This long haul flight hack could be the key to actually getting a comfortable sleep on the plane.
Anyone who has flown economy on a long haul flight knows one thing for certain: it’s not a luxury experience. If you’re sitting by the window there’s a high chance you’ll be wracked by anxiety for the next 10 hours that you’re going to need the loo, and that when you do, everyone will be asleep and you won’t be able to climb out to reach the toilet.
If you’ve sat on the aisle seat, you’ll know that pretty much every time you get comfortable and manage to drift off into a light slumber, a refreshment trolley or fellow passenger will nudge your head just from its resting place as they bowl past.
And the middle - well we won’t even talk about the horrors of sitting in the middle.
So, on the very rare occasions when the flight is verging on empty and everyone can have a row to themselves, it feels like heaven. Stretching out and laying down, it’s a flight experience fit for a queen.
But imagine if you could ensure this was the case? Stylist has curated the best travel tips to help you make the most of your travel experience - no matter where you sit in the cabin.
Turn an economy seat into a flat bed
Air New Zealand has the answer: the Economy Skycouch.
First developed in 2011, the couch has soared in popularity. “Imagine a row of economy seats that can be turned into a couch after takeoff. So you and your friend or family member can stretch out. Clever, right?” a spokesperson says. “You’ll also get some lovely bedding and pillows. It’s a world first.”
The airline explains upgrading to Economy Skycouch automatically reserves the whole row for you, so there’s no chance you’ll be expected to snuggle up with a stranger. It’s advised that the cost of this split between two people, who would then theoretically be able to sleep on the Skycouch together. It does look pretty cosy though, so make sure you book with someone you’re comfortable with.
Adjustable arm rests that can be pushed back form the basics of the Economy Skycouch. The newly-flexible seat-arms disappear into the seat and allows the passenger to lie down properly. The footrests come up to create more space to lie on and can be adjusted to 60 and 90 degrees.
The flight attendants are there to help Skycouch passengers assemble their beds, and there’s an extension safety belt for when you’re lying vertical.
On Twitter, Air New Zealand passengers have been going wild for the experience, calling it “innovative” and a way to make a “nine plus hour journey comfortable”.
All we want to know is, when will all the other airlines wise up to this great long haul travel hack? Skycouch is now available on all Air New Zealand Boeing 777 and 787-9 operated long haul services.
Fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday for the cheapest rates
“Tuesday, 3pm EST (8pm GMT) is the cheapest time to buy a ticket. Airlines aggressively advertise sales on social media, so follow your favourites on Twitter and Facebook. These sales are usually pulled before Thursday, so be sure to book your ticket before Wednesday night.
Flying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays usually provides for a 15-25 percent drop in the ticket price. Fly into hubs and book shorter legs separately. In addition to fare aggregators like Kayak, FareCompare and Skyscanner, check the airline’s site and in different currencies to see if the ticket is cheaper.”
- Stephany Zoo of elitedaily.com
Never change money at a UK airport
“You’ll probably end up with 5-10 per cent less than you’d get by shopping around for euros or US dollars either in your local area or online. For more ‘exotic’ currencies, such as Egyptian pounds or Croatian kuna, consider taking sterling and changing it out there.”
- Travel journalist Simon Calder (via tescoliving.com)
Buy points instead of earning them
If you’re not a frequent flyer, it can be hard to build up the amount of points with an airline you actually need to get anywhere. Instead, go straight to the source and buy the points themselves, as paying for a flight with points is usually cheaper than with money. Investopedia says that “there are plenty of websites that allow you to buy and sell points, but steer clear since major airlines don’t allow it. Instead, purchase them directly from the airline.”
Download ALL the apps
In this digital world that we live in, airlines are trying to push app downloads as much as possible. One way of doing this is by offering flash upgrades to those using their apps as a special little thank you for loyalty. “Even with dirt-cheap economy tickets, many carriers now offer them to passengers who use their website or mobile app to check on their booking,” says Gilbert Ott, flight hacker and travel blogger. So, if you’ve got a holiday already booked make sure you’re checking in using the app – saves a bit of paper too!
Stop worrying about the ‘where’
You need to keep your origins open: when you have flexibility over where you’re traveling from, you can get better deals on first- and business-class seats. Flights that pass through Colombo, Sri Lanka, for example, are particularly cheap.
- Ben Schlapping, One Mile at a Time blogger
Don’t be polite
Us Brits are known for our politeness. Have you ever had a cold meal at restaurant and been too embarrassed to complain? Or experienced awful customer service but somehow managed to keep a tight-lipped smile instead of saying anything? Of course, you have! MarketWatch advises that if a genuine opportunity to complain comes up to take it, as an upgrade to first class could be a form of compensation.
Images: Getty / Instagram