How to Make Your Economy Flight Feel Like First Class

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Are you a budget traveler who wants the most out of your flight experience? Read on for tips on how to make an economy flight feel like first class! Learn how to make the most of a budget flight and get those luxurious first-class details without paying out of pocket. Get ready for your economy flight upgrade!

Airplane in Flight

Flying first class is a treat for many, and I’ve shared how you can fly first class for cheap here on my blog. It’s not something that I do every time I fly, but I try to do it whenever I can. Flying economy isn’t always a pleasurable experience, at least not for me and many others, and that’s one of the reasons why I never fly basic economy as that’s still a step below economy flying.

When flying on long-haul flights, I always try to upgrade my flights, as I’d like to be as comfortable as I can. However, it’s not always possible. Not only can first-class flights be super expensive, but sometimes even when following my tips for flying first class for cheap, seats may be sold out on the day of travel. Or there may be just one available, and most times, as I’m traveling with Madison, I have to give it up and fly economy.

But don’t get discouraged, you can still make your flight enjoyable and arrive at your destination refreshed. If you are flying economy, there are still some ways to make your flight feel more like first class. Here are a few tips:

Make Economy Flight Feel Like First Class

Take a Little Amenity Kit With You.

Passengers traveling in first class are treated to a premium travel amenity kit, usually in a nice little leather case. Those flying in economy class aren’t likely to be as fortunate unless they’re traveling on a long-haul international flight, in which case they’ll receive a kit that’s still not quite as luxurious as those traveling in first class.

Listed below are some long-haul flight items you should bring with you to make your coach flight more bearable:

  • Sleep Mask
  • Earplugs
  • Facial Mist 
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Sugar-Free Gum
  • Mouthwash
  • Headphones

Taking advantage of all of these options will make your flight a little more comfortable. Also, because airplanes can get cold, I recommend dressing in layers instead of taking a blanket. A jacket will keep you just as warm as a blanket will, and you can easily take the jacket off once you arrive at your destination.

Bring a Travel Pillow with you.

Another way to make your economy flight feel like first class is by bringing a comfortable travel pillow with you. This is a simple and inexpensive way to upgrade your flight without spending a lot of money. You won’t have the luxury of lie-flat seats like first-class passengers, but you will be able to sleep comfortably without worrying about your neck cramping up.

This Bcozzy travel pillow is a best-seller on Amazon and one of mine and Madison’s favorites because it supports your neck and chin and lets you sleep comfortably in any position while traveling. We never leave without it, and you may have seen it in our travel stories on Instagram. Whether we’re taking a flight for an hour or eight hours, it goes wherever we go.

Select Your Seat With SeatGuru.

Your choice of seat can make or break your flight experience. A lousy seat may make your vacation a complete disaster. You should avoid selecting a seat near the restroom unless you love terrible smells, people lining up in the aisle next to you, and views into the bathroom every time someone enters or exits the facility.

Avoid taking a seat near the galley because flight attendants will be dragging their carts back and forth, which may be pretty loud at times.

I like to use SeatGuru before every flight to help me choose the best seat for me. SeatGuru will provide the best and worst seats available on any aircraft operated by any airline.

Choose an Exit Row Seat.

Exit-row seats are excellent because they provide a significant amount of additional legroom. A free exit row seat is available on some airlines when booking a ticket in the first row. Make your reservations early because these seats tend to sell out far more quickly than other seating options.

On the other hand, if it’s not included in your fare, it can be expensive, as some airlines do charge an additional fee for exit rows. If that’s the case, and you don’t want to pay extra for the luxury of an exit row, wait until you get to the airport and inquire with the gate agent about whether any exit row seats are still available for purchase. They will almost always adjust your seat assignment and put you in the exit row at no additional cost if this is the case. The one exception is if you’re traveling with kids.

Don’t Sit Near Your Travel Partner Unless Absolutely Necessary.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve done this and ended up with the row to myself when traveling with Madison. If you’re traveling with someone else, avoid booking seats directly next to each other. Instead, book one ticket in the aisle and another in the window, leaving the middle seat between the two of you free.

And if someone does find themselves in the middle seat, simply offer for one of you to swap places with them. The majority of individuals would want to be near an aisle or a window and will gladly switch places with you to be next to your travel partner. If your flight isn’t entirely sold out, the middle seat will remain available, and you will have an entire row to yourself, allowing you to stretch out and become more relaxed.

Bring Some Snacks With You.

On most domestic economy flights, you will only get one small snack, like a packet of peanuts or a couple of Biscoff cookies. In contrast to first-class, any gourmet snacks or meals are subject to an additional charge in economy class.

As a result, I strongly advise you to bring your own snacks with you.

These simple aircraft snacks will make your journey more bearable:

  • Popcorn
  • Granola Bars
  • Trail Mix (you can even make this yourself)

Keep yourself nourished by packing your snacks, which will also save you money on those costly airplane munchies.

Pre-Order Food

Some airlines offer the option of pre-ordering food. If possible, try to pre-order food for your flight so that it arrives when you are airborne and meals are being distributed. Instead of the paltry snacks that will typically be given, you will ensure that there is something tasty and nourishing on your flight. You can even bring your own cutlery to make it a bit more fancy if you feel like doing so. This will make your economy flight much more comfortable and enjoyable and give you that first class experience.

Bring Entertainment Aboard Your Flight.

Last but not least, if you really want to make your economy flight feel like first class, bring some entertainment with you. Staring at the back of someone’s chair or out the window for hours on end can be extremely tedious, so I strongly recommend that you bring something to help pass the time. This could be a good book, your favorite magazine, or even an e-reader with some digital books stored on it. Or if you’d prefer, you can also download movies and TV shows onto your laptop or tablet to watch during the flight.

Bringing your own entertainment will help the time go by faster and give you a much-needed break from the boredom of economy flights. You may also want to consider bringing earplugs and a sleep mask for added comfort; this will block out any distracting noises in the cabin and dim the lights so that you can rest easier.

Some budget airlines now offer free streaming of movies and TV shows, so take advantage of this opportunity to keep yourself entertained during the flight. Many airlines also offer complimentary Wi-Fi, so you can stay connected while airborne!

In Conclusion

If you follow these tips, your economy flight will feel much more like a first-class experience and be much more comfortable for you. From pre-ordering meals to bringing snacks and entertainment, there are plenty of ways to make yourself feel more at home on an economy flight. And if all else fails, just remember that the journey is only temporary—and soon enough, you’ll be one step closer to your destination!

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