Here's how you survive economy class with style!
One of the first, but sad, rules of being a global traveler with a coffee can budget is to fly economy class. While standards can vary by airline, there is no denying that first class has it much nicer. But with a bit of foresight, you can enjoy a much more comfortable flight than your surrounding neighbours – maybe even just as nice as the muck-ity mucks in first class.
Look the part.
Organize your carry on luggage so you can find everything with ease and not lose precious space by building a nest of your junk. Loose coats, scarves, magazines, candy, and water bottles should be neatly corralled into a tote bag or backpack.
Get the best seat.
See a better seat- ask for it! Volunteer for the emergency row, or ask early on if you can grab the 3 empty seats in the very back row to stretch out. On a flight from Lilongwe to London, I was stuck in the middle and I spied a free seat at the very front of economy – tons of leg room between my seat and the first class curtain. I grabbed it and it was so worth the mad dash!
Make a spa in the sky.
I also take along those tiny “pucks” that are compressed disposable wash cloths. Instead of messy lotion, I use a solid moisture stick, like a coco-butter stick from the Body Shop, or a lavender stick from Deep Steep. Deeply moisturizing, soothing, and healing, plus TSA friendly!
Lighten up with dark coffee and chocolate.
DIY gourmet grub
If you prefer savory over sweet treats, try Asian noodle salad, rosemary flatbread with deli turkey and Swiss cheese; cold roasted veggies in pita bread with goat cheese; nuts roasted with sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, and black pepper, tossed with craisins and dried apricots for amazing travel food. Bring along a few beautiful paper napkins – at this point, even the flight attendants will be begging for samples and you will feel nothing but pity for the poor souls in first class with their limp reheated chicken.
If you don't have time to prepare your snacks in advance, you needn't worry. I love GateGuru for researching food selection in different sections of the airport. Knowing your choices in advance allow you to grab better food on the run.
Tiny Treats = Big Relaxation (on any airplane!)
- Try a new magazine. Instead of Time or Economist, try Smithsonian or Walrus. Instead of Cosmo or Elle, try British Vogue or W.
- Go to an independent bookstore and ask the staff to help you select a new paperback.
- Ask 5 friends to suggest a new song for you to download.
- Promise yourself a new lipstick, silk tie, or a fancy cocktail when you have to kill time changing flights.
- Visit Duty Free and apply the incredibly overpriced designer lotions, eye creams, and perfumes and walk away looking and smelling like a million bucks. You can go back to chap-stick when you go home!
I'd love to hear from you! How do you make the most of the economy experience?
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