Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldworth: Top tip: Ignore your neighbour

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Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

As ever, Herald Travel readers have proved adept at filling this column for me - er, I mean sharing some great travelling tips. Last week, we asked for your best ideas for surviving a long-haul flight in economy class and many of your answers were illuminating. There were the obvious ones (drink plenty of water, wear loose-fitting clothes), the creative ones (a couple of you saluted the wonders of saline Nasal spray for battling the dry air) and the pseudo-scientific (apparently washing and massaging your feet eases anxieties).

Michelle Pipping reckons she has developed some useful tricks over five years of trips to and from Britain.

"If I haven't managed to secure the perfect seats, then I wait for everyone on the plane to be seated before take-off, then jump up to use the toilet... I quickly walk up and down the aisles to see if there are any empty seats that are to my liking (bulkhead seats or three empty seats in a row).

If I find some, then I nicely ask the flight attendants if I can move.

"Some ask you to wait until after take-off, but others will allow you to move immediately."

But it's her suggestion about fellow passengers that makes Michelle a winner in our Scholl flight essentials giveaway. Where some entries in the competition suggested befriending your neighbour in the interests of a cheerful journey, Michelle goes the other way.

"Don't talk to the person next to you... I know it sounds a bit rude, but I once got stuck next to an international motivational speaker for Amway all the way from NZ to Britain and mistakenly started a conversation... that turned out to be a VERY long flight! I now smile politely and nod and say 'hi', then quickly put headphones in and start reading my book or watching a movie."

Wise words. We'll put the best of the other tips out on Twitter during the week (@winstonaldworth and @NZHtravel). (The other Scholl giveaway winners were Andrea Whitaker and Carl Larsen.)

The other half

Last week, I had a taste of how the other half flies - well, the other 1 per cent, if the anti-austerity protesters are to be believed.

Austerity has no place in the first-class seats aboard an Emirates A380. The one concession to moderation is the five-minute limit on the running water when you take a shower - which, as a bloke, is about three-and-a-half minutes longer than I usually take in the shower anyway.

Between the Dom Perignon and the seat that turns into a comfortable bed, this is ludicrous comfort. It's possibly the only way I can think of to arrive after a long-haul flight in better shape than you departed. Sadly, the reality of a journalist's pay cheque means I'll still be using your top tips in economy.

- NZ Herald

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Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

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