Six Tips on How to Make Flying Coach Feel Like First Class? Seriously?!?

I f you are hoping to truly find out six tips on how to make flying coach feel like first class, then please allow me to respect your time by saving it: there is no way to have flying as a passenger in the economy class cabin feel like you are seated in the premium class cabin — not usually, anyway.

It does not matter if you have an entire row to yourself to create an ersatz lie-flat seat. It does not matter how many amenities are offered with the economy class product. It does not matter how much legroom you have available to you to stretch out. It is simply not possible.

Now, had the title from this article written by Lauren Alexis Fisher for Harper’s Bazarre recommended advice on how to ensure that your flight in the economy class seat is more comfortable for you, that would be legitimate; but to unnecessarily raise the expectations of readers by offering advice from six “travel gurus” on how to make flying coach feel like first class is just plain bizarre for Harper’s Bazarre

…but because of the title itself, the article lends itself to significant depths of inanity — not to mention the advertorial lexicon used to hawk such products as a travel pack of scents which retails for $75.00; a silk sleep mask selling for $39.00; bitters to convert your boring lifeless beverage into a premium experience; a cocktail kit priced at $24.00; and a hard-shelled bag with wheels designed to set your wallet back by $225.00.

In other words, $363.00 — plus the cost of that tiny bottle of bitters; and of course the cost of the flight seated in the economy class cabin — will give you that first-class experience you so crave but cannot afford.

Yeah, right.

Six Tips on How to Make Flying Coach Feel Like First Class

Okay — perhaps I am being overly skeptical; and perhaps I need to keep an open mind. Here are the six tips on how to make flying coach feel like first class — with which I took the liberty to combine and organize — as imparted by six “travel gurus”. Ta da:

  1. Choose your seat early and choose the emergency exit, as that extra space makes a difference. Always take the window seat. Try to get a seat near the galley on long-haul flights in case you need something from a member of the flight crew. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Create your own amenity kit which includes a sleeping mask, ear plugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste, rolled-up cashmere socks, earplugs and a tiny bottle of your favorite whiskey.
  4. Work with a travel advisor.
  5. Bring a soothing face mist to help you “chill out and stay hydrated.”
  6. Treat yourself to a massage just before boarding the airplane before a long-haul flight to help you feel relaxed.

My Six Ridiculous Tips on How to Make Flying Coach Feel Like First Class

I want to have some fun, too. Here are my six ridiculous tips on how to make flying coach feel like first class:

  1. Convince yourself repeatedly — over and over again — that you are actually seated in the first class cabin and not in a seat in the economy class cabin. You might eventually believe it.
  2. Hire a servant to fly as a passenger with you so that he or she can cater to your every whim — as much as can be possible in the economy class cabin, anyway.
  3. Carry your own complete meals and snacks — as well as a set of real china; cutlery; glassware; and a luxurious place mat and tray. You might have some difficulties getting a knife through the airport security checkpoint; but would it not be worth the experience of dining like a human being?
  4. Bring a heavy and bulky padded leather seat cover to ensure that your comfort is all that much cushier. Cushy cushy cushy for your tushy!
  5. Invent and use a device known as the Seat Offender — which is the opposite of the Seat Defender — to expand the recline of your seat to the point of emulating lying flat, instead of restricting it. Imagine the surprise and delight on the look of the passenger seated behind you when you are snoozing with your head comfortably resting in a seat which is now in his or her lap — with his or her meal now smooshed between said lap and seat table.
  6. Use the lavatory in the premium class cabin — especially if you are not permitted to do so, resulting in you possibly being arrested. Despite these 16 tips on how to use and leave a lavatory aboard an airplane, I cannot think of any way to be able to improve the experience of the ones located in the economy class cabin — and besides, what better way is there than to show your fellow plebeian passengers in the economy class cabin that you are better than they are? Do they know who you are?!?


So — did you learn anything from the original article? Did you find it helpful? I have a feeling I know the answer.

To her credit, at least Lauren Alexis Fisher added a disclaimer at the end of one sentence in the aforementioned article: “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.”

