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Top 10 Airplane Travel Tips for Tall People

Whether you fly once a week or once a decade, you will appreciate just how stressful airports and air travel can be, even at the best of times! Well for those of us that are vertically gifted, without necessarily having the basketball skills to be able to afford to fly private jets – the struggle is definitely real! Not too dissimilar from fun-size chocolate bars, the legroom on airplanes is seemingly ever shrinking, even though it has been scientifically proven that we as a society are in fact becoming taller. When we live in a world where everything from bottled water to emergency exit row seats are now an add-on and cost extra, often making it unaffordable, just how is the tall man on a budget meant to fly comfortably? Well we have put together (in no particular order) our top 10 air travel tips for tall people.

10. Protect Ya Neck

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 4.42.43 pmWe’re quite confident that when Wu-Tang rapped “protect ya neck” they were describing tall peoples flying problems. Let’s face it, if you’re tall the backs of airplane seats just aren’t high enough to lean your head back against. The solution? We recommend investing in to a neck pillow (available at every airport at inflated prices, or dirt cheap online if you’re well organised) or in this case, although it goes against getting the leg room of the aisle seat, choose to set in the window seat. The advantage of the window seat is that you can lean up against the window area and get some rest and even turn your jumper or something in to a make-shift pillow. The longer you sleep, the quicker the flight goes and the less uncomfortable you will have to be! Check out our top 5 travel pillows for tall people.

9. Pick and Choose The Times You Fly

Whilst not necessarily guaranteed, flying at non-peak times will increase your chances of having an emptier flight, which of course means that there is a greater chance you won’t be packed in like sardines and have a person either side of you. Particularly so when you are in a middle seat on a flight, if all goes to plan, on emptier flights they won’t sit people either side of you and you will have some room to stretch out your long legs. Of course if you are travelling with someone else that’s shorter than you, if possible, make sure that you can swap seats with them to avoid having to sit in the middle seat. In theory you have the most chance of stretching out your legs in the aisle seat, however the flip side to this is you also have the most chance of been banged up by metal food trolleys charging down the aisle.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are known to be the quietest days of the week for airplane travel.

Tall People Flying Tips - Airplanes

8. Book via Airlines/Aeroplanes With More Leg Room

The legroom or rather distance between each seat is also dependent upon the type of plane you are travelling on. Some budget airlines are traditionally known to have planes that have very limited leg room on them so they can pack in more passengers. On the opposite end of the spectrum, longer international flights tend to have bigger planes with more legroom.

Whilst when you’re booking it can be hard to assess what time of airplane you will be flying on, as it can change at the drop of a hat depending on how booked the flight is – it is worth having a think about whether saving a couple of books is worth being crammed on to a seat that you are unlikely to fit in to, especially for the tall man. As a handy tool to check planes, seats and their respective leg room you can check out

7. Arrive Early in Hope of Getting Upgraded to Emergency Row

Whilst we do live in an age now where we enjoy the fact we can check-in online and avoid long queues at the airport, checking in face to face at the airport does have it’s advantages. More often than not if you are a taller passenger and arrive at the airport early enough, coupled with being polite to the person checking you in they are generally more than happy to upgrade you to an emergency or exit row seat at no additional charge. Winning!

6. Pre-book Emergency on Longer Hauls

Everyone loves a bargain, especially when shopping and booking flights online and often it you will decide that you will avoid the additional charge associated with selecting exit or emergency row seats that generally can be anywhere from $20-$80 depending on the airline and flight. However make sure that you take in to consideration how long the journey is and how full the flight is looking on the seat selector map. If it’s a long haul, especially international flights of 10 plus hours you are definitely not going to regret paying an extra few bucks to be able to stretch out, be in comfort and hopefully if all goes to plan catch some zzz’s and be recharged for your arrival.

5. Stretch Regularly/Stay Hydrated

This is obviously a tip for not just tall people, but for everyone travelling on airplanes. Stretching, wiggling your toes, and moving about every so often on the plane is not only recommended to avoid things like DVT but also to make the flight more comfortable, particularly so for tall people. Generally seats on airplanes are not designed for people over 6ft in height so long hauls can be uncomfortable to sit down, especially so if you have back problems. The solution? Get up from your seat (without been a pest) as often as possible and hydrate as regularly as possible. As a rule of thumb you should be consuming 240ml of water per hour on your flight – which on some budget airlines is an awful lot of $4 bottles of water! So make sure where possible that you take a drink bottle on board with you.

4. Remove Magazines etc From Seat Pocket in Front of you

When your over 6ft and cramped in to an airplane chair with minimal legroom, millimetres matter! A great way to make sure that you have the maximum amount of legroom available in your given chair is to pull out the magazines from the seat pocket in front of you and move them over to the person next to you’s seat pocket (possibly when they’re not looking) or under your seat.

3. Knee Defenders

If you’re unfamiliar with what exactly ‘knee defenders’ are you can check them out here. For what may seem like a high price to some for a couple of pieces of plastic, at $21.95 you can purchase and innovative product that essentially allows you to clip on a couple of little stoppers on to the persons chair in front of you on an airplane which will prevent them from being able to recline there chair. The down side – recently these devices made headlines when there was a United flight in America that in fact turned around when a fight started out on board between a passenger using knee defenders and the disgruntled passenger in front who was unable to recline their chair.

In short whilst they do sound like a worthwhile purchase for every tall man out there, we would probably recommend avoiding these if you don’t want the confrontation or the very likely event that you will be told by air hosts/hostesses that you are not allowed to “tamper” with the airplane in any way.

There are a few alternative solutions to knee defenders:

  • Politely ask the passenger in front if they would mind not reclining their chair.
  • In the event that you have a flight that is not full, once up in the air, move to a seat that has no one in front of you.
  • If all else fails and the person in front of you decides to be a jerk and recline (even when you’re trying to eat your on flight meal) the age old method of the kid profusely kicking and kneeing the chair in front seems to work pretty well…

2. Watch Movies

The age old saying “time flies when you’re having fun” applies here (no pun intended). Watching movies, reading a book, playing a game or even just listening to some music will definitely make your flight seem like it is going quicker than if you spend the whole time looking at your watch! The quicker you can make it seem that time passes on your flight, the less uncomfortable you will have to be for the journey of your flight. Thankfully most airplanes have screens on the back of chairs these days so that you will have an entertainment system there to occupy you. What isn’t great is when the person in front of you reclines, making it harder for you to see your screen!

1. Comfortable clothing

We can’t emphasise this enough. Only amateurs travel with heavy belt buckles that they have to remove at airport security and likewise with wearing rigid or uncomfortable clothing. Normally we wouldn’t suggest to wear them out in public, but don’t be afraid to wear your uggs or trackies when flying long haul (even if you just keep them in your hang luggage to change in to). We also personally recommend our warm and super comfy tall hoodies to travel in, not only will they keep you warm from that pesky airplane air conditioning but they’re also a thick, soft cotton that is great to get some shut eye in. You definitely won’t regret having comfortable or looser fitting clothing it makes a huge difference, and when your flying tall – it all matters!

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