Let’s be real here. Flying business or first class is 100 percent, totally awesome and no amount of hacks can fully duplicate that feeling.
Let’s be realer: Flying upfront in the airplane these days costs roughly $5 million, and that’s not an option for most of us.
But even though you’re stuck in steerage, here are seven must-have items that will make that 11-hour transatlantic haul just a bit more bearable.
1. Earplugs. Sometimes the airlines hand these out in little care packages but the ones they give you are usually hard as the dickens and don’t really do the job. What you want are Hearos*, available in most drug stores. Take a few extra, that way if you drop them you can just pull out a spare rather than scrabbling around under the seats like a weirdo.
2. Sleep mask. Again, you may get a handout but it won’t be the same as your own, comfy, upscale version. I like these from Flight 001.
3. Compression socks. Some of you don’t have a cankle problem, a condition in which fluids collect in your extremities and swell up when you’re hot or have been sitting for a spell. To which I say, Good for you! But even if your circulation is A-OK, being able to slip on a pair of soothing, supporting socks is still a good idea. And as long as we’re on the subject: No naked feet. Ever.
4. Inflatable neck pillow. I like the inflatable kind because I travel light (backpack, small roll-on) and want to be able to collapse it when I’m done. It’s important you get one with a soft, removable cover, otherwise you’ll have plastic edges digging into your neck.
5. Evian water mister. A bit of an extravagance and it does take up room in your one-quart liquids allowance, but this is a lovely way to feel pampered about eight hours in to your delightful middle seat flight wedged between Guy With Really Long Arms and Legs and Four-year-old Who Is Not Really Ready for This.
6. Bose noise-canceling ear buds. These are tremendously expensive, around $300. And I resisted buying them for a while, getting the cheaper, regular ones. Then I took a press trip with a guy who Would. Not. Stop. Talking. and I thought to myself, Hmmm, maybe my own little “off” switch wouldn’t be such a bad investment. The first time I sat on a plane and clicked the little enhancement button, I was transported from a high-decibel hell of throbbing engines, crying babies and squawky public address announcements to a tranquil island where the only soundtrack was Beethoven’s 6th. Absolutely worth it.
7. butterLONDON balm. This is a British cosmetics company although oddly enough I came across their products at the Seattle airport. The balm stick is an all-purpose product that can be used for lips, hands, whatever. Just the ticket for fighting flight dehydration and it’s a solid so won’t have to go in your liquids bag.
All of the above can be tucked into a Flight 001 travel bag which is very handy with lots of separate zippered pockets. There’s even a slot to stick in your credit card so you can buy yourself a much needed G&T without having to dig through your under-the-seat bag.
*Trying something new with this post and signed up for the Amazon Associates program. I get money, not a lot, if you click on the images for more info and end up buying the product.
Related post: Flying Delta Business Elite