First Class Flying on a Coach Ticket

So you didn't get the upgrade, join the club.  With airlines holding ever-more-dear the magic fairy dust that turns a cheap ticket into a luxe joyride, it seems that those of us who travel on a budget are forever destined to the cold, cramped confines of the coach cabin. Before you say "moooooo" and resign yourself to a flight from hell —particularly if it's going to be a long one—try some of our heavenly ideas for making yourself feel right at home, even if you are 40,000 miles above it.

How to Upgrade A Coach Flight When You Don't Get the Upgrade

  • Be a Lightweight: Nothing makes a girl feel more like cattle than having to push, shove and cram her belongings into a tight space.  Pack smart by packing light in a soft-sided case to ensure you can slide your things effortlessly overhead.
  • First Class Dining: You can't rely on airlines to feed you anything these days, and even when they do, there's so much sodium, fat and mystery by-products in the meals, they're likely to leave you feeling less than stellar. Pack a gourmet panini or wrap in aluminum foil with greens wrapped in an extra foil layer on the side (to avoid mush-factor), a mini-bag of roasted nuts and a couple of luxe chocolates for a tasty treat.  By brown bagging it--you'll also benefit by dining right away and while other folks in steerage sit twiddling their thumbs waiting for the overpriced bodega-on-wheels, you'll be getting your beauty rest.
  • Tea Time: One thing airlines can't screw up flavor-wise is hot water and since it's free, a few gourmet tea bags can be a soothing, luxe mid-flight treat.   Why not try the new Sakura Sakura! Cherry Blossom flavored white tea from Mariage Frères?
  • Blackout/Noise-out: That crying baby sitting directly behind you?  That surly neighbor who refuses to lower the shade?  Bring noise-canceling headphones, ear plugs and a plush eye mask and you'll never know the difference.
  • Playing Footsie: Elevation causes feet to swell, leaving them feeling like pork sausages stuffed into otherwise perfectly comfortable shoes, so we like to kick off our footwear right away and slide into something uber-comfy, like chenille socks or compact Dearfoam slippers.
  • It's a Wrap: It's hard to relax when you feel like you're in a freezer compartment, so layer up in soft, breathable fabrics like a super-plush sweater over a long-sleeved cotton tee.  If you've got a pashmina, bring that too in case you get gypped (or don't want to touch) on getting a poly-fill blanket or pillow.
  • Beauty (Routine) Rest: For long flights, we like to travel bare-faced to avoid arriving looking like we just pulled an all-nighter with Alice Cooper on tour.  Pack a few essentials like mascara, lip balm, blush, hand lotion and deodorant so you can freshen up before you land.
  • Dental Hygiene: There's nothing like arriving from a long flight with swampy morning breath.  Pack a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste or a disposable finger toothbrush like DentaBurst and give teeth a nice scrub just before you get the last 'fasten your seatbelt' warning.

Bon voyage, savvies!