5 Upgrades to Make Your Coach Seat Feel Like First Class

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This year more than others, it seems airline ticket prices have grown more and more expensive.

This luxe suite probably costs a fortune! ©American Airlines

For many travelers purchasing a coach or economy seat is the only way to afford their flights. Unfortunately, the experience isn’t the most comfortable!

There are several ways to make the trip more bearable! We are showing you how you can easily upgrade your economy experience without paying those first class prices.

Bring your own blanket and pillow.

One of the benefits of flying first class is receiving those lovely complimentary pillows and blankets. If you’re traveling internationally, typically all passengers will receive a pillow and blanket for the trip. For domestic flights they’re less common. To ensure your flight is cozy, bring your own! The additional benefit of packing a pillow and blanket for your flight is you have the option to choose the products that work best for you!

BlueHills Premium Soft Travel Blanket

Most of the time the airline-provided linens are actually not that great, so when you opt to bring your own you can go all out. If you tend to get cold on planes, go for a plush microfiber blanket like this one that will not only keep you warm, it can be a comfy barrier between you and those hard arm rests. This one by BlueHill hits a happy medium where it’s plush enough to keep you warm without being too bulky, plus it comes inside its own carrying bag that can be used as a pillow when the blanket is tucked away! When it comes to travel pillows there are an overwhelming amount to choose from. Check out this article we wrote comparing some of the best-selling travel pillows on Amazon!

These Travel Pillows on Amazon Will Change the Way You Fly

Create your own media center.

A great way to make an uncomfortable flight go by quickly is by enjoying some media. Whether you prefer to watch movies, play games, or listen to music, these are all great ways to distract yourself to help pass the time. Listening to something besides the sounds of the airplane (and the occasional crying baby) will keep you occupied, which is especially helpful for those who can’t fall asleep on planes.

Universal in Flight Airplane Phone Holder Mount

Sometimes the first class passengers have screens with tons of media options. You can easily replicate this in your seat with a couple of items! If you have a laptop or a tablet with a standing case, set up a little viewing area on your tray table. Just traveling with your phone? Check out this handy adapter that hooks your phone to the seat in front of you! Enjoy downloaded shows or movies all at eye level and hands-free. Of course, don’t forget your earphones! You don’t want to get stuck with the cheap ones the airlines hand out, if they even include them on your flight.

Click here to buy the Universal in Flight Airplane Phone Holder Mount!

Snag a window seat.

This is a well-known tip, but we wanted to include it on this list because it can really make a difference. There are many benefits of sitting next to the window: you have a side without anyone there, you can lean against the wall of the plane to take a nap, and you’re not squashed between two people like in the middle or constantly getting knocked over by people walking through the aisle.

Window seats tend to be popular

Of course, there are some cons to sitting at a window seat. The biggest issue is needing to squeeze past your row-mates when getting up. Also, because more people are going to pick window seats, they tend to book up more quickly. Lastly, some airlines (especially budget airlines like Frontier and Spirit) charge an additional fee to select your seat, so for some flights you will be paying just to sit by the window.

Bring your own snacks and drinks.

On domestic flights, snacks and drinks may be offered to economy passengers for a fee. Another first class perk is free snacks and drinks, plus a dedicated flight attendant just for their section. While you can’t hire a butler to serve you for the duration of your flight, you can bring your own treats! Bring an empty refillable water bottle through security and then fill once you are inside your concourse. You can also get snacks and drinks inside the airport from one of the many stores.

Sometimes coach passengers are offered snacks, for a price

We recommend treating yourself to something a little nicer than what you would normally have to really elevate your flight experience. It can be something decadent like fancy chocolates, or just a snack your really love that you don’t get to have often! Some airports allow for you to bring your own snacks through security, but just be sure to double check their rules before heading out.

Buy a lounge day pass.

Airport lounges seem like another, fancier world hidden behind those frosted doors. Airport lounges are a great place to spend your time either before your flight or during a layover. They tend to have nicer places to sit and relax, and some offer buffets of food and drinks that are complimentary. You might have thought they were only for the most frequent fliers or those with expensive plane tickets, but did you know you can actually purchase day passes for many of them?

It’s actually pretty easy to take advantage of lounge access! ©Ko Olina

Many airport lounges, whether they are run solely by the airport or affiliated with a specific airline, sell passes that allow access to the lounge, regardless of your flight ticket or airline member status. If you know you’ll be traveling frequently but don’t want to sign up for an airline credit card, some lounges offer yearly passes. Just don’t forget to research which airlines have lounges in your home airport before purchasing, as you want to ensure you’re taking advantage of a lounge you know you’ll be visiting often!


With a combination of these hacks (or going for all five!) you should be able to have a better flight experience while still staying under budget.


For more travel tips, check out some of our other articles:

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Do you prefer to save money and travel in coach or would you rather spend the extra money to sit in first class? Do you do it differently for international trips? Let us know your preferences in the comment section!

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