Incheon to Heathrow: Making The Most Of Economy Travel

I have nothing exciting to report about the second half of the journey, which was 14.5 hours long and had me questioning the wisdom of my entire holiday.

The plane was full but I enjoyed having an aisle seat so I could get up and stretch. When I’m flying I’m always thinking about the little details that make flying long haul more bearable, so here’s my collected thoughts on the things I do to get through it so I don’t arrive feeling like I want to kick the entire world in the fork.

I googled the flight path, the official one is in blue but I drew the route we actually took in orange. Seems like it’s better to fly over Afghanistan than Russia right now!

1. Taking a very small bag that fits under the seat in front so I don’t have to worry about using overhead baggage space, one of the reasons why most people race to be first on the plane. My cabin bag is actually two small bags that clip together to make a backpack about half the size of a regular daypack. When hiking they each clip to the front of my big backpack which makes them look, rather unfortunately, like boobs, but they are super comfortable and distribute the weight evenly.

They look dorky but they do mean I get to talk to a lot of other hikers who want to know what on earth I’m wearing.
They clip together with a minimal attachable harness to make a day pack and every part of the system has its own dry bag so everything I pack stays completely dry. Aaron is a NZ company and I highly recommend them for travel!

2. Having an aisle seat means being able to get up and down many times and frequently have a stretch. The guy next to me didn’t go to the bathroom once the whole flight! I need a stretch at least every three hours if I’m not sleeping. I did take some ibuprofen on the second flight as my hips and knees ache a bit after so long in the same position.

3. I don’t straighten my hair. I’m sure not many people will find this useful, but hair straightening makes it super dry and with the extremely low humidity on the plane everything becomes full of static electricity. Same goes for wearing wool or any clothing prone to static. This does make me sad, because I prefer having hair that doesn’t make me look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.

4. I have super dry skin so lip balm and moisturiser are vital. I don’t normally bother at home but it’s makes the flight so much more comfortable.

5. I don’t sit while I wait for the plane. I did 5km in Incheon and saw tons of interesting stuff on my walk, such as a parade!

I didn’t get a good photo, but here’s an excerpt from the airport website.

6. This was my first flight with my noise cancelling AirPods and I don’t think I’ll ever leave home without them again. If the noise of a crying baby or just the plane’s engine noise gets too much for the noise cancelling function, I just play my ‘rain sounds’ playlist that’s downloaded onto my phone and it solves all my problems!

I do have to be careful with headphones though, it’s like they reduce my acuity by about 50% so I turn them off when I am moving or packing so I don’t leave vital things behind or miss directions.

What’s your top tip for plane travel?

2 thoughts on “Incheon to Heathrow: Making The Most Of Economy Travel

  1. Tips. after 100 hours in the air, 5 countries in 9 weeks.

    1. Drinking on the plane is regret. Yes i would like to be more dehydrated on the dehydration tube.
    2. Airpods / Noise Cancelling headphones are a must. I got placed with 5 babies within 10 seats between MEL and BKK – Airpods made this bliss.
    3. Get lounge access somehow – because if you shower before you get on, then shower at your layover – this makes life 1000% better. Also Take your shoes off (fresh socks?)
    4. The vegetarian option is typically better come meal time. Meat w/o actual convection is almost always disappointing. The low humidity dries your sinus out which diminishes your taste – so Prioritise salty meals as salt has less impact on flavour. Also…
    5. Water. Water. More Water. Don’t forget some kind of salts etc.
    6. Time your breaks like a player. approx 20-30 after you see the seatbelt sign go off, you have time to make a break for the toilet. If you wait till after food – you’ll will have a line forever. Similarly approx 1 hour before destination, go for another break – as soon as the captain announces the descent, the line will start again.
    7. Stretching is boss.
    8. iPad with all the video content (youtube downloads, netflix, etc) is typically better than airline stuff.

    • Ha I’d agree with almost everything except I have no idea how to access lounges! I didn’t take an iPad (because of weight) but a kindle and phone were enough. I think the flavour of food is better on Asian flights as they have chilli in most things. No salt or pepper sachets offered, which was a first, but not necessary as all the dishes were really good. I like a drink on the plane to help me sleep but I do have every cup of water offered too. I like to go to the toilet when the line is quite long as it gives me extra standing time without feeling weird looming over people for no reason but I totally agree about going before landing. I think another tip would be, if one needs to go in the airport, skip the first toilets after the arrival gate as they are always packed.
      Good tips!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s