‘I found plane seat’s hidden button that really is a gamechanger on flights’

Last week I found myself sitting in a plane ready to jet-set off for a long weekend abroad – and I got the opportunity to put one flight attendant’s plane seat hack to the test.

I was in a British Airways Club Europe seat which is their short-haul business class offering, so it was already a step up from cramped economy cabins I'm used to. It comes with slightly larger, more comfortable seats and the middle seat is always left empty for extra space, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t come up against a rather common holiday issue.

Having been served my food – a surprisingly delicious dinner of beef cheeks and mash – I still had my tray, empty containers, metal cutlery and half a mini bottle of wine left on my tray table. All fine, but I really needed the loo… and I couldn’t put my tray table up to slide out of my aisle seat. Trapped between the arm rest and the full tray table with no sign of the meal being taken away yet I remembered a clever hack shared by a flight attendant.

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Just a few months ago, a cabin crew member for Virgin Australia explained that there’s a secret button that can make flying a fair bit easier. She showed on the underside of the armrest there's a small lever-like button which when pressed allows you to move the armrest up and out of the way entirely.

Many people believe the aisle arm rest is fixed, but if you find the button – towards the hinge of the arm – you can then spill out into the aisle a little more.While aware that the flight attendant had been explaining a Virgin Airlines hack I decided to see if there was also a secret button on the British Airways planes.

It turns out that there is and it's easy to find but takes a little bit of effort to move. Just at the join between the arm rest and the back of the seat there’s a small grey button which when pressed – hard – lets you pull the arm rest all the way up. It’s super handy for sliding out of your seat when your food, or books and iPads, are spread all over your tray table.

The trick can also make it easier to move out of the way when those in the window or middle seat need to get past. Plus, it helped allow me to move around and get my bags from the overhead lockers more easily.

Brits with long legs may also find it more comfortable to flip up the arm chair and sit sideways so they can stretch their legs during long journeys. Or, larger passengers may find that removing the armrest gives them more space around their hips or waist.

Just make sure to put it back down during landing and try not to get in peoples's way when they’re walking down the aisle. In conclusion: this didn't make my flights miles more comfortable but it is a very useful trick to know that I used several times – and anyone with a weak bladder who may find it tricky to wait should definitely keep it in their arsenal.

Now, of course, this hack isn’t going to turn your economy seat into a luxury first class cabin, but it might make flying just a touch easier and more comfortable. That’s always a win to me!

There are other hacks that may make flying more comfortable too. One woman claims a foot hammock is the ultimate accessory. A young woman's go-to plane hack had her fiancé confused when she brought it out on the plane, but she uses it to rest her ankles and feet while flying.

Plus, a Ryanair passenger claims that he simply checks the booking app to see which seats are free and cheekily sits in them without paying the extra fee. Just be careful and move if the flight attendants ask you to as they may need to keep the plane well balanced.

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