Travel Tips

How to Make Airplane Seats More Comfortable

A row of airline seats

Flying can be a mixed experience when it comes to comfort, especially on long-haul flights in economy class. Limited legroom, cramped seats, and noisy environments can make for an uncomfortable journey.

However, there are several simple airplane seat hacks that can improve your experience. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or planning your first trip, here’s how to make airplane seats more comfortable.

Table of Contents

Choose the Right Airline
Select A Good Seat for You
Bring An Eye Mask And Earplugs
Use a Neck Pillow
Pack Lightly
Bring Entertainment
Stay Warm with Layers
Get a Footrest
Upgrade if You Can

Choose the Right Airline

An airplane taking off from a runway

The airline you choose to fly with can make a big difference when it comes to your comfort levels on the plane. Different airlines offer various amenities and services that can greatly enhance your overall comfort during the flight.

First and foremost, look for airlines that provide options for seat selection. Being able to choose your seat in advance allows you to pick one that suits your preferences, whether it’s a window seat for a scenic view or an aisle seat for easier access to the restroom and stretch your legs (more on seat selection later).

You’ll also want to consider the amenities provided by the airline. Most airlines offer snacks, seatback entertainment, blankets, and small pillows on long flights, but not all of them do. These amenities can be confirmed on an airline’s booking site.

Select A Good Seat for You

A shot from the back of an airplane looking down the aisle

Where you sit on a plane can be just as important as the airline itself. By choosing the right seat, you can significantly enhance your overall comfort during the flight. The right seat for you will depend on your individual wants and needs.

If you plan on getting up frequently to use the bathroom, you’ll probably be the most comfortable in an aisle seat. On the other hand, if you want to sleep during the entire flight, stick to a window seat.

If legroom is a concern, try to get a seat in an exit row. While these seats technically come with more responsibility in an emergency, they also tend to provide more legroom than other rows.

SeatGuru is a great resource for finding the best seats on airplanes. This site allows you to view seating charts for major airlines and even specific planes, and offers advice for which seat to book depending on your preferences.

Bring An Eye Mask And Earplugs

A man sleeps on a plane with an eye mask

If you want to sleep on an airplane (or just relax), you need an eye mask and a pair of earplugs.

By wearing an eye mask, you can create your own personal darkness, stimulating the natural production of melatonin and promoting a deeper, more relaxing sleep.

Earplugs help to block out the noise from engines, crying babies, and chatty passengers, creating a serene and private environment. This is especially beneficial during long-haul flights or when you just want to catch some shut-eye.

Use a Neck Pillow

A girl wearing headphones on a plane

Using a neck pillow during a flight can greatly enhance your comfort and make your airplane seat more enjoyable. Whether you’re on a long-haul flight or a short journey, a neck pillow provides multiple benefits.

One of the main advantages of using a neck pillow is the support it offers to your neck and head. It helps to keep your neck aligned and prevents it from straining or becoming stiff during the flight. This is especially important during those times when you want to rest or sleep.

In addition to neck support, many neck pillows offer extra features that further enhance your comfort. Look for one that comes with a carrying case, making it easy to bring along on your travels. Adjustable straps allow you to customize the fit, ensuring that the pillow stays in place.

Pack Lightly

A man loads luggage onto an airplane

Whether you bring a carry-on or not, your personal item will need to go under the seat in front of you during your flight. This means that the larger your personal item, the less room you’ll have for your feet.

To improve airplane comfort as much as possible, you should avoid packing too much in your personal item, especially if you are using a large bag or a backpack. The exception to this guideline is packing things that you will be using during the flight, like a neck pillow or travel blanket.

Bring Entertainment

A woman on her phone on a plane

Flights are long and boring. Make sure that you have plenty of things to entertain you in your seat to stay comfortable.

By bringing along entertainment options like books, music, movies, or games, you can make your flight more enjoyable. Reading a captivating novel or immersing yourself in a thrilling documentary can help pass the time and distract you from the discomfort of being seated for an extended period.

Don’t forget to pack an extra charger as well—while most long flights will have outlets available, not all airplanes have this feature. There is also always a chance you’ll get stuck in a seat with a broken outlet.

Stay Warm with Layers

A woman wears a comfortable sweater on a plane

Airplanes can be cold! It’s hard to get comfortable when you’re freezing, so make sure to wear layers on your flight. Make sure you have a cozy sweatshirt or jacket to keep you warm, even if you’re flying in the middle of the summer.

You should also pack some warm socks in your personal item, especially if you are sitting in a window seat. The walls of airplanes can get particularly cold during a flight, so you’ll want to make sure your feet stay nice and warm to remain comfortable.

Get a Footrest

An airplane foot hammock

One of the worst parts about a long flight is the leg-cramping most people experience from having to sit in the same cramped position for hours. For some, this can even be dangerous and cause blood clots to form if you don’t get up and stretch your legs periodically.

Another helpful travel accessory you might want to try on your next long flight is an airplane foot hammock. This footrest hangs from the tray table and takes the pressure off your hamstrings and glutes. It’s a handy item to have to improve airplane comfort and will make flying far more bearable.

Upgrade if You Can

A man speaks with an attendant at an airport

We know you probably wouldn’t be reading an article about staying comfortable on an airplane if you had the option of simply upgrading to first class. However, a seat upgrade isn’t always as unreachable as it may seem.

Before booking your flight, check to see the price of an upgraded seat. There may be a sale going on that the airline isn’t advertising. You can also see how many airline miles or points it would take for an upgrade—sometimes these are a much better deal than paying cash.

If all else fails, you can always ask a flight attendant at the gate if there are any upgrades available. It’s unlikely that this will get you a better seat, but if you’re polite, traveling alone, and there is some availability, you may end up in a comfier spot.

If you’re wondering how to make airplane seats more comfortable, look no further. By following these airplane seat hacks, travelers can maximize their comfort and minimize discomfort, ensuring a smoother and more comfortable flight experience.

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