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Airplane hacks for more economy comfort

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Alison Godfrey 14 May 2018

Hate flying economy? Don't have the cash or points to spare to upgrade?

Economy class can be a squeeze but there are some simple things you can do to make your flight more comfortable. Picture: Shutterstock

We have some good news for you. 

A few adjustments and smart choices will make your economy seat just a little bit more bearable. Here's how. 

Secret buttons

Most people assume that the aisle armrests are locked down. But some can actually be raised. This is a great little trick for anyone with limited mobility. It certainly makes access to the economy seats a whole lot easier. Feel under the armrest and you may just fund a little button near the back hinge. Push that hidden button and your armrest will raise up. Watch how it's done in the video below. 


Move your bag

Your bag only needs to be stowed under the seat in front of you for take off and landing. Once your flight has reached a stable altitude, move the bag behind your legs and you can stretch out a lot further. 

Choose wisely

This is critical. Not all economy seats are created equal. Take a good look at the website seatexpert.com and you will see what we mean. They have a list of every airline with seats marked in red, orange and yellow - hover over the seat and you can see whether it is close to the toilet, to high traffic areas or narrower than other seats. 

Go close to the wings

Hate turbulence? You will want to pick a seat that is close to the wings - it's closer to the centre of gravity. The wings keep the plane stable, the tail is more likely to bob. 

Sit near the wings for more stability. Picture: Shutterstock

Check in early

Make sure you do an online check in as soon as it opens. If you have't paid extra to pick your seat - this is the best chance you have to change your allocation. 

Go forward for less noise

Want a quieter ride? Pick a seat closer to the front of the cabin. According to the experts, noise from the engines is louder in the back. 

Hidden handles

Some small planes have a hidden handle on the tray table in front. Usually it can be found on the seats in the evacuation row. It is used to prevent the tables from being knocked down in an emergency. Use the lock and you will avoid those moments when the tray table falls down in flight. 

Hidden hooks

Some tray tables also have a hook on the end of the latch that swings to affix the tray to the seat in front. This little hook is a great place to store your headphone so you don't end up in a jumble every time you get up to go to the toilet. 

Look closely... the tray table in this video below is one with the hook. 

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