Travel

Flying Budget? Five Ways to Create Your Own First Class Experience

You’ve bagged dirt-cheap budget flight tickets, thanks to lots of clever planning and fastest-fingers furious clicking. You have no interest in upgrading to this or that — the whole point of saving all that money is to spend it on delectable local food and fantastic shopping at your destination. Nonetheless, that’s no reason to resign yourself to hours of discomfort. After all, flying budget doesn’t have to mean cattle class hell. With some creativity, you can turn your flight into a first-class experience. Here’s how.

Breeze through security

Not eligible for priority queues at the airport? No matter. Be smart about which line to join and you will be through in no time at all. Have your eye on the business travellers and savvy frequent flyers. How can you tell? They typically have with them just a smart laptop bag and/or a streamlined carry-on. You won’t spy a belt or hardware on what they’re wearing, nor pockets bulging with coins, because they know better than to trigger the sensor. As much as possible, avoid groups happily chatting or busy with selfies — these are the excited leisure travellers — as well as families with kids.

Dress for comfort with a trendy hoodie

Take advantage of the athleisure fashion trend that allows you to wear slouchy clothing with much aplomb. Opt for a hoodie like this oversized street version you can easily throw over leggings and wear with trendy sneakers, or this summer-ready short-sleeved style that would not look out of place at a beach resort. A hood is advantageous because you can throw it on as an additional insulating layer against noise and the cold. Plus, you want to be comfortable without looking sloppy when you fly — that’s the hallmark of an A-list traveller.

Have your own water

You are not going to have a flight attendant at your beck and call for every need, and every $5 you pay for a tiny bottle of water is going to be a reminder that you are on a budget carrier. Plus, it’s important to stay hydrated so you don’t start your holiday with parched skin. So bring a water tumbler. Make sure that it is empty when you clear security. Once through, you can fill it at a water cooler or at the tap if the water is potable. This slim memobottle will slot neatly into any lady’s handbag, while this petite bottle comes with a convenient handle and doubles as a cup.

Don’t fly without noise cancelling earphones

Shutting out noise is key to getting to that zone where nothing can bother you. Noise cancelling earphones are the best investment you can make to safeguard against crying infants and gratingly loud chatter. Plus, with such loud ambient noise, you want good quality earphones so you can properly enjoy your favourite music and those downloaded Netflix episodes. If you prefer absolute peace and quiet, or intend to get a good nap instead, don’t forget the insulating earplugs.

Sleep is the ultimate luxury

Frankly, the best way to have a good flying experience is to spend the time in sweet slumber. While it’s not possible to lie flat like in first class (even inclining your seat might prove to be a problem), there are some ways to get as comfortable as possible in order to wake up fresh and not cranky.

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Bring an eye mask to maximise shut-eye, and thick, loose socks in case it gets cold or if you want to take off your shoes. A large scarf or throw doubles as a blanket when it gets chilly. Most importantly, have a good travel pillow — they are inexpensive and can save you from neck and shoulder aches. Instead of the conventional U-shape cushions, consider something more ergonomic like this ultra soft neck support pillow that will keep your head from lolling around. This clever long pillow can be strapped on the seat and hugged like a mini bolster. To literally shut out the entire world and keep anyone from talking to you, you can’t go wrong with the Ostrich pillow.

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