We’ve all (well, most of us) been there before: crammed into an economy seat while longingly peeking through the curtains of first class—dreaming of all that extra leg room, champagne and luxury. While flying coach isn’t always the dreamiest of ways to jet set off to your next getaway, there are plenty of tips and tricks to making it feel like a luxe first class experience—well, almost. We tapped 6 frequent fliers and travel experts for the best tips to making the most of your flight in coach. Here, their best advice to getting that first class experience without actually sitting in first class.
TOM MARCHANT, CEO OF LUXURY TRAVEL COMPANY BLACK TOMATO
Pro Tip: “For position—if you can, choose your seat early and choose the emergency exit. That extra space makes a difference. For those airlines that charge extra for it, it is worth it for long hauls. But check on the flight layout before you book as some can be by bulkheads and you can end up in an even smaller space. Secondly, always take the window seat. For those that say the aisle is good for getting to the bathroom, that might be the case but you also have to cope with the repeated up and down impact of the people seated adjacent to you and for long flights that can be a nightmare and opportunity to sleep can dissipate quickly. I would recommend to try and get seats near the galley on long haul flights. If you need something from the flight attendant, it’s easy to get their attention. It’s also easy to dive into their for little snacks too and make friends with them (always a top tip) as you wander through it.”
Must-have luxe carry on: “Take an Aesop travel pack with you. A rejuvenating scent (not to mention much-needed skin hydration) will go a long way in terms of creating a comfortable, sensory experience.
MARIANNA HEWITT, FASHION, TRAVEL AND LIFESTYLE BLOGGER ATLIFEWITHME.COM
Pro Tip: “Always select your seat at the time of booking so you don’t get stuck in the back. Purchase an economy comfort seat if available to give yourself a little more room. And always travel with the same airline so you get miles and status, so you can board first, visit the lounge and even get upgraded on flights!”
Must-have luxe carry on: I always travel with a sleeping mask and ear plugs so I can get rest and not have to hear airplane announcements. The mask I use feels so luxe that it makes traveling a a little more chic.
DANIELLE WALSH, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AT AFAR MEDIA:
Pro Tip: “I make my own dopp kit at home: I fill a cute canvas pouch with essentials like a soft sleep mask, a toothbrush and toothpaste, rolled-up cashmere socks, earplugs and a tiny bottle of my favorite whiskey. I recently had a 14-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City in economy, my DIY dopp kit was a saving grace! Also, I bring extra-soft socks to wear on long flights. There’s nothing like ditching your shoes after takeoff and slipping your feet into cashmere.
Must-have luxe carry on: I stash a tiny bottle of Angostura bitters in my purse to turn everything from a whiskey to a seltzer into a first-class drink.
TERRIE HANSEN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING FOR VIRTUOSO TRAVEL
Pro Tip: “SeatGuru can help you determine the best seats for every airline configuration (i.e. which recline or don’t, which are located by the lavs, etc). And my top tip: work with a travel advisor! A great travel advisor with know-how and connections can sometimes find business-class tickets at coach prices, particularly for international flights.”
Must-have luxe carry on: “I always bring a pashmina that can pull triple duty: scarf, shawl or blanket. For long-haul flights I bring a light-weight (foldable) pair of slippers. It allows me to ditch my shoes inflight and still move about the cabin without putting my shoes back on. Also, W&P Design’s super-cute carryon cocktail kits not only look chic, they make you feel like you’re sitting upfront during the golden age of flying.”
JEN RUBIO AND STEPH KOREY, CO-FOUNDERS OF AWAY TRAVEL
Pro Tip: Steph: “I think what can be luxe about flying first class is that everything is more relaxed. Having relaxing products can go a long way for achieving that zen feeling—I always bring Glossier’s Soothing Face Mist to help me chill out and stay hydrated.”
Jen: “If you have time before a long-haul flight, treat yourself to a massage just before boarding—even a 15-minute neck and shoulder chair massage at the airport can you make you feel as relaxed as you would in a more luxe class of service.”
Must-have luxe carry on: Steph A lot of the time, first class has outlets for charging your devices whereas coach doesn’t. My airplane must have is an Away Carry-On to keep you powered up!
Jen: An Away Carry-On, obviously. Besides that, invest in an amazing eye mask—either one with chambers that don’t touch your eyelids, or a super lightweight cashmere one.