Those who travel internationally in first class, read no further-your time will be better spent researching which airline has the best silk pajamas for your journey. This column is to help the poor souls, such as myself, that are stuck back in economy class.
We all know that 'economy comfort' is an oxymoron. But here are a few ways you can keep some semblance of sanity when you're packed into coach like sardines.
1. Be selective on where you sit. I personally like window seats because I can use the wall to prop my pillow. Plus you can control the shade making it easier to sleep or get some sunlight when you are ready to rise and shine. The downside is you have to learn gymnastics to get past your seat mate when they're sleeping.
Do no sit by the galley. Flight attendants will be traipsing back and forth making it hard to sleep with all the traffic.
Do not, I repeat, do not sit by the toilets. Take a middle seat between Sumo wrestlers before you sit by a restroom. Enough said.
2. Sleep as much as possible. The more you sleep, the less you'll have to face the fact that you are in economy. To help, get up early on the day you travel making you more ready for sleep as soon as you sit down.
Be sure to invest in one of the silly U-shaped pillows. There is no guarantee you'll get a pillow on the plane. Even if you do, it may be about as soft as a rock. You can even find pillows that blow up making it easier to pack. I find the Ostrich pillow the most entertaining as it looks like part of a space costume.
3. Get up to walk and stretch. In the sad, and likely, chance you are not sleeping the entire flight, getting up to walk and stretch will keep the blood flowing, making you feel more alive when you finally land on the other side of the world. One way to encourage this is by drinking the recommended glass of water for every hour you are on a flight. This will force you to get up for the toilets. The other bonus is saving yourself from dehydration, which is key to avoiding feeling terrible.
4. Bring your own food. Not only is it healthier, it will also save anyone with food allergies. As helpful as the airline attendants are, they typically do not know what is in the food you are eating, and it's better to be safe than sorry.
5. Make friends with the flight attendants. They are doing this job because they love people and traveling. You can pass time by learning the best places to eat, sleep, and shop. Plus, they may even bring you a special treat like ice cream from first class!
5. Create your own "first class" amenity kit. There is a reason every airline gives its first class passengers and you should enjoy one too. Here are the essentials:
- Eye mask--Sure, the obvious use is to help you sleep. I also find it helpful to wear it while I walk through first class so I don't have seat envy for the next 12 hours.
- Ear plugs - I prefer traveling with my LSTN headphones. They double up as a rocking sound system for the movie marathon...um, I mean if, by some lucky chance, you get to sneak a movie in between all of your focused work.
- Socks--I prefer the ones that you can make sock monkeys out of so you can create your own puppet show too.
- Disposable lobster bib--Unbeknownst to me, I always end up drooling when sleeping on airplanes. For this reason I always bring a bib to protect the clothes I'll be re-wearing multiple times on the trip since I only wanted to take a carry on. If I am feeling particularly fun that day I'll even create one of those obnoxious paper hats you get at Dick's Last Resort to make the outfit complete.
- Toothpaste and toothbrush--This one is more for all the passengers around you, but let me tell you how much we appreciate it. Be sure it is a small toothpaste tube so you can bring it on the plane.
Now sit back and enjoy the flight, well, as much as possible!