Use These Hacks To Make Your Economy Flight More Comfortable

It's an all-too-familiar feeling. Your bags are packed, you've officially checked in, and now you're anxiously waiting by the gate for your group to get called. As you make your way to your seat number, the realization finally hits you — you're soon gonna have to squeeze yourself into that tiny space.

Recent data by SeatGuru — TripAdvisor's partner for airplane seat data, in-flight entertainment, and more — reveals an uncomfortable truth. In their quest to maximize profits and decrease costs, airlines have been gradually reducing legroom in order to fit more seats and, therefore, more passengers on board. In fact, the average distance between rows — also known as the pitch — has steadily decreased between 2 to 5 inches since the 80s, with most pitches clocking in at around 31 inches today. Oh, and low-cost airlines? Well, they don't play around. Spirit Airlines, for example, offers a mere 28 inches of space.

Sitting there, with your knees pressed against the seat in front of you, you start to wonder: There has to be something you can do to make this entire ordeal more comfortable. Luckily, TikTok user did the work and put flying economy to the test — and now she's sharing her findings. So whether you're stuck sitting behind Ms. "I've-got-my-seat-all-the-way-back" or next to Mr. "I-won't-stop-snoring," there are a couple of affordable in-flight essentials that promise to elevate comfort — even in the tiniest of spaces.

Level up your legroom

Flying economy is a test of endurance. That said, whether or not you step off the plane feeling like your legs are made of Jell-O often boils down to how comfortably you were able to sit during your flight.

Enter: the foot hammock. The first travel hack on's list, this handy accessory straps across the seat tray in front of you and elevates your feet off the ground. By doing this, the hammock ensures that your feet aren't bunched together. It also releases the tension on your legs, neck, and backside so they don't feel stiff when it's time to get up. Plus, foot hammocks can also help improve circulation and increase blood flow — especially on longer flights — which helps reduce swelling.

Then, there's the issue with the seat-back pocket. Not only are they impossible to pry open, but they're also the dirtiest spot in your airplane seat — rarely wiped down or sanitized properly. That's where bringing along an airplane tray table cover comes in. Working double duty to cover your tray table and save you the hassle — and germ-infestation — of using the seat-back pocket, the cover works as a "pillowcase". Just slide it over the tray and let it hang down. Better yet, most covers have large enough pockets that can accommodate your water bottle, portable charger, book, and more. That way, you can also keep track of your essentials and avoid leaving anything behind.

Entertainment on-the-go

After optimizing your space, the next issue is typically in-flight entertainment. After all, no one likes to be stuck on a plane with nothing to do. Whether it's a malfunctioning personal screen, incompatible headphones, or other unforeseen hiccups, entertainment glitches can turn any flight into an overwhelmingly long journey. According to, there are two gadgets that can make all the difference.

First, there's a Bluetooth transmitter. This game-changer makes it a lot easier for people who swear by their Bluetooth headphones or earbuds — like AirPods — and don't necessarily want to bring along a wired version solely for flying. How does it work? Simply plug the transmitter into the audio jack, connect your preferred headset to it, and dive right into the airline's in-flight entertainment offering.

But what happens if your plane seat doesn't come with its own screen? A universal travel phone holder has you covered. To use it, open up your tray table and clip it to the top. Then, slide your phone into the holder, and ta-da — you now have a hands-free, private cinema right in front of you. This hack can even make flying with kids easier, since you don't have to worry about them dropping the phone every few minutes! Ultimately, keeping yourself entertained and comfortable doesn't require expensive gadgets or upgrades — sometimes, it's actually the little things that make all the difference. And with these hacks, even the most dreadful economy flight can feel like a touch of first-class.