I travelled in first class once – as part of something for work – and it truly was just as magical as it looks on the Instagram grids of celebrities, influencers and that one friend who always seems to bag a free upgrade. The only thing the experience was missing was a chorus of angels to gently rock me to sleep, but I did have a silk eye mask, a warm shower and a glass of bubbly, so I guess that’s the next best thing.
Travelling first class, or even business, means you arrive at your destination feeling fresh, well-rested and not at all like you’ve been playing a game of Statues for 10 hours. The problem is that flying in such style costs money, a lot of money, and it’s not something that I can really justify – especially when I insist on buying avocados in bulk from Ocado.
If you can’t either – which I’m assuming will be most of you reading this, given that you’re here – then don’t worry, all is not lost. Though you might not benefit from a three-course champagne dinner served to you on a white table cloth with silver salt and pepper shakers, there are all sorts of ways you can make economy feel like first class.
Here are the 10 items I swear by when flying long-haul that mean I have a better experience than everyone else sitting in economy.
One of the biggest differences between economy and first is the space to stretch out. Though I can’t offer you a button that turns your seat into a bed, I can recommend this super comfy footrest that simply clips to the seat in front and allows you to put your feet up. Seriously, it’s life changing.
Ever noticed how first-class passengers swan off smelling like a bed of roses? That’s because they’re gifted an Acqua Di Parma Travel Kit, and you can get your hands on one too – and it actually works out a lot cheaper than theirs, if you think about it. Smother your dehydrated skin in body lotion; wash in the sink with the shower gel and spritz on some of the eau de toilette and you’re ready to go.
Good coffee is nearby impossible to come by in economy, but in first it’s an essential part of the service. Take matters into your hands with this travel mug that will keep your drinks hot for hours – seriously, forever – and fill it up with your favourite cuppa post-security. Premium coffee at 10,000 feet? That’s first class if we ever saw it.
Does anything feel more luxe than the feeling of silk against your skin? They give out eye masks in first class, but you can find a gorgeous silk version of your own without much bother. Slip it in and enjoy the soothing scent of lavender that this particular mask is bathed in. I defy you not to feel fancy with this on.
In first class you can basically ask for whatever you want, except a puppy (although I’ve never tried it, so who knows?), but with this electronics organiser you have a self-made buffet of anything you could ever need. With compartments for all gadgets and their accessories, you won’t be fumbling around for a charging lead or your headphones like the rest of the economy flyers.
One of the dreamiest parts of first class is that it’s really quiet. There are no screaming children; no one shouting across three seats to tell the flight attendant they need another blanket and no shaking trolley clanking up the aisle – total bliss. Well, a pair of noise cancelling headphones will give you the same calm flight feeling and block out anyone within earshot – zone out and let the hours fly by.
In first class each passenger is presented with a soft blanket to wrap themselves up in, and they’re a far cry from the synthetic versions that came folded in plastic in economy. Fast-track your comfort by bringing your own – this one, made out of cashmere and merino wool, is small enough to fold up in your suitcase and super soft and warm – bliss. Plus, you can use it on your own bed once you get back.
This is the ultimate in first-class feeling, eight hours’ worth of clean air and the soft aroma of essential oils that can then be charged via your laptop. The air is softly scented and feels much clearer in first, which makes sense because there are less people, but this handy little gadget will do all the hard work. Because it’s mini the scent doesn’t go very far either, so you won’t be disturbing other passengers.
Right, bear with me on this one. I know it might look weird but it’s basically a heavenly cocoon for your head during your flight, creating distance between you and the person beside you and offering optimum comfort. Once you shut your eyes you’d never know you weren’t lying in a private pod with a premium pillow – trust me.
This isn’t just any travel pillow, this is the best travel pillow you will ever come across. In fact, it seems rude to call it a pillow because it’s actually your one-stop shop to comfortable, uninterrupted sleep. No table tray forehead marks for you, or a sore neck from leaning on your doughnut pillow, this inflatable pillow means you can position yourself in a multitude of different angles and caters for your arms too.
We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.