3 Tips for being better Economy Class travellers

I’ve just been on the road for the past few weeks. Like I earlier mentioned, I’d had to hop on a plane to go around Europe about 15 days back, and then followed it up with a trip to the USA over the last weekend. As a result, I did fly about 31,000 butt-in-seat miles over the past 2 weeks, and I am maybe in a state of jet lag right now, since I’ve only gotten 3 hours of sleep in my bed and I am back to a state of work now.


A part of these trips was in business class, where I managed to clear upgrades. Another part was in premium economy, but for the most part, I travelled in Economy. As much as travelling international Economy class is no fun, it gives me an opportunity to people watch. It also puts me in uncomfortable situations many a times. But it makes me capable to give you all and myself advise to be better coach travellers as well. So read on…

Keep the PDA in check: If you read this post, you know I had to take off on short notice on a long trip. One of the highlights of the trip was me having no appreciation for the fact that Helsinki is far far away from the main part of Europe where I usually go, and a different timezone too. Hence, I underestimated the distances. Before long, I found myself on a 3 hour long flight between Helsinki and Paris. Thank you oneworld, as my status allowed me to preselect a good seat (the emergency exit aisle), on an A320.

I found a couple of French kids to be my seatmates, and I chose to try and take a nap. These people in their early 20s could not get their hands off each other on the plane, and it certainly put me in a spot because I usually look out of the window when I am not reading or working or sleeping on a plane. To add to it, the stupid guy kept shutting off the window on the wing, especially during take off and landing, which is of course, a security issue. The woman, on the other hand, wanted to really really keep her handbag with her, while standard exit row procedure is to keep everything overhead so that the place is clear for safety reasons if they ever needed it. Hey French people, I appreciate your liking for touchy feely kind of love, and I love your city of Paris so much to have proposed there, BUT CAN YOU BE SENSITIVE TO CO-PASSENGERS AND KEEP YOUR PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION OFF WHILE IN THE AIR? Or… get a room?

Get off the bad breath: On my way from London to Chicago, I was in the bulkhead of an old American Airlines Boeing 777-200 in the economy section, not the best place to be in today’s modern times of flying. The guy sitting next to me, well, decided he needed to sleep for most part of the 8 hour long flight. Except, he slept with his mouth open, and, while he was not snoring, he had massive amounts of bad breath. I almost felt like popping some spearmint in his mouth by myself.

Keep your volume low, and your knees and alcohol in check: On my last leg back home last night, my originally scheduled flight was on a Boeing 777-300ER, which is one of the newest planes on British Airways. It seemed that ways till I arrived at London, and then the plane got swapped with one of the oooolder kind of British Airways Boeing 777-200ER, also causing a delay to take off. I had an Economy Emergency Exit seat, and in a 3 seat set, one seat was open, so I should have been good for a rested flight. Not to be.

Last evening, I encountered two of the loudest speaking people on my plane, one of them sitting right behind me, and the other one across the aisle. The interesting bit, they both had a seat next to them open, but they chose to sit across the aisle. And they had the longest and the most animated conversation on a plane in a language I could not understand. It was so animated, that it was loud over the top for me to be able to listen over my noise cancelling headphones, and the guy moved his legs so often that they dug into my back every now and then. Ah, for some it might seem that it was the continuation of the chair massage I got at the Elemis Spa at the Heathrow South BA First Lounge, but that was not the case.

I did ask him twice to keep his volume low, but he just ordered more beers and kept getting a notch up every time he had a beer.

I’ve seen stuff over the year at airports and in airplanes, but nothing that matched these three incidents. Do you have something to add to this list of tips for fellow coach travellers?

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  1. Plan your restroom visits. Try to time with fellow row member.
    If over 200lbs — offer to take the aisle seat from window.
    Clearly state you’ll need immigration form filler assistance, ask if you’re willing to help (like the emergency window exit aisle), and that you Y/N have a pen.
    My baby will be well behaved

  2. Once in a domestic coach seat, the FAs were serving snacks and hot beverages when the guy in front of me decided to laugh so hard that all the contents on the seatback tray tipped in my lap. I had to control myself hard not to slap the fella.

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