Let’s face it, few people would choose coach over first-class if given the option. After all, it’s never enjoyable to pass the luxurious first-class flyers as you board your flight and head straight to the back in search of your coach seat assignment.
I flew first class one time in my life and this was simply because there was a $25 upgrade fee on my two hour flight. I had a rough day as I recall, so I didn’t think twice about the upgrade. Every other time I’ve flown anywhere, it’s been coach all the way.
If you fly quite a bit, it’s not a bad idea to sign up for a frequent flyer miles program. Many airlines offer them and if you agree to also start a credit card account, you are often rewarded thousands of miles in bulk, and there isn’t really a drawback to that. I recently set up an account and I already have enough miles to fly anywhere in the US or Canada for free. Plus, sometimes you get automatic upgrades to Business Class.
Change the Way You Think
A big problem with flying coach is expecting the worst. While flying can be a horrible experience, it doesn’t have to be. Most people do fly coach, and that doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting or that they are not worthy of a friendly smile. If you go into your flight thinking about your destination, that is a good first step for changing your outlook on the whole experience.
Control What You Can
You may not be able to afford to sit in Business Class, but you can select your seat. If you are claustrophobic, definitely ask for a window seat. If you are prone to multiple bathroom visits, pick a seat on the aisle. Selecting your seat is something you can usually control. Being seated next to a smelly person is unfortunately out of your control. Keep a positive attitude and make the most of the situation. If you are miserable, see if there are empty seats and ask a flight attendant to switch you. This will undoubtedly help you feel like a VIP.
Dress the Part
This does not mean that you have to put on your four-inch leather boots and your puffy faux fur coat to take your seat assignment, but it also doesn’t mean that you should wear your PJ’s. While pajama pants and an old t-shirt are completely appropriate for long, over-night flights, it’s hard to feel chic when you could easily pass for a homeless person. Instead, wear cotton leggings (for women) or comfortable pants (for men) and layer a knit sweater over your t-shirt. From my experience, I’m usually freezing on flights so I always pack an extra sweater or scarf. Wearing a less casual yet comfortable outfit is the way to go.
Research Your Destination
I don’t know why, but when I flew to Argentina last summer, the fact that I was thinking about my destination helped distract me from the annoyances on my flight. My mind was on tango lessons, trying to remember basic Spanish and looking up art museums in the different neighborhoods. Reminding yourself that you are embarking on a trip will surely put things back in perspective. Take advantage of your flight time and do as much trip preparation and research as you can.
Order Wine or Beer with Dinner
If your flight is international, drinks with dinner are often free of charge. My first international flight was to London and I still remember how chic I felt sipping wine glass after wine glass while watching the latest Leonardo DiCaprio flick on the monitor in front of me. There is something about wine that just makes a person feel like they belong in first class, so there’s no reason to snap back into reality. Alcohol will also help you fall asleep, therefore making the flight feel much shorter.