The Consummate Traveler: Three Ways to Make Coach More Classy

By Michele Goncalves
Michele Goncalves
Michele Goncalves
July 24, 2014 Updated: June 19, 2019

Several months ago I flew to Bogota, Colombia, in economy class and was quickly reminded how bare bones and rough it has become. For instance, there was no food left by the time they reached my seat, no blanket or pillow was offered, and all the on-board entertainment came at an additional cost and did not even work after we left the U.S.

Believe it or not, with just a little preparation and investment, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain of flying coach and turn it into a more pleasant and—dare I say—even semi-luxurious experience. Here are my top three tips:

1. Bring your own gourmet coffee: It is a fact that most airlines have below average tasting coffee. In fact sometimes it is so bad I can’t even get it down. The answer to this dilemma is to come armed with your own supplies to enjoy a nice hot cup or two during your flight.

I recently came across an interesting blog post that was discussing a unique product on the market that is both a French press and a travel mug all in one. Intrigued by the idea, I quickly searched on and found a few brands (GSI and Bodum) that ranged in price from $22 to $40 USD. All you do is bring along your own gourmet coffee grinds, add them to your mug when ready, add hot water, and finally press down the plunger. If this is too fussy for you, one of my favorite products is the Nescafe Memento Latte packets. Simply pour the envelope contents into a cup, add hot water, stir, and enjoy a lovely frothy cup of coffee. The caramel flavor is especially delicious.

2. Cashmere travel blanket: Yes, I know this is a bit of a splurge. However, if you can afford it, I definitely recommend you invest in a wonderful cashmere travel blanket to add a touch of elegance and luxury to your trip. Besides, I have heard rumors that airlines may not exactly be washing the blankets after each use. Therefore, it is best to get into the habit of taking along your own blanket (even if it isn’t made out of cashmere). The cost starts at about $200 USD, but just think how warm and cozy you will be while in the midst of the bitterly cold airplane cabin.

3. Noise cancellation headphones: One thing that can help you relax a bit more while enduring the impossibly close quarters of economy class is to drown out any surrounding noise. Think babies crying or loud people carrying on an endlessly long conversation. This can easily be achieved with a set of noise canceling headphones. I found many affordable options on the market that earned good reviews starting as low as $45 USD. If you want the best, the high-end Bose brand runs about $300 USD.

As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels!



Michele Goncalves
Michele Goncalves