It’s a given that the more you’re prepared to spend on your airfare, the more space and luxury you’ll have to enjoy: business class passengers can expect extra legroom, more recline (or lie-flat seats) and a host of other perks, and first class delivers even more luxury. However, there are plenty of ways that you can make your long-haul journey more enjoyable: here are some of our top tips.
Many airlines now offer the option of paying a little extra for a seat with extra legroom, or you can ask your personal travel manager to request an exit row. It’s a good idea to request an aisle seat if you like to be able to stretch your legs on a regular basis without disturbing your neighbours, or you may prefer a window seat so that you have a wall to lean up against when you want to sleep.
You can also request a seat near the front of the plane if you want to be able to disembark quickly: you may need to pay a surcharge for this privilege, but it can be worth the extra expense.
Whether it’s for religious or dietary reasons, many airlines offer a wealth of special meal choices, ranging from various vegetarian options to gluten-intolerant and non-seafood. If you’re travelling with children, there are also special options for them, ranging from baby meals to older children’s meals. Children and special meals are usually served first so ask your personal travel manager to place your request before you go.
Many airlines offer extra in-flight comforts such as socks, pillows and blankets, or you may prefer to carry your own. Ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones and eye masks will also help ensure that you arrive at your destination feeling rested. The more you can cut out the noise of the aircraft and disturbances from other passengers and your seat-back screen, the more likely you’ll be able to relax.
Whether you prefer to hunker down for a solid sleep at an airport hotel or spend the day shopping and trying the local cuisine, breaking your long-haul journey with a stopover along the way can be a great option. Some airlines even offer stopover packages that include a range of accommodation options and complimentary sightseeing extras at special, heavily-discounted rates.
Check what bonuses your airline offers to its frequent flyer members – you may be able to earn additional miles from your hotel and rental car bookings or even from magazine subscriptions. Some airlines also allow you to nominate friends or family with whom you can pool frequent flyer points, so that even if you don’t have enough points for a free ticket for yourself, you and the family can help Aunty Mabel get the upgrade she’s always dreamed off.
Your personal travel manager is always happy to help with your special requests. Be sure to ask them what tips they have tucked up their sleeve to ensure that you arrive at your destination in the best possible shape, regardless of which end of the plane you’re sitting.