37 tips for flying in style

Flying is something we all do these days. But just because everyone’s doing it, it doesn’t mean that they’re doing it right. Mrs Romance and I fly all the time; and with all that practice, we’ve developed some great techniques for flying in style.

Mr and Mrs Romance - 37 tips for flying in style

It’s no wonder so many stand-up comics have material on flying. Everyone’s got a funny anecdote about being on a plane or an airport horror story. It makes sense why so many people find flying stressful.

From the experience we’ve accumulated from flying all over the world for the past 30 years, we’ve come up with the following tips to help you fly with style.

It just goes to show, you don’t always have to fly first class to have a first class flight – though that’d be a nice way to do it.

37 tips for flying in style

Before you book

1. Get up front with your seat selection

Book seats as far to the front of the plane as possible – single digits if you can. Service starts from the front, you get to your seat and off the plane sooner, and if there’s only one tunnel to board by or disembark from, it’ll be at the front. The rear doors get the stairs.

2. Choose seats on the right side of the plane

They often empty out faster than the ones on the left. However, if you’re hoping for a good Instagram photo from your window, think about which direction you’ll be flying in and what the view will be like as you leave.

3. Aisle or window?

Find out if you’re an aisle or window person and pre-select your seat accordingly.

Mr and Mrs Romance - 37 tips for flying in style

4. Book yourself more space – for free

If you’re travelling with your partner or friend, book seats on the aisle and window. Most people won’t book the middle seat unless the flight’s full. If it is, just ask to swap seats. Worst case, that person gets to score a window or aisle seat out of the deal.

5. Get the best out of your airport

Download the departure and arrival airports’ apps. They usually have up to date information about your flight’s status and also handy tips on what services are available at the airport.

6. Get the most from your airline

Downloading your airline’s app to your phone can give you lots of hidden value. Some airlines have additional entertainment delivered via their apps. They will also have information about your flight and some have special offers too.

7. Make your own entertainment

Put playlists together. Very handy if your flight’s delayed, if your personal entertainment system on your plane isn’t working or if the music on offer isn’t up to much.

8. Be a frequent flyer

Join your flight’s frequent flyer programme. Frequent flyer points and air miles aside if there’s an upgrade available, flight companies offer their members first.

9. Make the most of your flight

Link up your credit card. You can earn extra frequent flyer points on purchases you make if you link your credit card up. You don’t have to use your points only on flights.

Mr and Mrs Romance - 37 tips for flying in style

10. Look for free travel insurance

Get a credit card with travel insurance. Banks often have special credit cards that include travel insurance in their terms.

Before you travel

11. Protect your ears

Buy noise-cancelling headphones. These things save me every time I fly. It’s surprising how much ambient noise there is during a flight from the engines, which can disrupt sleep and effect your hearing. They’re also way more comfortable and give better sound quality to inflight movies than the headphones they give you.

12. Bring your own blanket

If you’ve got space in your hand luggage, there’s nothing like a little bit of home to keep you warm. Plus, I’m never totally sold on how clean those plane blankets are.

13. Don’t lose your favourite perfume at customs

Buy some Aroamas perfume sticks. These are solid perfume sticks – a bit like lip balm, so they won’t get confiscated at customs for being over the 100ml limit.

14. Portable scales are not a gimmick

Mrs Romance wasn’t sure about these when I bought them, but they’ve proven to give great peace of mind. Plus they’re easier to use than standing on the bathroom scales with your luggage.

15. Make your luggage stand out

Tag your bags clearly or unusually. Coloured straps, stickers or clearly visible tags make spotting your bags on the carousel much easier – and easier to describe your luggage if it gets lost.

16. Do an insurance pack

If you’re travelling with your partner, pack some of your things in their bag and their things in yours just in case your luggage gets lost or delayed.

17. Pack a fresh set

Pack a change of clothes in your hand luggage – especially if you have a layover. Also in case your checked luggage goes missing, you’ll have a change of clothes.

Mr and Mrs Romance - 37 tips for flying in style

Customs and the terminal

18. What shoes are best?

Wear loose shoes that’ll slip on and off easily. You might need to take your shoes off when you go through security, plus taking your shoes off on a long-haul flight is… well, it’s awesome.

Here are some of our other tips for surviving long-haul flights.

19. Get through security faster

Wear a belt that’s easy to take off and put on again – or isn’t metal. This is one thing I still get wrong. I always have to take my belt off at customs and it takes forever to put back on. On the plus side, I often avoid the annoying extra test for explosives while I’m putting my belt back on.

