Travel in style. Image Credit: Supplied

An economy seat is the preferred travel option for a majority of the population in the UAE. First and business class seats come with a lot of added comfort which include elevated leg rests, gourmet food, leg space, extra-reclined seats and more. They also have a hefty price tag. Here are couple of tips to try and make yourself feel like you are (almost) in first class.

Here are the tips I personally tied to make every economy trip comfortable and as good and relaxing as a first-class trip.


Cabin bags/Carry-ons

This depends on your purpose and length of travel, and your final destination. I always feel that a simple carry-on bag or a trolley bag as my sole piece of luggage really makes my trip 10 times less stressful. If you can’t afford to do that, ensure that you only have a simple hand-bag or duffel bag as a carry-on, and send all the rest of your luggage as check-in.

This ensures that you don’t have to pull along heavy multiple bags through the airport, or face the struggle of trying to lift and stuff them in the overhead storage. It would be easier to manage travel this way especially if you’re travelling with family.


Choosing your seat

Many airlines, budget and otherwise, offer various options within the Economy range. Depending on specific factors, choose the best one for you. If you’re tall and are sure that the normal seats in most budget airlines will be cramped, choose a seat by the emergency exit. It offers a lot of leg space but the seats don’t recline. If you feel you are someone who likes to walk or move around, choose an aisle seat or else choose a window seat.

There are apps, such as SeatGuru, Skytrax or Expert Flyer, which can help you select the best seats based on airline, user reviews and your requirements. If you want good quality air travel, save some space for one of these apps. Look for rows that are empty, especially if booking last-minute – you might just get lucky and be able to sleep and lounge like the Economy king or queen.


Custom leg rest

The worst part of air travel for me as a relatively short person is my feet not quite resting on the floor of the aircraft. While it is all right for two hours, as the length of flight increases, my feet get swollen and it becomes really uncomfortable. Leg rests are key in helping you sit comfortably inflight (hence, first class seats).

Easy to carry apparatus like The Fly LegsUp Flight Hammock (an actual hang-able hammock for your legs) or an inflatable travel footrest cushion (yes, they exist) could help. Specifically designed for air travel, these ensure you have good feet and leg support and can help you settle in comfortably into your seat. However, don’t block passageways and aisles, especially during take-off and landing.


Eye shades and ear plugs

If you’re on a red-eye flight, the consolation you have the day of flying is that you may be able to get some shut-eye during the flight. Toddlers on your flights might disagree, and quite loudly.

Carry good quality ear plugs to sleep or sound-proof headphones if you want some relaxing music to make the flight enjoyable. If you plan on sleeping, carry comfortable eye shades so the varying lighting doesn’t disturb your rest. Don’t forget to use a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sticker to let the cabin crew know if you’d prefer to sleep than eat.


Pamper yourself

Carry a clear inexpensive plastic accessories bag in your carry-on – you could get one for Dh7 in Dubai. The essentials you need include a tooth brush and mini toothpaste tube, a facial spray or facial moisturiser (for men and women), a lip balm or moisturising lipstick and a comb.

Dehydration is a major side-effect of flying for long periods of time so make sure your face, lips and arms are well moisturised. A quick brush of your teeth and hair will also go a long way in keeping the feeling of fatigue at bay. This is the perfect substitute to the pamper-pouch that you get when you fly first class – it is essentially the same thing, just packaged nicer.

Get out of your flight feeling and looking like a million bucks – after a ‘first-class’ flight experience.