Air travel companies had been making flights more uncomfortable long before they began commissioning ex-high school linebackers to drag passengers offboard. If you find yourself trapped in the sad new “Sub Economy” section, here’s how to make your no-frills flight feel (almost) like first class.
Headphones: Bose Quiet Comfort 35
Hailed as the best wireless noise-cancelers on the market, the Bluetooth-enabled cans actively sense and block noise, plus the padding is made from a kind of synthetic suede normally used in luxury interiors—so it’s akin to cradling your noggin in the captain’s chair of a yacht.
Media Player: Nintendo Switch
Released in March, the new gaming system is like a home-based Wii that turns into a portable Game Boy for travel; its tiny controllers even pop off the screen so you can rest it on the tray table while you swerve through Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Carryon: Sportsman’s Expandable Underseat Bag from L.L. Bean
Think forgoing the overhead bin means giving up the ease of a rolly bag? New England’s prep emporium offers a wheeled suitcase that really does slide under the seat in front of you, complete with computer sleeve, plastic-lined liquids pocket, and a monogram option to make it all look classy.
Blanket: National Park Motor Robe with Carrier from Pendleton
Airplane blankets, when they existed, were basically felt handkerchiefs packaged like Happy Meal toys. Legendary wool mill Pendleton re-creates a virgin-wool throw once tucked around the knees in a horse-drawn carriage—a form of transportation more dignified than modern air travel despite its proximity to the business end of a horse.
Mister: Mineral Water Spray Duo To Go from Evian
Evian water first falls as snow on the French Alps, melts into an aquifer, then burbles forth from the springs at Evian-les-Bains. The travel mister ensures that the mineral goodness ends its epic journey in a refreshing spritz in the desiccated air of row 23.
As the suckers up in first class are wincing through, at best, a nip of Crown Royal, you’ll be mixing cocktails from rare liquors, tinctures, bitters, and garnishes courtesy of SaloonBox’s monthly subscription. Note that it’s BYO doll-sized cocktail shaker and free pretzels might not pair well with your elderflower-forward martini.
Lotion: Nourishing Hand Treatment from Omorovicza
Etihad Airways, a U.A.E. airline with some of the most posh first-class amenity kits out there, features Omorovicza products from Budapest. The skincare company sells a travel-size tube of the skin-plumping, age-spot-erasing hand lotion (at a price only slightly shy of the cost of an Etihad “First Class Apartment” ticket).
Eye Mask: Pink Heart or Navy Star Cashmere Eye Mask from Chinti and Parker
Nothing says “Throwing caution to the wind by snoozing through the seatbelt demo” like an Italian cashmere eye guard from U.K. knit designer Chinti and Parker. Choose between hearts-for-eyes (so you look like a cartoon character in love) or stars-for-eyes (so you look like a cartoon character who just saw George Clooney).
A combo hoodie and inflatable neck pillow is the kind of chimera only the sleep-deprived parents of triplets could dream up, but it serves as more than neck support; the incongruity of seeing a drawstring and hood without an attached sweatshirt distracts from the inherent goofiness of a neck pillow.