As I already said, emulating a premium class experience while seated in the economy class cabin is simply not possible — at least, not by my experience. After all, can you recall the last time when you said “Wow! I was seated in the economy class cabin; but it sure felt like premium class!!!”?

Perhaps I did a poor job of listing six ridiculous tips on how to make flying coach feel like first class. I know how creative you can get. Can your tips out-ridiculous mine? Please post them in the Comments section below, as I look forward to reading them — and I will be sure not to drink a beverage with bitters while I do…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

12 thoughts on “Six Tips on How to Make Flying Coach Feel Like First Class? Seriously?!?”

  1. Gizmosdad says:

    I will say that I agree with “‘Guru Suggestion #3” – a DIY amenities kit. I created mine about 5 years ago using and old zippered amenity kit from Lufthansa. I take it everywhere since it is small enough to fit in the seatback pocket, and holds a mix of misc supplies for my flight.
    In the kit I have
    noise-cancelling earbuds
    spare battery for earbuds
    ibuprofen+antacids+pepto tablets
    USB cable.
    Spare battery pack for those flights when there is no in-seat power and the ipod is low on juice
    drink vouchers
    small pad of paper for those creative insights 3 hours from land
    spare business cards because sometimes a casual conversation with a seat-mate leads to a meaningful business connection

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is a great list, Gizmosdad — and yes, I agree that those items can certainly significantly improve the experience of traveling while seated in the economy class cabin as I have a similar list of items which I carry whenever I travel…

      …but did you truly feel like you were seated in the first class cabin, as the article from Harper’s Bazarre purportedly asserts?

  2. Tucsonjohn says:

    Haha, loved this one – “Purchase an economy comfort seat if available to give yourself a little more room.” Why not just purchase a first class seat, then you can ignore the other 5 suggestions. Too much of an upgrade for ya? Maybe your doctor will prescribe a lovely hallucinogen before your flight. Economy? First? Won’t matter if you don’t even realize you’re on a plane. Now that ‘servant’ idea. That’s got potential!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      …and the funny thing is that the cost of premium class seats have decreased in some cases, Tucsonjohn.

      Some people are simply paying those reduced prices to enjoy that premium class experience.

      As for the lovely hallucinogen: that would probably open up a whole new set of problems of which experiencing being seated in the economy class cabin might be the least of them…

  3. rick b says:

    I don’t know about first class, but I often fly “poor man’s business” internationally. I would book myself in the very back row in the middle section and often the whole row of 3-4 seats is empty, or there are 5 and only one other person, so I can have 3 to myself to lie down.

    On most international routes, the food is pretty decent and they serve free beer/wine. It’s lounge access that’s more important if you have long layovers.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      It is funny how many articles feed into the desire of the aspiration of a premium class experience, rick b; and although they may not emulate that premium class experience, there are many ways for the economy class experience to be more comfortable — some of which you point out.

      I agree that lounge access during long layovers can help to significantly improve the economy class experience; but that depends on the subjective opinion of whether or not it is worth the money or the loyalty to a frequent flier loyalty program…

  4. yup… 3 seats together AKA ghetto first class… Plus you get 3 meals and 3 bags on international flights!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I have done that recently, Holiday Baker Man — and here is a link to one experience:

  5. Joey says:

    Isn’t premium economy supposed to be economy class with a premium cabin feel/experience?!?!? Hehe jk
    As for me, getting my own row is key. If the flight is 70% capacity or lower, the likelihood of getting my own row is higher.
    I bring my own Bose headset so that immensely changes the feel whenever I watch a movie in the economy cabin.
    I think those two are my best tips to make an Economy seat fee like premium cabin.

  6. Carl P says:

    Both of you missed the best tip. Drink heavily.

  7. Ron L says:

    Concept is not so far fetched. I try to create my own little world. Music I like, food I want plus little things like the face mister, candy or a good magazine/book. If you can block out your immediate environment you can improve the reality of economy class.

  8. John says:

    To whom it may concern,
    Thank you for all the information.
    Regarding the Khalifa:
    – I don’t like hot weather
    – Ditto crowds
    – Ditto heights
    – Ditto being ripped off
    – Etc.
    So I am not likely going to the Middle East.

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