Our budget tips for surviving long haul flights in economy

long haul flight economy

You know what’s great? Traveling and seeing different parts of the world! As great as Mechanic: Resurrection is, it just doesn’t compare to attending an opera in Sydney, Australia or finding a quiet nook in Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Not so great however, is the time you spend getting to that destination. We’ve done most of our travels in economy (the one outlier is the time we got bumped off a flight, and placed in business class at the next one) and it can turn into a grueling experience. Here are our budget tips for surviving long haul flights in economy class.

1. Save an offline playlist on Spotify

You will need music to get through a long flight. Be smart and create a playlist that you can save offline. Get headphones that work with cable (since your battery might go dead if you’re using Bluetooth ones) and read up on Spotify’s site on how to get a playlist to work offline in case you don’t know. Pick something you like, yet can also see yourself falling asleep too. In our case that would Bon Iver, The National, James Blake, or Perfume Genius.

2. Dress in layers

These flights tend to change in terms of temperature. Make sure you have something with you that can keep you warm. If you are traveling light, just put on a sweater and jacket when you board the plane and place it in the lockers above it when taking your seat.

3. Try getting an aisle seat

Being tall can be a fucking curse. The worst way to spend a flight is to be sitting next to an overweight person, especially when you’re in the middle or next to the window. Not all planes offer a free option to choose seats, so you might want to pay up for this. Sitting next to the emergency exits is the best, since you have more leg space.

Bonus tip: if you sit in an aisle seat you can use a hidden armrest button to open up the aisle armrest, leaving you with more space. Just be careful not to fall out of your seat when you fall asleep.

4. Pick the right movies

Our way of picking movies on a long flight is quite similar to our guide to choosing movies on a sick day, actually. We suggest you check out that article, but the short version is: pick a safe mix of movies including generic comedies and past favorites. It’s good to sandwich a classic in there as well. Do keep in mind airlines usually offer cropped movies, which is even worse than the problem with film aspect ratio on Netflix.

Bonus tip: If you’re really cheap, you might’ve ended up with something like Aeroflot, which doesn’t always offer in-flight entertainment. In that case, download movies for offline playback on your Netflix app. You can find instructions here.

5. Buy the right medication

If you’ve been on this blog before, you know we’re not exactly the most conservative people out there. We’ve always had problems sleeping, and the thing that has helped out the most is actually buying some Valium over the counter in SE Asia (Vietnam or Cambodia). We ended up either sleeping or not caring that we were awake. We were indeed comfortably numb.

Back in Europe or the US it’ll be more difficult to get this kind of medication, so you might have to resort to generic sleeping pills there.

You’ll find a lot of people who will instead recommend you get a quality flight pillow, but come on…  fuck them.


If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy our guide on how to visit the Reichstag for free, and how to get from Arlanda to Stockholm city centre.

Have any other tips? Let us know in the comments!

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