Compartmentalise your hand luggage. Separate your laptop, liquids and aerosols so you’re ready to drop everything into the trays.

20. Don’t bother taking coins out of your pocket at security

True fact: coins won’t set off the metal detector.

Mr and Mrs Romance - 37 tips for flying in style

21. Find the best coffee

Ask someone who works in the airport where they get their coffee from. Do the same for food. Choose a good quality shop and one that’s not busy.

22. Think about getting a lounge pass

Even if you don’t have enough status credits, consider purchasing a lounge pass for long layovers. The food, drink, comfort and space will make your long-haul flight feel much shorter.

For your flight

23. Keep your details within easy reach

Put your passport details into your phone or write them on a note so you don’t have to search for your passport to fill in the arrivals form. Don’t forget to keep details like your flight number handy too.

24. Prepare for your timezone change

Set your watch and phone to the destination time when you get on the plane. It’s easy to forget to do it when you’re on the ground. Your arrival time will be in your destination’s local time so you’ll be able to quickly see how much longer you’ve got in the air.

25. Stay hydrated

You can’t take your bottle of water onboard but you can just take a bottle. Pack an empty one in your hand luggage you can fill with water during the flight.

26. Make your seat your own

Your seat’s headrest will usually be fully adjustable. Change the height and flaps to make your seat more comfortable. It’ll stabilise your head and help you sleep.

27. Keep your posture supported

Put the little onboard cushion in the small of your back to give your seat better lumbar support. It’ll feel weird at first but by the end of your flight you’ll be much more comfortable.

Mr and Mrs Romance - 37 tips for flying in style

28. How to get to sleep

To sleep on the plane, I recline my seat as much as I can (I check behind me first and never have my seat reclined during meals or on short flights). I loosen my belt as much as possible and turn sideways and stretch out as far as possible. I’m not short but I can still get most of the lower half of my legs under the seat in front. I usually sleep with my arms folded, which keeps me warm.

29. Don’t get woken up

If you want to sleep with a blanket on, wrap yourself up first then buckle your safety belt. If there’s turbulence, the crew won’t wake you to make sure you’re wearing your belt.

30. Make the right food choice

When food is served onboard, ask for the dish that’s typical to the country your flight company is from… unless you know you don’t like it! I always avoid the cooked breakfast. The egg is usually weird and so is the sausage.

31. Stay comfortable and warm

Wear layers of natural fibres on the flight. It makes it easier manage if you get cold or hot.

Mr and Mrs Romance - 37 tips for flying in style

32. Leave your flight in style

A blazer or stretchy jacket will make you feel more human when you get off the plane. Pack a toothbrush too. It’s amazing how much better you feel after a long flight when you’ve got clean teeth.

33. Always pack sunglasses

Once you’ve landed

34. Time your bathroom trip

When you land, try and hold off going to the toilet until you’re at baggage reclaim – or at least past the first set of lavatories. There won’t be any queues and it’ll give you something to do while you wait for you bags.

35. Be prepared for the customs guy

At customs, have your arrival card ready in the picture section of your passport.

36. Keep the customs guy happy

If you have a cover for your passport, take it out. Customs people hate them. If you know you’ll need any other documentation (a recently expired passport you’ve just replaced, a visa, accommodation details) have them ready to hand.

Mr and Mrs Romance - 37 tips for flying in style

37. Leave the airport like a local

At arrivals ask at the information desk what the best way is to get to town or your hotel. It might be a taxi but it might be cheaper to get a shuttle or train. If a taxi’s the best option, ask if they know the rough price.

The most important thing to remember about flying is to enjoy it. I can still remember the first flight I ever took and I still get the same thrill when I get on a plane now.

Travel is an awesome thing. It’s often easy to overlook that flying’s an important part of it.

Mr and Mrs Romance - 37 tips for flying in style

Do you have any tips for flying in style? What’s your flying routine? Tell us in the comments!

Images by Mr and Mrs Romance.
This post is part of our entry into Virgin Australia’s Top Travel Tips competition.


  • Great tips! I can’t fly without one of those nifty neck pillows. Also, I have a collapsible water bottle so I can stay hydrated before security, and refill it before I board the plane. Best of all, it doesn’t take up any space in my hand luggage!

    • Reply August 5, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Love the collapsable water bottle idea, Sammie. Really good idea. I’ve never been able to get those neck pillows to work for me… perhaps my neck’s just a bit too thick!

