The Economy Class Survival Guide: 9 Tips for Your Next Budget Couples Vacation Flight

John’s Articles

An unfortunate reality of a budget couples vacation is flying in the economy cabin. You can make the most of your next flight with these tips!

Imani and I had over 40 hours of travel, including a 13 hour layover in Singapore, in order to get from Los Angeles to Delhi.  Spending long periods of time flying is never fun, unless you are flying business or first class. But let’s face it, most of us normies can’t afford to fly business or first class on our couples vacation.  

Over the years I’ve learned how to maximize my comfort during long haul, international flights.  Hopefully these tips can help you and your partner travel on a budget but still arrive at your destination ready to enjoy your couples vacation. 

Economy Cabin Tips and Tricks

1. Download the Airline’s App

After you have booked your flight, download the app for that airline.  This is an easy way to get flight information and updates, and get your boarding pass.  More importantly, some airlines, like United, provide in flight entertainment through the app. I made the mistake of not downloading the United App before a trans-atlantic flight.  I spent the flight watching a movie over my neighbors shoulder. He didn’t use subtitles 🙁     

Couples Vacation Airline Food
Photo by Same New Love

2. Check your Meal Options 

In my opinion, airplane food dramatically improves when flying internationally.  However, I discovered a way to improve the quality of your food and get served before everyone else! After you have booked your flight, login to the airline’s website using your reservation information.  Most airlines will give you the option of amending your inflight meal. Selections are often based on religious exemptions (i.e. kosher or halal) or dietary restrictions (i.e. vegetarian or vegan). Choose one that suits your fancy, I promise you won’t be disappointed. I think the quality of these alternative options is superior to the standard meals and the fact that they are served first is a nice bonus.  On our most recent flights from Los Angeles to Delhi, I selected the non-vegetarian Hindi menu item. The curry looked way better than the BBQ chicken served to the other passengers.    

3. Use the Attendant Call Button

One of the plusses of flying internationally is that free beer, wine and liquor (sometimes), is served.  However, in the economy cabin, the beverage cart only makes an appearance two or three times. On a 6+ hour flight, two or three drinks is not going to cut it.  When I fly internationally, I shamelessly use the attendant call button to ask for more drinks and snacks. Start your couples vacation before you even arrive and have a little party with your partner. You paid hundreds of dollars to fly somewhere, you might as well get your money’s worth!  

4. Buy a Good Neck Pillow

I never fly internationally without a neck pillow.  There is nothing worse than flying for 6+ hours and starting your couples vacation with a sore neck. They may look corny, but they can be a lifesaver. They are good for more than just your neck. My tailbone often gets sore on long flights so I often end up sitting on my neck pillow.    

Click here to see all of our Recommended Travel Items

5. Noise Canceling Headphones

I’ve been flying with sound canceling headphones for over 5 years and I refuse to fly without them.  Not only do they make it much easier to sleep, but they also dramatically improve the in-flight entertainment.  There is nothing worse than trying to watch an in-flight movie and the dialogue gets drowned out by the hum of the plane engines.  Sound Canceling headphones have also become much more affordable and the pair that I use will only set you back $50!

6. Stretch Regularly

This is the most important tip in this article.  Stretch and move around during your flight; it could save your life. 

A family friend of mine recently flew from Germany back to his home in the US.  Upon his return, he complained to his wife about numbness in his legs. Luckily, she is a doctor and recognized that he was suffering from blood clots and rushed him to the hospital.  Fortunately, nothing serious happened. Take the potentially life saving steps of getting up and walking around and stretching in the seat. It could save your life.  

Layover Tips and Tricks

Long layovers are the worst.  You are eagerly looking forward to your couples vacation but have to spend multiple hours waiting around at an airport.  However, there are a couple of steps that you can take to make the most of your layover:

7. Do a Day Tour

If your layover is 6+ hours, consider going to the nearest city and doing some sightseeing. Many airports offer free/cheap transportation to and from the nearest city.  

You can even check and see if the airport offers guided day tours to and from the airport. Singapore Changi Airport, for example, offers several tours from the airport to the city.  Tours are a great way to stretch your legs and get out of that stuffy airport, while getting a taste of what may be a new city for you.

8. Ask About Airport Entertainment

Check and see if the airport has any entertainment options, like a movie theater.  

9. Find a Layover Lounge

Look up the lounges in your layover airport.  Some lounges will allow you access for a fee and, depending on the credit card you have, you might be entitled to free lounge access!

There you have it!  This is my list of how to make the most of your long international flight and or layover.  Hopefully these tips will make your next international flight a little more comfortable.  Feel free to add any of your own ideas in the comments below!

Loving the old; exploring the new,


Note: This article includes affiliate links to products that I use when traveling.  If you purchase the items using the links, you support content like this at no additional cost to you!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: