As you may have noticed from my previous columns here, I travel a lot. At least once or twice a month I hop on a plane to do research for an article on a destination or about an event or I travel to a meeting or conference to speak, often about gay travel. That part I love.
What I don’t always love is cramming myself in economy class, especially for a long flight. I’m not particularly tall, but with the exception of premium class on American, Delta, or some of the other large carriers or some of the seating on JetBlue, sitting in the back of the plane can be difficult:cramped, crowded, and uncomfortable.
Recently I flew to Buenos Aires for the 3rd Annual Conference on Gay and Lesbian Travel. Thankfully, Ireceived a space-available upgrade from Atlanta to Buenos Aires. On the way back, I wasn’t so lucky, and 11 hours in a non-premium seat in coach is challenging to put it mildly.
Luckily I was traveling with fellow frequent traveler and travel expert, Jeff Guaracino, Vice President at Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, and author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism:The Essential Guide for Marketing.” He’s also a columnist at The Philadelphia Gay News. He recently penned an article entitled, “BYOFC — Bring Your Own First Class.”
“No one cares about your travel happiness but you, said Guaracino. “Taking a few extra steps to replicate the amenities in first class is not only cheaper than a real ticket, but it makes you feel much better, too.”
Jeff says that when he has to travel coach or when he isn’t upgraded, which happened to him recently despite him offering “70,000 coveted American Airlines miles plus $700,” he has a three-part method for coping.
- Choose your seat wisely. Familiarize yourself with the equipment — aircraft — you will fly using sites such as SeatGuru.com;
- BYOamenities. It’s very easy to replicate first-class amenity kits with moisturizer, wipes, clean socks, lip balm, and more; and
- BYOpre-flight cocktail and snack. (This is the best part!) Make sure the bottles are travel sized, but you will be the Absolut envy of your fellow steerage class travelers.
In case you can afford the Berkeley Hotel pictured above, here’s the website. The roof-top pool pictured above is rare enough in London but the roof is retractable which is probably one of the only such amenity in the city.