the SeatAlerts app to track specific seats.

Step 7:
Enjoy and keep earning miles/points so you can book a Business or First Class award ticket in the future!

 

Pro Tips:
-Peak travel days are Monday, Thursday & Friday’s due to business travel. Try to fly off-peak!
-Surf the internet, iMessage, Facebook, Instagram, etc. using WiFi during a flight will help pass time
-Listen to music, read a book and/or looking through your photos on your phone during a flight will help pass time
-Airlines can change planes (equipment) last minute and due to schedule changes so you aren’t guaranteed what you book but it’s about 90% accurate based on my experience

Do you have any tips? Comment below.

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