Is it just me, or is flying coach getting worse and worse? Ok, I know it’s not just me, just looking at the recent headlines involving airlines is more than enough to make one want to take the train or splurge for business or first class. Alas though, if you’re like me, and not a millionaire or frequent business traveler, I have to suck it up and begrudgingly sulk past those in first class sipping champagne in their lay flat seats (yes, I’m jealous every time, and still have yet to partake in the luxury!). I have experienced more than my share of torturous coach long haul flights in the middle seat, but have grown older and much wiser when it comes to make them more bearable, and almost enjoyable.
While we’ve all heard the same tips over and over about bringing your own snacks, headphones and eye mask, loading up the iPad with entertainment, and avoiding the middle seat at all costs. Here are a few new ways to upgrade your coach experience to first class.
1. Create your own amenities kit.
(Lip balm, moisturizing mask, nice lotion, you know, the works) Whatever makes you feel pampered. Yes, you will feel like a fool putting on your charcoal moisturizing mask, but you know what, everyone on that flight will wish their skin was glowing like yours when you arrive at your destination. If you need some help creating your kit, here are a few ideas to get you started.
2. Bring along a diy cocktail kit.
Because we all know the drinks in coach are nothing to write home about. The ones offered by The Carry On Cocktail Kit are tasty, TSA friendly and easy to pop into your carry on. So if you fancy and old fashioned or moscow mule at 30,000 feet, just add alcohol and you’re good to go.
3. Butter up the flight attendants with treats when you board.
When they feel special, so will you. Flight attendants have it rough, caring for hundreds of passengers (some better than others— we all know who I’m talking about) is not an easy job. And, while it probably won’t land you an upgrade, everyone likes to feel appreciated, and who knows, it may land you the coveted extra bag of peanuts.
4. Bring your own footrest.
Your legs will thank you, trust me. Flying as a shorter person isn’t always the most comfortable, and mid-way through the flight, the pressure on the back of my thighs makes usually it almost impossible to get comfortable and relax. Enter the portable foot rest. Some where along the way, a lot of airlines decided to take out the little foot rests that fold down. I have tried unsuccessfully using a carry on bag as an inferior substitute, and I know I’m not alone. I finally stumbled upon a contraption that hooks to your tray table and acts as a sling like footrest, and voila, problem solved!
5. Get comfortable (or at least try to).
I personally can never sleep on a plane, and used to think those c-shaped travel pillows were cliche. Until I bought one; and you know what, they are life changing when it comes to flying (dramatic I know). The little balls of cotton the airlines give you as a poor excuse for a pillow is pretty much useless, and who knows how many other heads (or butts) have been on that thing. The memory foam travel pillows might look dorky, but they work, and are more comfortable than anything else I’ve tried. Invest in one, and while you’re at it, get a good eye mask and earplugs too. You might even get some shuteye.
6. Get status.
If at all possible, fly with the same airline regularly and get their credit card. You’ll receive a few perks like early boarding, discounted or free lounge entry, and if you fly enough – upgrades.
7. Don’t dress like a slob.
Just because your flying doesn’t mean you have to look like it. There are plenty of ways to be comfy and still look nice. People tend to treat you better if you look nice. I usually throw on a comfy cotton dress, soft leggings, a scarf, and a pair of flats and I’m ready for the long haul.
8. Get TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry.
It’s only $85 for TSA Pre-Check or $100 for Global Entry (which includes Pre-Check). It’s worth it, trust me. No one likes standing in longer lines than they need to. Plus not having to unload your bag and take off your shoes – bonus! Both TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry are good for 5 years, and are super easy to sign up for.
I hope these tips help you upgrade your coach experience on your next flight, and make things a little more
comfortable bearable. If you have any tips on how you make your flight feel like first class, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Bon voyage!
For more tips and tricks, be sure to check out my travel resources page and learn how to travel like a pro!