How to Make Economy Feel Like First Class

Want to make that schlep to South Dakota feel more like a dream in Dubai? Even if you can’t afford a first-class airline ticket, you can still enjoy the trip! We’ve curated tons of hacks on everything from booking a ticket and packing your bag to catching some Zs in the air. Read on to learn how to make your next flight as lovely and luxurious as possible in a low-cost way.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Choose an airline with great amenities.

  1. Trust us on this—not all flights are created equally! Many airlines are downsizing seat space to pack as many passengers in as possible, and you’ll definitely notice the difference. Before you book your flight, take a look at the airline’s amenities as well as their seat specifications.[1]
    Make Economy Feel Like First Class Step 1.jpg
    • Compare the number of seats per row, food and beverage offerings, in-flight entertainment options, etc. to figure out how to get the most bang for your buck. Even on a nicer airline, an economy seat is still a budget-friendly option.

[Edit]Invest in a lounge pass.

  1. This will give you a comfortable place to relax before the flight or during a layover. Even if you don’t have a first-class ticket, you can still feel like a first-class guest in the lounge. Have a drink, charge your devices, eat a snack, check your email, pick up a few essentials, or take care of anything else you need to before boarding.[2]
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    • You can get a lounge pass for a pretty reasonable price and it will really upgrade your airport experience.

[Edit]Get the best possible seat.

  1. Reserve a seat ahead of time if you can. If your airline allows you to pick your seat assignment, select one in an exit row, the bulkhead (behind a physical barrier like a wall or curtain), on the aisle, or in another area that offers more legroom than usual. If you’re looking for a restful ride, choose a seat away from areas where there will be the most noise and commotion, such as near the restrooms or galley.[3]
    Make Economy Feel Like First Class Step 3.jpg
    • Book your flight in advance to get the best seat available.
    • You might be able to upgrade your seat using frequent flyer miles.
    • If you don’t want to pay for an upgrade, you might be able to talk yourself into one, especially if you check-in early, spot an open seat, and are super nice to flight attendants.

[Edit]Wear comfy clothes.

  1. Pinching waistbands and tight shoes have no place on a plane. In order to be as relaxed as possible, wear loose, breathable clothing. Dress in a few light layers so you’re prepared for whatever temperature the cabin is.[4] Slip into comfy shoes that won’t be a pain to remove when you go through security, or even bring some slipper socks to change into during the flight.
    Make Economy Feel Like First Class Step 4.jpg
    • Just because you want to be comfy doesn’t mean you can’t look great! Worn-in jeans and your favorite tee, chic athletic wear, or a flowy maxi dress are all good options.
    • Want to make an entrance? Try this travel hack. Dress stylishly so you can roam the airport and board the plane looking like a million bucks. Then, change into lounge clothes after takeoff.

[Edit]Bring your own travel pillow and blanket.

  1. If a nap is on your agenda, these are essential. A personal travel pillow and blanket help you maximize your comfort mid-flight and haven’t been touched by millions of other passengers like the free, flimsy options an airline attendant might offer you.[5] Toss a sleep mask into your carry-on, too, so you can shut out the world and get some serious Zs.
    Make Economy Feel Like First Class Step 5.jpg
    • Snag a washable travel shawl/blanket combo before your trip to use as a stylish accessory.

[Edit]Invest in a nice pair of headphones.

  1. The noise-canceling feature is essential for flights. If there’s a crying baby or a group of camp kids on your flight, you’ll definitely want to tune them out. Plus, crisp sound for your favorite sitcom or the latest album you’ve been wanting to listen to is a must for a first-class experience.[6]
    Make Economy Feel Like First Class Step 6.jpg
    • High-quality earplugs are a super affordable alternative here!

[Edit]Queue up the entertainment.

  1. Don’t forget to charge your devices before you pack them! Also, take some time to download new books, podcasts, games, music, TV shows, or movies right to your device so you don’t have to worry about Wi-Fi.[7] That way, you can relax with your favorites regardless of the in-flight options that day.
    Make Economy Feel Like First Class Step 7.jpg
    • More of a creative type? Stick a sudoku booklet or sketch book in your bag.

[Edit]Indulge in some in-flight treats.

  1. Airplane food isn’t always the best, so bring your own snacks. Stock up on your favorites at the airport and try to grab some nutritious foods, like protein-rich nuts, along with your Toblerones. Don’t forget to snag a big bottle of water! It’s crucial to stay hydrated during the flight.[8]
    Make Economy Feel Like First Class Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Stick some individually wrapped packets of instant coffee or tea bags into your bag for a mid-flight pick me up.
    • Looking for something a little stronger? Pack a little cocktail kit, order alcohol from the flight attendant, and mix yourself a beverage!

[Edit]Pack a little pampering kit.

  1. Swing by the drugstore before your trip or head to the duty-free shop in the airport. Toss a few essentials in a pouch and slip it into your carry-on.[9] Hand sanitizer, hand lotion, towelettes or face wipes, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, eye drops, and gel eye patches are the great things to have on hand.[10]
    Make Economy Feel Like First Class Step 9.jpg
    • Pamper yourself with a little aromatherapy, too. Bring an essential oil roller or towelette with a scent that soothes or invigorates you, depending on your preference.

[Edit]Freshen up mid-flight.

  1. This little pick-me-up can help you feel your best. If you start to get bored or restless, take the opportunity to stretch your legs. Walk the aisle a time or two (provided it’s safe to do so), then pop into the lavatory and use your pampering kit to freshen up a bit.[11]
    Make Economy Feel Like First Class Step 10.jpg
    • If you wear makeup, bring your (non-liquid) essentials in your carry-on and do a touch-up before the descent.

[Edit]Arrange your arrival accommodations in advance.

  1. Have everything ready to go when you land to take some stress out of traveling. If you can afford it, arrange for a driver to pick you up at the airport so you don’t have to worry about hailing a taxi or snagging a rental car. You could even hire a porter to deal with your luggage so you don’t have to wait around at baggage claim yourself! Make sure your hotel room or other accommodations are ready when you arrive so you can get right to relaxing.[12]
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[Edit]References

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