Show of hands: who likes to travel to an international destination? Me me me! 🙋
But sometimes, travelling is hard work. I know that sounds like a first-world problem, but it totally is. You have all this planning and excitement built up to get to your amazing destination; but before you get there, you gotta survive your 9, 10, 12, 14 hour flight. And usually, it’s in economy… brrrrr 😳
So how do you survive your flight so that you don’t land on arrival looking & feeling like a complete zombie? I’ve done multiple international trips a year these last few years now, so I have to confidently say that I slay at travelling. And I’m ready to share my tips with you. Ready? Let’s fly!
Comfort is multi-fold.
It involves being comfortable on the plane… but more importantly comfortable in your seat. So you need to make sure you pick the right plane when you are booking and pick the correct seat when you are finalizing your flight details (during purchase or check-in).
I realize sometimes you’re just looking for a deal to “get away” so you can’t be super choosy on this kind of stuff, but when at all possible: be choosy ☺
Here’s an example. Say you and your honey are flying from San Francisco (SFO) to Hong Kong (HKG) — which is a flight we did last December — and you have two options:
- SFO to HKG non-stop via United Airlines on the Boeing 747-400 ( note: this flight is now on the Boeing 777-300ER )
- SFO to HKG with a stop in Seattle (SEA) via Delta Airlines on the Airbus A330-200
Now, you look at that and you probably think: I want the non-stop flight. Right? Wrong. The Boeing bird… yes, she’s the Queen of the Skies… but homegirl is old and a 3-4-3 config with only 31″ of pitch (which is the distance from your seat to the seat in front of you, aka leg room!). You can see they’ve modernized the flight by putting you on a newer plane, but it’s still the same 3-4-3 config with 31″ pitch… yuck. Do you want to be stuck sitting next to some rando for 14 hours? I think not.
Pick the Airbus that has a 2-4-2 config with 32″ of pitch so you and your honey are nice & cozy for 14 hours. Yes, it’s that long of a flight 😂 If I can survive it so can you! (PS – stay tuned for a trip report on my upcoming 18 HOUR flight to Singapore!)
Ok. You picked the perfect plane and route you want to take for your trip. Now you have to select your seat. Hopefully, you get to pick your seat in advance & without an extra charge (ahem, I’m looking at you, Air Canada — you suck) so let’s get going!
I sure hope you’ve heard of Seat Guru. These guys do a pretty job of mapping out every airline & their fleet of planes.
Remember my two examples above? Let’s pick the correct seat for each flight. Below are our two planes and the seats I’ve boxed around are – in my opinion – going to be the most comfortable for your flight. This is based on location of the seat in relation to the lavatories, galleys and bulkheads w/ bassinets. I like to select an aisle seat because I get up a lot when I’m awake to walk around, stretch my legs & keep the blood flowing but sometimes it’s nice to pick a window seat: get those noise cancelling headphones on, pop a Xanax (stay tuned for Part 2!) and pass out as long as possible!
As you can see, picking the Airbus is a way better choice because of the seating configuration. What do you think?
Stay tuned for Part 2 on how to slay your next international flight!
I hope Part 1 helps you set up your next travel adventure! Do you already obsess about planning your flight? Leave me a comment and let me know! Bon Voyage! ✈