How to Make Coach Feel Like First Class

Updated February 28, 2023
About the Author: Denise Cruz has lived in 4 countries and visited 35+ others. After her second sabbatical, she began sharing travel advice at Wander Her Way.

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How to Make Coach Feel Like First Class

Flying coach isn’t always a pleasant experience, especially on long haul flights.

However, there are a few things you can do to make your flight a little more pleasant so you end up at your destination feeling refreshed instead of dirty, tired, and sick.

Here are 7 easy ways to make coach feel like first class (well, as much as you can anyway!)


1. Bring your own amenities kit.

First class passengers get a nice little kit of travel amenities, but if you’re seated in coach you might not be so lucky.

Here are some long flight essentials to pack to make your flight in coach more tolerable:

  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Chewing gum
  • Mouthwash
  • Facial mist spray
  • Headphones
  • Air freshener (non-aerosol)

All of these things will help make your flight a little more comfortable!


2. Bring a travel pillow.

One easy way to upgrade your flight without spending much money is by bringing a comfy travel pillow with you.

You may not have the lie-flat seats of first class, but at least you’ll be able to sleep in comfort without getting your neck in a cramp.

I like this travel pillow from Bcozzy because it supports you neck AND chin making it comfortable to sleep in any position.


3. Use SeatGuru when choosing your seat.

Your seat selection can make or break your flight. A bad seat can totally ruin your flight.

Avoid picking a seat close to the bathroom, unless you enjoy unpleasant smells, people lining up in the aisle next to you, and views into the bathroom every time someone comes in or out.

Likewise, avoid a seat near the galley because flight attendants will be pushing their carts back and forth there and it can get noisy.

I like to use SeatGuru before any flight to help choose the best place to sit. SeatGuru will show the best and worst seats for any flight on any airline.

Remember, the earlier you book the flight, the more availability you will have for choosing a seat.


4. Get an exit row seat if you can.

Exit row seats are great because they provide you with a TON of extra legroom.

With some airlines, you can book an exit row seat at no extra cost. Book early because they tend to sell out faster.

However, a lot of airlines now charge extra for exit row seats. If that’s the case and you don’t want to pay for the luxury of an exit row, wait until you’re at the gate and ask the gate agent if there any any exit row seats still available.

If there are, they will almost always change your seat assignment and put you in the exit row at no additional cost.


5. Bring your own snacks.

On domestic flights in coach, you will typically only get one small snack like a pack of peanuts or Biscoff cookies. Unlike first class, any of the gourmet snacks or meals cost extra in coach.

For this reason, I recommend bringing your own snacks.

Here are a few easy airplane snacks you can bring:

  • Air popped popcorn
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Fruit leather

Having your own snacks will not only keep you full, but also save you some money on buying the overpriced airplane snacks.

Related: The Best Airplane Snacks for Long Flights


6. Dress warmly (but dress in layers.)

Airplanes tend to get really hot or really cold, with no happy medium. You can always be prepared and comfortable by dressing in layers.

I like to wear leggings, a tee shirt, a sweatshirt, and a coat over that whenever I fly. Then I can add or remove layers based on the temperature in the plane.

I also like to pack an additional pair of warm fuzzy socks in my carry-on bag because my feet get cold with just a regular pair on.


7. Don’t sit next to your travel companion.

If you’re traveling with someone else, don’t book seats right next to each other.

Instead, book one seat on the aisle and the other on the window, leaving the middle seat between the two of you open.

If your flight isn’t full, that middle seat will stay open and you will have a whole row to yourself, allowing you to spread out and get more comfortable.

And if someone does end up in that middle seat, just offer for one of you to switch with them. Most people would much rather have the aisle or window and will happily trade with you so you can be next to your travel companion.


I hope these tips help make your flight a little more enjoyable!

For more air travel tips, be sure to read the following:

Denise, travel blogger at Wander Her Way

About Denise Cruz

Denise is a marketing executive who escaped corporate to travel the world… twice. A Brazilian native living in the U.S., she’s lived in 4 countries and visited 35+ others. After side-hustling her way to financial independence, she curates solo destination guides, slow travel tips, and travel blogging advice on Wander Her Way. When she’s not on the road, you can find her in Miami with her dog Finnegan.