These 11 Items Are Your Best Shot at Having an OK Middle Seat Experience
Anyone who has been stuck sitting in the middle seat on a long flight knows what a miserable experience it can be. Not only do you have to bother someone every time you need to get up to stretch or use the bathroom, but you don’t even have the luxury of looking out the window or leaning your head against the wall as you sleep. And let’s not forget having to fight two people over who gets to use the armrests.
If you get stuck in the middle seat when booking your trip, try calling your airline a few days before the flight to see if a window or aisle seat has opened up or if you are eligible for an affordable upgrade. If that doesn’t work, you can also try to switch seats as you check in at the airport, as well. But if the flight is fully booked and you are stuck in the undesirable seat, there are certain things you can pack in your carry-on to make the flight more enjoyable.
Since you are unable to get up whenever you want, a good pair of compression socks will help keep your blood circulating, while a comfy pair of leggings and a travel wrap can keep you feeling warm and cozy in your cramped space. To help you survive your next flight in the middle seat, we’ve rounded up 11 items you need to pack for a more relaxed and comfortable flight.
From noise-canceling headphones to a comfortable travel pillow and an aromatherapy hand lotion, keep reading to shop everything you need to make the dreaded seat assignment a more pleasant experience. Consider it your definitive middle seat survival kit.
BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow
One of the worst parts of sitting in the middle seat is the fact that there is nowhere for you to rest your head when sleeping. Turning your head to either side may result in falling asleep on your seatmate’s shoulder, while leaning forward may strain your neck. Thankfully, this handy travel pillow can be twisted into several different positions that will help prevent you from slumping over to one side, and it even acts as a chin rest so you can sleep with your head facing forward as well. The comfy pillow comes in three different sizes, is lightweight, and fully machine washable.
To buy: amazon.com, $30
Slip Silk Sleep Mask
One easy way to survive the middle seat is to block out everything around you with a cozy sleep mask. This sleek mask is made from 100 percent silk and will not only help you catch some much-needed z’s, but also will help you avoid any awkward eye contact with your seatmates.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $50
Cowin Noise-Canceling Bluetooth Headphones
Block out any noise coming from either side of you with a great pair of noise-canceling headphones. Over 8,800 Amazon customers have given this best-selling pair their seal of approval thanks to its active noise reduction technology, as well as Bluetooth capabilities. They are also incredibly lightweight and fold up, making them super easy to pack.
To buy: amazon.com, $50
Amazon Fire HD Tablet
The easiest way to get through a long uncomfortable flight is to stay entertained. This sleek Amazon Fire tablet has 16 GB of storage, allowing you to download and store books, movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, and more. It also has a high-definition screen so you won’t miss any must-see movie moments or strain your eyes while reading. The battery lasts up to 10 hours, which should last for most flights.
To buy: amazon.com, $80
FuelMeFoot Copper Compression Socks
Being stuck in the middle seat means you can’t get up to stretch or move around as much as you like, so investing in a good pair of compression socks is a smart idea to keep blood circulation flowing in your legs. We like this pair by FuelMeFoot because they are breathable and moisture-wicking, as well as copper-infused to reduce any odors. They also are sold in a pack of three so you will have a fresh pair for your flight home as well.
To buy: amazon.com, $20
Sleepy Ride Airplane Footrest
One of the best parts of flying in business or first class is the seats have footrests to help keep you comfortable and prevent lower back pain and leg stiffness. While middle seats in coach don’t offer this luxe treatment, you can enhance your travel experience with this sling footrest by Sleepy Ride. Just attach it to your tray table and place your feet in it for a comfortable hammock-like experience. It comes with adjustable straps so you can easily find the perfect length necessary to support your height.
To buy: amazon.com, $11
Zella Live In High Waist Leggings
Another key essential when flying in the middle seat is to wear comfortable clothes. These stylish leggings by Zella are so cozy over 5,800 Nordstrom customers have given them a near-perfect rating. The stretchy bottoms are designed to move with you and feature a non-slip waistband so they won’t slip down. They are also made from a moisture-wicking fabric that will keep you cool and comfortable throughout the flight.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $59
White + Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap
When sitting in the middle seat, you can, unfortunately, feel the effect of all three air vents. If you get chilly easily, it’s a smart idea to dress in layers to stay warm on the flight. One of our favorite travel accessories is this cashmere travel wrap by White + Warren because you can wear it as a scarf or shawl or just curl up in it like a blanket. Plus, if you get too hot you can always fold it up and use it as a pillow.
To buy: shopbop.com, $298
Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Hand Lotion
If you feel claustrophobic easily, the idea of sitting in the middle seat is probably your worst nightmare. The most important thing you can do when you’re stuck there is to stay relaxed and keep breathing. This hand lotion by Bath & Body Works will not only keep your hands moisturized, but the eucalyptus spearmint smell acts as a stress reliever to help calm your nerves.
To buy: amazon.com, $10
Tarte Pack Your Bags Undereye Patches
Another way to stay calm in the dreaded middle seat is to give yourself a relaxing spa treatment in the air. If you’re too embarrassed to wear a full face mask next to your seatmates, we recommend these discreet and effective eye patches. They work to prevent dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles, and dryness around the eye area, so even if you’re stressed out during the entire flight, no one will have any idea once you land.
To buy: sephora.com, $22
Glossier Soothing Face Mist
Flights already wreak having on your skin’s moisture levels, and sitting in the middle seat may make you feel like you can’t drink as much water as you would if you were seated in the aisle. Prevent dehydrated skin with this travel-sized bottle of soothing face spray. The rosewater and aloe ingredients will hydrate and moisturize your skin while the spray will give you a much needed in-flight pick-me-up with every spritz.
To buy: glossier.com, $15