  • Great stuff here, love all your tips Mr Romance. I have never had luck with the middle seat staying empty so these days I grab the first of the pairs at the back when the row changes from 3 to 2. People are still walking down the aisle like its three seats wide so almost never hit my seat on their way past. If you do this it’s worth ordering a special meal so you don’t have to wait till the end of service to eat (and start sleeping)

    My tip – I am a horrible person who has no patience with kids on planes so I always try to make sure my seat is far from the bulk head ones where the bassinets are.

    • Reply August 5, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Hi Paula! Glad you enjoyed our post. Let’s hope Virgin do too, ay?! 😉 Yes, I do like it when I get one of those two-seat arrangements at the back of the plane too. You get so much more room, don’t you? They can be problematic though if they’re up against the rear bulkhead as you can’t recline much. Worth it for the peace and quiet though. Good tip for the ordering a special meal if you’re in these seats though. I hate missing out on food!
      People say that the further back you sit the more turbulence you feel, so if you’re a nervous flyer, you should try and sit as far forward as possible. Turbulence doesn’t bother me though (it actually makes me sleepy) so I don’t know if that’s true.
      True story – I was talking to a friend about him taking his babies on a flight back to the UK and I told him to try and get the bulkhead seats so he can use the bayonets for his kids! Freudian much?!

  • Wow, that’s a whole lot of awesome travel advice right there!
    I always opt for an aisle seat as close to the front as I can. When travelling internationally with my husband, we will book the window and the aisle seat on the flights to and from Adelaide, as chances are we will end up with an empty seat or two between us. Bonus room in economy!
    I’ve also heard when going through the metal detector, go to the queue on the left because most people go to the right.

    • Reply August 5, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Thanks Sonia! I really enjoyed writing this list. I love it when you start off with just a handful of ideas and then the more you write you realise you know a whole buttload more that you want to share. Love the aisle/window combo trick. Works a treat 9/10 times.
      Love the tip about the metal detector. Can’t wait to try it out!

  • My main concerns when flying are avoiding the 3 D’s!
    Dehydration, DVT and Deafness –
    So I always drink plenty of water, which in turn requires regular trips to the loo to keep me moving in between my seated ankle wiggles and squats at the back of the plane! And then carry a nasal decongestant for those pilots who don’t quite get the pressure right on descent and make me go totally deaf 🙂

    • Reply August 6, 2015

      Mr Romance

      I always get bad ears when I fly, Linda. It’s horrible. I’ve now started taking sinus decongestants before I start my trip to try and avoid post-flying deafness. The nasal sprays are a good idea too though. Love the image of you hiding away at the back of the plane doing squats btw. Very funny!
      My greatest fears of flying are 1. missing out on a meal regardless of its quality and 2. not getting through the movies I want to watch on the entertainment system. Oh and 3. the person in front of me reclining their chair back in my face the whole night. Nightmare!

  • Great tips! This is a goldmine and I agree with loads of them. Lord knows I need everything I can get for my upcoming 15 hour longhaul flight back to Sydney! 😛

    • Reply August 6, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Ah! Yes, good luck with your flight, Lorraine. That’s a long one all right. Hope our tips help you a bit. See you back in Syd soon.

  • Reply August 6, 2015

    Beth at AlmostPosh.com

    I still always get a bit of a thrill when I’m flying somewhere too – I’m glad it’s still a novel enough experience to enjoy! I’m heading to Sydney solo in a couple of weeks for a mini break of shopping and doing whatever I want so I’ll be taking some of these tips on board and enjoying every minute of me time!

    • Reply August 9, 2015

      Mr Romance

      I dread the day I find flying boring, Beth. It’s not like hopping on a bus or a train, it’s much better than that!
      Hope you enjoy your trip to Sydney – and hope it warms up for you a bit too. Nothing worse than a shopping spree with frozen hands!

  • Reply August 12, 2015

    Monique@The Urban Mum

    Congratulations on your Top 10 place in the Virgin Australia awards. Good luck x

    • Reply August 18, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Thank you so much, Monique! Very exciting to be part of this amazing competition!

  • Reply August 12, 2015

    Andrea @ Sublime Finds

    Fantastic tips Mr & Mrs Romance!! Could not agree more with investing in Noise Cancelling Headphones – totally changed travel for me, especially on long haul flights! Congrats on making it to the top ten in the Virgin comp – good luck for the announcement! x

    • Reply August 18, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Thank you, Andrea! Yes, those headphones do an amazing job, don’t they? It’s so surprising how much ambient noise there is on a plane – and how much those headphones cut out.

