Trudging your way through business class on your way to the back of the plane, it’s only natural to feel a pang of jealousy. But take heart: Even if you don’t have the miles or money for an upgrade, there are still plenty of affordable indulgences you can pack to make economy class feel more luxurious.
DIY Ways to Upgrade Economy Class
Tuck the following nine items into your carry-on to improve your next flight in economy class.
Sipping a cocktail can instantly add a splash of class to long economy flights. Slip the Carry On Cocktail Kit into your personal item and you’ll have the ingredients to mix up a margarita or Moscow mule at 35,000 feet. Note that the FAA doesn’t permit travelers to bring and consume their own alcohol in flight; these kits include everything but alcohol, which you’ll need to request from your flight attendant.
You may not be able to move your body out of economy class, but at least you can mentally transport yourself to a better place through the magic of music, movies, and technology. Noise-canceling headphones from Bose will help you tune out your surroundings. For an even more immersive sensory experience, try the Royole Moon, a 3-D virtual theater with big, comfy, noise-blocking earphones and an eyepiece that plays HD movies or TV shows.
Window Seat Shelf
Any gadget that can create the illusion of extra space in a cramped economy-class seat is well worth a look. That’s why passengers who like the window seat should consider the spAIR Tray Travel Shelf. It slides onto the alignment channel of the window shade, creating an extra 12-by-4-inch shelf for your drink, phone, or book. This frees up your seatback tray table for a laptop or meal.
Hydrating Face Mask
After a few hours in an arid airplane cabin, it can feel as though all the moisture has been sucked out of your skin. Counter these harsh effects and give yourself a mini-spa experience with a hydrating face mask like the Dr. JART+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask. To refresh yourself on economy flights, place the mask over your face for 15 to 30 minutes, then discard the mask and massage any remaining lotion into your skin.
You might not be able to stretch out your legs or lie flat in economy class, but finding a way to support your feet can add a much-needed note of comfort, especially for shorter travelers whose feet don’t reach the floor. One option is the Sleepy Ride, a comfy memory-foam hammock that hangs from your seatback tray table and cradles your ankles. Or try the Portable Footrest from Econo High, a lightweight mini-stool that folds up into a packable pouch.
Forget the stale pretzels and overpriced airline snack boxes. Instead, upgrade your in-flight munchies to a higher class of snacks. Throw some fresh fruit into your carry-on—like a banana or a baggie of seedless grapes—and pair it with tasty organic snacks like crunchy wasabi-flavored chickpeas or heart-healthy trail mix.
Seatback Cup and Device Holder
Don’t like the entertainment options on your flight—or, worse, don’t have a seatback screen at all? The Airhook can help. The device, which hooks onto an upright tray table, holds phones and tablets up to 8.5 inches, allowing you to play or stream your own entertainment. It’s also got a cup holder, so you can keep a beverage handy without having to fold down your tray table.
Mini-Bed for the Kids
Children often aren’t any happier in economy class than adults are, but their frowns will turn upside down when you install one of these gadgets to help them lie flat and sleep. The FengNiao Inflatable Foot Rest Pillow is a cushion you can blow up to put on the floor between your child’s seat and the seat in front, creating a flat space where your child can curl up. Another option is the BedBox, a suitcase that kids can ride on through the airport and then convert into a leg rest and mattress on the plane.
Silk Eye Mask
If you can’t upgrade your seat, you can at least upgrade your flimsy polyester eye mask to something a little more luxurious—like a silk eye mask from Papinelle or SLIP. These high-quality masks fit all face sizes, and feel cool and soft when you slip them over your eyes.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The 15 Items You Need to Survive a Long-Haul Flight
- 18 Easy Ways to Have a Better Flight
- 10 Ways to Survive a Long-Haul Flight
Follow Sarah Schlichter on Twitter @TravelEditor for more travel tips and inspiration.