Let’s just get real—sitting in coach on an airplane is just not fun, dare we say an experience approaching purgatory at times. That being said, it doesn’t have to be jaw-droppingly awful every time, and there are definitely ways to make the experience a bit more palatable. Here, our top tips for surviving coach.
1. Choose Your Seat Carefully. We highly recommend using Seatguru.com, which offers free color-coded maps of the best seats on a plane with detailed notes as to where the closets, power outlets, and toilets are in relationship to them. Experts recommend choosing your seat immediately after booking to minimize your chances of having a seatmate. And checking in early is a way to help guarantee that you will get the bulkhead seat, which are often not reserved in advance.
2. Do Whatever It Takes To Get Comfortable. Bring your own pillow and blanket (especially on long haul flights). You’ll definitely thank yourself for bringing an inflatable horseshoe-shaped pillow or a micro-bead pillow, our personal favorite travel pillow being the Komfort Kollar ($28; available at Magellan’s). Make sure your electronics are charged and anything you might want to watch (like a movie) is pre-loaded. Being entertained while squished into a coach seat will go a long way.
3. Bring Your Own “First Class Kit.” One of the best features of flying first class is the dop kit that gets passed out, but with a little planning , you can certainly make your own. Pack lip balm, socks, hand moisturizer, facial mist, and an eye-mask in an easy to reach ziplock bag, and you’ll be ahead of the curve.
4. Silence Is Golden. Noise-reducing headphones and earplugs are coach essentials. Stock up on Mack’s silicon earplugs, and if you are really looking to splurge, invest in Bose’s QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones ($299.95; available at Bose).
5. Pack Your Own Food. If there is an option for a special meal in coach—say vegetarian or even kosher—experts suggest to always go for it. Another option? Pack your own food. It might be annoying, but chances are you’ll thank yourself later.