  • Reply August 13, 2015

    Nikki @ Styling You

    Love all your tips Mr Romance. I for one can’t stress enough the wins you get from choosing one loyalty program and sticking to it – especially if you travel consistently for work or play. I’ve now reached platinum ranks and the extra benefits (good seat pre-selection is my favourite) are fantastic. If you’re a couple, have one half as the points pooler. Your partner still gets all the benefits when they travel with you – eg lounge, priority boarding etc – but you’ll get up the ladder faster.

    • Reply August 18, 2015

      Mr Romance

      Thanks for the tip, Nikki. We’re going to combine our points right now – we’ve always had our own memberships in the past but it makes sense to pool your travel power!

  • I always used to take a few books (or kindle these days, though you can run out of charge on a long-haul flight). Just in case something happens to the in-flight entertainment system or this is none! I can’t bear having nothing to do and it’s a good chance to catch up on my reading. And a water bottle is gold, because it’s hell waiting for flight attendants and I like being independent. I have a pacemaker, so these days I get a free pat-down every time I go through security. I ALWAYS have to take off my coat and shoes, so I have to keep that in mind. Plus sometimes they ask to see the scar (and mine is on my butt!) It’s for back pain and nerve damage LOL.

    • Reply August 18, 2015

      Mr Romance

      It’s a nightmare when your inflight TV doesn’t work, isn’t it, Bronnie? Mind you, once I didn’t have a book or anything to keep me entertained so I put myself to sleep for the whole flight. Never felt so good by the time we landed!
      Can’t believe they ask to see your scar for your pacemaker. That’s a bit intrusive, isn’t it? What a pain in the bum (no pun intended!). Mrs Romance’s dad had a pacemaker for his heart and had to go through a special security check. I think his scar was a bit easier to show though!

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  • Reply October 5, 2018


    Firstly can I just say I love your travel tips. Clever and practical. I just read your How to Travel Light, Pack Smart and Stay Stylish. Great tips. However I mistakenly thought this piece would be about clothing and footwear. I am pretty hopeless when it comes to clothing and footwear choices always overpacking resulting in way more items than, some of which I might not even wear during the trip! Would you do a ‘how to’ guide for the sort of clothing you might pack for both a cold climate and warm climate? This would be super helpful!

    • Reply October 7, 2018

      Mr Romance

      Hi Francesca. Thank you for your kind words! So glad you like our travel stories. Packing things in your suitcase that you don’t end up wearing is so annoying, isn’t it? We’ll definitely look at extending this post to be more about just clothes packing. It’s a good idea. We’ve written a few stories about packing that you might like to look at in the meantime though. Here’s the link to them. Hope that helps. 🙂

  • Reply October 4, 2019

    Kris Ashpole

    Dearest Jim and Christina, having returned home from India, your post reasonated with me so much. I now just want to jump on a long haul flight again – always love flying too. Love the bit when you get airborne on take off and love counting down to touchdown (the little things….). Still aiming for gold with a perfect pack for my travels – pretty much nailed it this time (though perhaps I’d leave the black sequin top at home next time ?. Re duty free: I got stung in the way home. Had bought some DF at the airport in Delhi only to have it confiscated in Singapore. Australian regulations state that you can’t buy duty free in transit from originating country – only from transit country. Doesn’t make sense but that’s the rules – apparently came in 3 years ago. Love to hear if you guys know about this. Happy travels. X

    • Reply October 10, 2019

      Mr Romance

      Hey Kris! Hope you had an amazing time in India. We haven’t been (yet) but it sounds and looks incredible. So glad our story connected with you. It’s such a good feeling when your travel experiences align with others’, isn’t it?
      As for your duty free experience, it’s a really tricky one – though what happened to you is really on the shop in Delhi. They should have known better. Usually, when you try and buy DF, they ask you where you’re going to. If you say Australia, they usually stop selling to you.
      Even worse is if you have a domestic AU transfer and you buy from your departure port. You can get your goodies into Australia, but then they confiscate it when you try and get through security when you transit. Crazy. One way round it (not sure how legal it is) is to collect your luggage when you first enter Aus, pack your DF in your suitcase, recheck it in and hope for the best. Means being a bit more organised though.
      Australian DF laws are insane, aren’t they? Don’t even get me started on cigar allowances. Max 3 per person. What’s the point? Anyway, safe travels to you too. Have to catch up for that drink soon. Maybe after we’re back from the States?

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