As much as I do love travelling around the world and seeing new places, one thing that I can dread is flying, not the matter of being 37000ft in the air in a tin can but being stuck in a tight place for a long period of time!
Being 6ft 3″ (or 190cm!) it can often be a cramped experience and one that I can’t wait to see the end of, Business Class is potentially an option but even if you do have the money for that kind of travel, wouldn’t you rather save it and spend it at your actual destination?
Luckily, through all of the flights I have taken I have been able to suss out what works best for me and here are my tips for how to make your flight more comfortable if you struggle the same!
Choosing The Airline
Although sometimes you are stuck to a specific airline depending on what flight route you want and also what day/time you want to fly it, but sometimes very popular routes have a number of airlines flying it around close times to each other all in the name of competition, one example of this is Manchester to Dublin, RyanAir and Are Lingus both provide an afternoon service departing with 10 minutes of each other! So see whats out there and you might find you have a good range to choose from.
Two sites that can help you with this are firstly Skyscanner to see if there is an actual service at all to take you where you need to go when you want, the second site SeatGuru is a site that allows travellers to choose the best seats of their chosen airline with reviewer feedback on the experience of being in that actual seat! The reality is though that if you are wanting to go on a specific date and time and there is only one airline flying at that time, then you pretty much know who you are flying with!
In my experience I found that Qatar Airways and British Airways had pretty good leg room and overall space in long Haul as well as Lufthansa, Swiss and Jet2 in short haul
I found that American Airlines, British Airlines (in short haul) and RyanAir fell short of the mark for as far as leg room goes, with my flying experience on these airlines being a very squashed and uncomfortable one!
Choose The Right Seat
When you book your flight you almost have the immediate choice to choose where you want to sit when booking. One thing I factor into my decision when deciding how good an airline is, is the choice to choose your seat at no extra cost.
Usually airlines seating policies will comprise of one of three of these methods, here is what they are and how I usually get around them.
- The Bad One: they will make you pay for where you want to sit no matter how early you book the flight (RyanAir, EasyJet and Jet2 are culprits of this to name a few) in my opinion I think it is a disgusting money making scheme by the airline and usually because these kind of carriers are short haul I will bite the bullet and sit in a free seat assigned by the airline, even if it is a middle seat, more on principal than anything else. But if you are flying with one of these airlines I would recommend getting one of the aisle seats. When you book online and you choose your seat just go for the cheapest aisle seat on the entire aircraft.
- The Bad But Can Be OK One: an airline will charge you to choose where you want to sit until 24 hours until you fly which at that point you can choose where you want to sit for free (Emirates and British Airways do this and are probably not the only ones) its better than the first type however is still a bit of a con in my eyes, I experienced this first hand when I flew back from New York with British Airways and to sit in a specific seat before the 24 hours before flying, it would have cost me £58! To get around this wait until bang on 24 hours and choose an aisle seat from whatever is left, usually on these long haul – larger aircraft flights there are still a few free seats, so there is still a decent amount of choose from!
- The Good One: an airline will allow you to choose your seats for free from the moment you book (Qatar Airways, SWISS and American Airlines operate this policy) it is one of the main reasons I choose Qatar Airways especially for long haul flights as I do not agree with having to pay even more for already costly flights! When flying with these airlines not only do I get the flights booked as soon as possible but I choose an aisle seat, right at the back of the aircraft or with a bulkhead behind it. You usually find that you the seat pitch is slightly greater and you can extend you seat right back whenever you want without affected anyone else behind you! On some aircraft such as Qatar’s B777 the seats also go from 3-4-3 to a 3-3-3 at the back of aircraft so you have less people to sit with too and more space in the aisle that you even stretch out into!
One Other Option
Another alternative to explore is booking a flight only or package holiday through an in store travel agents as we have found with our future trip to Las Vegas, Thomas Cook who we have booked it all through operate a middle ground seating policy where you usually have to pay for your seats until 24 hours before departure, however we were able to choose our seats at no extra cost when we went in store and booked it through them. Keep your high street going and go in store!
Finally, regardless of if you get the seat you want or not, dressing in thick restrictive clothes can make you uncomfortable, best thing you can wear when flying is either thin joggers or shorts, avoid wearing jeans or anything with a belt. if you get cold when wearing shorts, either put on a jacket, put a jacket over your legs or use the blanket you are available on long haul flights!