So you can’t afford to fly business class, huh? We feel your pain.
Flat beds, extra leg room and ‘bottomless glass’ champagne are all meant to get you to your destination in extra-fine fettle and ready to work (although we’re not so convinced about the work-enhancing properties of champagne). But with business class fares costing between 2-6 times the price of economy class, even large corporations are starting to think twice before shelling out.
Don’t despair, fellow travellers. Budget flights aren’t all deep vein thrombosis and simple carbohydrates. We once found ourselves on an EasyJet flight next to Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley. That’s proof positive there is glamour to be had when you’re destined for the rear cabin, and we’re here to show you how to grab a piece of it.
Create your own amenity kit
We love airline amenity kits: those teeny-tiny toothpaste tubes and itty-bitty jars of skincare product make us come over all kawaii. For us, this is one of the best parts of business class travel, and it’s something you don’t see a lot of in economy.
If you can’t afford to fly business class, take inspiration from these luxury in-flight offerings to create your own amenity kit, and you’ll be channelling your inner Victoria Beckham even as you’re sitting jammed in the tail of the plane between two screaming toddlers.
By the way, make sure you home your goodies in a transparent pouch like this one from Muji and you won’t have to transfer them into a scuzzy plastic bag to go through security.
Style it out
Picture this: it’s 3.30 am and you’re waiting in the queue to check in for your Monarch flight to Alicante. You’re surrounded by bleary-eyed types in tracky bottoms, flip-flops and hoodies. But you’re as sharply dressed as if you just stepped off the front cover of Vogue Hommes.
Granted, dressing to impress won’t get you upgraded, but it will raise the tone. And if Benidorm’s good enough for Joan Collins, it’s more than good enough for us.
Try the kindly brontosaurus at check-in
No, we’re not suggesting a trip to your local museum of palaeontology. The kindly brontosaurus is a body language technique reputed to pack the ultimate in persuading power.
Here’s how you do it: politely say, “May I have a free upgrade to business class, please?”, then step to the side, just out of the check-in attendant’s line of sight. Stand quietly, leaning slightly forward, hands clasped, and with a benign, even saintly expression on your face.
Go ahead and try it – we’re told it’s foolproof. But don’t blame us when you end up sitting next to the loo for nine hours.
Be an economy class lounge lizard
Let’s face it, the only thing really worth having on short- to medium-haul business class trips is access to the special lounge. There you can help yourself to unlimited coffee, alcoholic drinkies, snacks and newspapers. Plus, it’s calm and quiet, which is just the thing to soothe nerves shredded from the stress of that stupidly early check-in.
But did you know you can actually pay to get into those lovely airport lounges? Considering the amount of free stuff you get while you’re there, the price of admission isn’t too horrific. Failing that, you can always use Facebook and the Loose Ends app to connect with friends who’ve already got a lounge membership and are willing to sign you in as their guest.
Can’t afford to fly business class? Don’t fret
We hope we’ve managed to convince you that business class travel isn’t always worth having. What is worth cultivating, though, is the business class state of mind. It’s an attitude that you, with a bit of imagination and perhaps a miniature bottle or two of cava from the in-flight shop, can create for yourself every time you travel.
What are your top tips for glamorous travel? Let us know via [email protected]