16 tips to have the best in-flight experience

It doesn’t matter if your trip takes two hours or 12. Well it might, but longer trips require a lot more of your patience and ask you to have a certain tolerance of strangers. The fact that you’re boxed into a stuffy flight at any hour of the day does not make the average person happy.

Today, we'll give you 16 tips that'll help you get the most out of your in-flight experience. We aked some of our frequent flyer friends for advice too!

PLAN AHEAD

One of the best tips we can offer off the bat: (1) book your trip early so you don’t get the middle seat. This may be harder to do on last minute vacation packages, but no one wants the middle seat, ever. 

A lot of these tips for the best in-flight experience require (2) planning ahead, just so you don’t get stuck with the short end of the armrest, and so you don't end up paying out of pocket more than you have to.

LONG HAUL VS SHORT HAUL

The length of your trip will essentially dictate where you should sit on your flight. On a short trip, if you’re able to, (3) book your seat as close to the front of the aircraft as possible. You’ll deboard faster when the flight is over. On a long trip, the window seat will offer the best views and a little bit of privacy from those who walk the aisles.

(4) Longer trips with layovers here and there are also the most notorious for baggage loss and flight delay, make sure your travel insurance is in order.

COMFORT

Even if you’re on a short flight, comfort can separate bliss from regret.

When you’re booking the flight, think about your seating preferences: (5) if you would rather have easy access to the bathroom, pick the aisle seat. Or, opt for the window seat if you won’t need the bathroom as much, and you’re comfortable enough to ask your neighbour to politely move their legs.

Speaking of legs, (6) look at how much legroom your plane has in advance, average, above average or –gasp!– below average? Check online reviews for the carrier.

Next, when it comes to controlling your body temperature for comfort, (7) wear layers because the temperature in-flight is known to fluctuate from too hot to too cold; you need to have options.

Almost forgot about the (8) neck pillow, it’s pretty awkward trying to sleep on a plane without one.

STAY CLEAN

(9) Bring Purell or hand sanitizer – the travel size that is allowed on-flight. There’s more bacteria floating around on planes that travel far distances, frequently, with high occupancy.

(10) Take vitamin C and any other vitamins that are part of your routine before your trip to stay on top of your health and avoid getting sick once you've landed in a new place.

FOOD

(11) Bring your own meals to avoid paying for them.

Liquids are not allowed through the security checkpoint –this is where the Duty Free or small airport convenience stores come in– while other, more solid foods can be brought past the checkpoint if they are sealed, in a container, or wrapped. Different airports will have different rules, so always check ahead.

There is a list of specific foods you’re allowed to bring (in your carryon) through airport security that includes: solid food, whole natural foods like fruit of vegetables or other solid foods that are either in a container or wrapped up. All foods get x-rayed like your other possessions.

(12) With some airlines, you’re able to purchase in-flight food vouchers ahead of the time on their website at a 50% discount. Make sure to check this out!

Lastly, (13) look at the carrier’s menu ahead of time to see if your dietary restrictions can be met with the in-flight meal, especially if you won’t have time to make your own.

ENTERTAINMENT

(14) Bring your own headphones! Don’t be the one person that forgot them and ended up spending $6.99 on the carrier’s questionable option.

Next, (15) check what’s offered for in-flight entertainment on the airline’s website before you leave. It’ll help you decide whether to bring your own.

Some movies, television shows and in-flight Wi-Fi networks require payment, so if you’re prepared enough, (16) download episodes of the new TV show you’re watching or pick some movies you want to watch and download them before you leave your house.

Fair warning: the television sets behind the headrests are not the most responsive of devices, either. Think about bringing your own entertainment device so you’re not stressing out for 20 minutes searching for that one episode of Seinfeld.