How To Stay Alive When You’re Stuck in Economy Class for Fifteen Hours

Looking like you just got off the Paris runway is ridiculous if you’re ultimately headed for the cheap seats in the back. Wear a sports bra. All the support, none of the underwire.  You’ll have enough aggravation going on without including uncomfortable underwear into the whole mess. Dress light, dress comfy, use shoes you can ultimately slip in and out of very easily, and for the love of god, wear socks. You don’t want to be traipsing barefoot through security checkpoints when they ask you to remove your shoes. Gross.

My go-to travel outfit is a long-sleeved sweater, lounge pants from Uniqlo and my trusty Adidas Superstars. If it was socially acceptable to travel in a Snuggie, I would consider it. For a few minutes. I’m not that far gone.

Pick an aisle seat. You’ll get a little extra wiggle room and getting out is easy. Watch those elbows when the food cart comes around, though.

Have a travel buddy? Great, you get to keep that armrest lifted for a less confined feel. You can also try to game the system. If the plane’s seating configuration is 3 x 3 x 3, choose seats that leave the middle seat between you empty. If you’re lucky, no one will book it, and you’ll end up with even more extra space, because no one likes the middle seat.

Fair warning, this doesn’t always work out. People flying economy rarely cancel intercontinental long-haul flights if they can help it.

Stand. Stand often. Deep vein thrombosis is not your friend. No need to be a jack-in-the-box, but try to stretch your limbs at least once every couple of hours, and a potty break is a great excuse.

Keep your socks on. Planes get cold. Fun fact: you can get free socks and a sleep mask for free if you ask!

Use shoes when you use the lavatory.

This really shouldn’t be a necessary reminder, but I’ve seen quite a few people traipsing up the aisle in their stockinged feet. Observe hygiene and common sense; an airplane is a giant, bacteria-filled flying bus. God knows what you’re picking up.  (Hepatitis? Swine Flu? Foot and Mouth Disease? Gingivitis?)

Pre-load your phone/tablet/e-Reader with enough material to keep you occupied. In-flight entertainment may not always be ideal (Cathay Pacific – yay! Air Canada – boo!), and you’ll need something to make those interminable hours pass quickly, especially if you find it hard to sleep on planes. Otherwise, there’s always extra-strength Benadryl.

You know what, forget everything you’ve just read, with the exception of the sports bra. When all else fails, always go for extra-strength Benadryl. Sleep your way through a plane flight with no underwire digging into your ample curves, and you’ll be juuuust fine.

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