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How to Make the Most of Economy Class

SmarterTravel

We get it: No one likes flying in the back of the plane. But don’t let the haters get you down. Here are six ways to help you sit back, relax and enjoy your flight.

Pick the right airline for more legroom

There’s absolutely nothing worse than being on a long-haul flight with your knees pushed up to your chin. Fortunately, some airlines offer more space in economy class than others. Check out SeatGuru’s economy chart for a sortable list of every airline’s seat width and pitch (that’s fancy airline lingo for legroom). Hint: WestJet is the best with wide 20-inch rows and 38 inches to spread out.

Choose your seat wisely

Yes, we’re all fed up about the cattle car that is coach. However, if you learn to choose your seat wisely, it can go a long way. This is where Seat Expert comes in handy. The site has color-coded maps that rate each seat’s comfort level and amenities.

Avoid the exit row

It’s true that the exit row has more space for sprawling, but it also has its setbacks. For one, the seats don’t recline. Also, you have to store your handbags, backpacks or briefcases out of reach to keep the emergency row clear, and the TV screens are always farther away. We recommend sitting in the row behind the exit since the person in front of you can’t recline into your territory.

Pack gadgets to help you rest

Though the seats aren’t exactly up to par with tempurpedic mattresses, there are some things you can bring to ease the ride. WOOLIP doubles as an inflatable armrest and head pillow, and the Fly Legs Up hammock is a sling to support your feet while in flight (aka the closest you’ll ever get to that lie-flat first class experience). It’s also smart to invest in a pair of Bose QuietComfort 25 noise-cancelling headphones. They’re pricey at $300 a pop, but so worth the splurge to drain out the screaming babies and pilot PA system.

Look out for open rows

If you get really lucky, you may not be on a full flight. When that happens, take advantage of it by keeping an eye out for open areas (or even better a whole row!). If you grab it fast enough, you may be flying with three seats all to yourself.

Snag a stable seat

Do you suffer from airplane anxiety? If so, select a seat over the wings, which is the most stable section of the craft and the smoothest spot when it comes to turbulence. (Take that, first class!) Just keep in mind, this is the loudest area during landing and takeoff, but if it’s up to us, a few minutes of engine noise is worth it to avoid hours of a bumpy ride.

—Chelsea Bengier

This article was originally published by Jetsetter under the headline How to Make the Most of Economy Class. It is reprinted here with permission.

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