Any links in this post to a merchant may contain an affiliate link, which means that if you click on that link and then buy something, I may earn a commission from it. However, all opinions in this link are 100% mine and 100% honest. If I didn't believe in a particular product, I wouldn't recommend it to you.
Airplane seats are not made for comfort, especially in coach. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer for the love of travel. It is possible to spend a long flight in economy seats without being completely miserable. Here are some simple tips to help maximize your comfort on long flights.
What to wear to increase your comfort on long flights
In most aspects of life, what you wear has a big impact on how comfortable you feel. Traveling is no different. So, the first step to maximize your comfort on long flights is to make the right choices on what to wear during your flight.
One of the easiest things you can do to be more comfortable while flying is to wear comfy clothing on the plane. This doesn’t mean you have to wear pajamas or gym clothes, but you do want to choose comfort over style. So, pick an outfit that won’t be tight or itchy. Make sure you can sit for long periods in your clothes without any problems. The more comfortable you are in your clothes, the more comfortable you will be in the airplane seat.
You never know what the temperature will be on an airplane. I have been on flights before where I felt like I was in an oven and I have been on flights where I froze the entire time. To be prepared, dress in layers. This will allow you to adjust to the climate of the plane to keep yourself at a pleasant temperature.
Loose fitting shoes
When deciding what to wear on the plane, don’t forget your feet! Sometimes when sitting in the same spot for long periods of time, your feet will swell. To account for this, you want to wear comfortable, loose fitting shoes during your flight.
What to pack for added comfort on long flights
The items you pack in your carry-on can also make a difference in your comfort level while flying. To make the flight more pleasant, be sure to pack these items.
Regardless of whether you plan to sleep on a plane or not, a travel pillow can be invaluable to have. I never travel without mine! You can use it as a soft spot to lay your head, a method of relaxing your neck, or even as support for your lower back in those uncomfortable plane seats. Amazon has a large selection of travel pillows to choose from.
Another comfort item to pack is snacks. While most airlines hand out little bags of pretzels or snack mix once in the air, you don’t want to depend on them to satisfy your hunger. Having your own snacks will ensure that you will always have something you enjoy eating when you feel the need to munch. Plus, you will not have to wait to eat when you feel those hunger pains call out. Having your own snacks is always a good idea, but it is a necessity when traveling with kids. Never underestimate the power of snacks to calm a child on a plane! For ideas on what snacks to pack for your kids, see my list of the best and worst airplane snacks.
Nothing can destroy your comfort on long flights more than pain, whether it’s in your head, back, or somewhere else. To make sure you are prepared, carry a small bottle of pain reliever with you. This will allow you to act quickly to stop the pain before it makes you miserable.
Electronic & non-electronic entertainment
Long flights require lots of entertainment to keep from getting bored. I recommend having more things to do than you can possibly do in one flight in case of unexpected delays. Pack both electronic and non-electronic entertainment options. This way, if you have technical difficulties during your flight, you have some low-tech things to fall back on. Additionally, too much screen time can cause a decrease in comfort due to headaches and dry eyes. So, having something to do that doesn’t involve a screen can help. Read my list of screen-free activities for ideas for your kids.
If you have any hopes of getting some sleep on an airplane, you will want to have an eye mask with you. This is something that I just recently started packing, but it is so helpful on long flights. An eye mask will block out the light, whether it is from the sun or your neighbor’s reading light. You can find some good eye masks on Amazon.
Another necessity for maximizing your comfort on long flights is a good pair of headphones. These will allow you to watch movies, listen to music, or just block out the crying baby three rows back. Noise cancelling headphones can also help you to sleep or just relax during the flight. Check out these options on Amazon.
What to do to improve your comfort on long flights
Not only can you maximize your comfort on long flights by wearing the right clothes and packing the right items, you can also be more comfortable by focusing on your body during and before the flight.
While you wait for your flight to board, prepare your body for the long flight. You can do this simply by taking a walk through the airport. This will get the blood flowing. It will also burn off any excess energy and allow you to stretch your legs. Move around before boarding so that once you get settled in your seat, your body will be ready to sit and rest.
Periodically during the flight, when your body starts to ache and feel too cramped, stand up and stretch a little. Reach your arms up above your head. Arch your back. Roll your neck around in small circles. These small stretches will help your muscles relax a little and improve your comfort for the remainder of the flight.
Lastly, the best way to maximize your comfort on long flights is to relax as much as possible. Settle in, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride. The more relaxed you are during the flight, the more pleasant it will be. If you struggle with a fear of flying, see my tips for reducing anxiety when flying. You can also read my tips for dealing with child anxiety when flying.
Being on an airplane for several hours can be miserable, especially when flying in coach. But, there are ways to maximize your comfort on long flights. Wearing the right clothes, making smart choices in packing your carry-on, and focusing on your body can all improve your flight. Flying with kids can add an extra level of difficulty to your in-flight experience, but that can be improved too. To improve your flight with kids, see my tips on flying with kids, preparing kids for long flights, and common mistakes when flying with toddlers. Do you have any tips for improving long flights? Leave them in the comments. Happy travels!