I’m going to show you how to travel First Class even on airlines that don’t offer it.
Thanks to the introduction of low-cost carriers, today some estimated 100,000 flights criss-cross our skies on a daily basis. Peanuts replaced lobster, shorts took the place of suits and the glamour of air travel winked out like a street lamp at dawn.
But you can still travel in style no matter where you go.
First Class isn’t about larger seats and better food choices. It’s about enhanced comfort, personalized service, complimentary beverages and all those little extras your flight crew
Read on for insider tips that will ensure your flight is First Class. Because it’s really not about what the airplane has to offer, it’s about what You have to offer.
To Travel First Class, dress the part.
People have become far too comfortable dressing in accordance with their $59 ticket value.
Upgrades to Business and First Class on traditional carriers happen more than you think, but not if you stroll up to the gate in the clothes you slept in, sweatpants, ripped jeans, cheekies, a wife-beater or anything else that screams “I don’t care.”
Boarding agents and flight attendants are going to look right past you.
Stockings or a tie are not required but at the very least wear clean jeans, close-toed shoes and dress in layers should the plane be too hot/cold.
Why the shoes?
Wearing sandals or flip-flops exerts a strange temptation to slip them off and impose your bare feet upon others, whether it’s to kick them up on the bulkhead, onto a neighbor’s armrest or into the lavatory.
Believe me when I say, this one act can negate anything else you do.
Also, in the unlikely event of an emergency situation, bare little piggies are apt to be smashed or broken by people in panic mode.
How likely are you to escape a bad situation with broken toes?
I for one, am not piggy-backing anyone over the age of 10-years-old.
And let’s admit it, we’re all suckers for Italian-made.
To travel first class, act the part
This means good manners, not entitlement.
Karma acts like a boomerang on an airplane. Whatever you give will come back to you tenfold during flight because there is nowhere else for it to go.
Cop an attitude and it will be mirrored right back. Boarding agents and Flight attendants don’t make exceptions, offer upgrades or serve free drinks to assholes.
Give them a reason and they will happily deny you whatever is within their means with a genuine smile.
These folks deal with hundreds of people on a daily basis who all want something from them, whether it be an aisle seat or another round.
They are so used to demands and bad manners that you will shine in the dark with your proper manners, pleasant attitude and Italian shoes.
My, I want to upgrade you already!
You’re dressing and acting the part but you’re weighed down like a pack mule with overstuffed bags and far too many of them.
This screams I have baggage! in so many ways.
Not only will this create drag through the concourse, it will require far too much of your time to manage, find, rearrange and repack.
Plan your packing.
Interchangeable outfits from day to night with layers is best.
Ziplocs are your best friend for protecting electronics, liquids and slightly damp swimwear from the beach or hotel pools.
You can always buy what you need. These days you can even Amazon.com it right to your room.
Chances are, you’ll want to do a little shopping anyway. Leave space in your bag for unexpected treasures and surprises.
And it goes without saying, if you have too much stuff it’s too problematic to consider upgrading you to Business or First Class.
You think an attractive stranger on the plane wants to help you with all that?
Not even the flight attendant.
“You pack it, you rack it” has become the slogan since airlines started paying out millions in worker’s comp injuries.
Flight attendants are not required to lift passenger bags, especially if they’re the size of a Mini Cooper.
Avoid preflight self-medicating
You’re rocking the sophisticated, streamlined traveler look in your Italian shoes and boarding has just commenced.
All of a sudden, you’re nervous.
Maybe you’re in the windy city and it’s living up to its name so you sprint to the nearest bar.
A double on the rocks with a twist and fast!
Oh hey, wait.
What’s that you tucked into your carry-on for such an occasion?
Or maybe it’s Ambien. Then you can go Night-Night and sleep all the way.
Bad Idea. Really bad.
A double shot right before the flight probably won’t hit you hard enough to get denied boarding.
But for the love of you, our dear first class traveler, puleeeze don’t take Xanax, Valium, Ambien or any other type of Zombifying medication before boarding a flight.
And whatever you do, don’t toss it down the hatch with alcohol.
Unless you want to wake up from a blackout behind bars, robbed of your first class experience and your dignity.
Believe me, the last time this happened on one of my flights the woman was arrested by the airport police and detained by the FBI for assault and battery of a flight attendant: Me.
She spent the night in jail and had to pay fines nearing $30,000. And this woman was seated IN First Class.
But of course, you and I both know she was not a First Class traveler. You can’t just buy your way in with a few well-placed zeros on your $59 ticket.
Toxic Consequences of Intoxication
Flight attendants are not allowed to board anyone who appears to be intoxicated per the FAA.
Boarding, taxi-out and take-off up to 10,000 ft. is the most crucial phase of flight when the pilots run through their checklists and perform all the required tests on the airplane. This is most likely when a mechanical issue is going to show up.
Therefore dear traveler, should you pop El Sleepy-time Tab before boarding and before the pilots complete this phase of flight, odds are you might be heading back to the gate for a ground delay just as you’re starting to nod off.
You probably won’t remember what you do during that delay but everyone around you will and it’s highly likely you’ll be denied boarding until you sober up or wake up, hopefully without handcuffs.
Most situations requiring police or paramedic assistance on the ground involve mixing medications with alcohol.
Oftentimes, these folks are in a complete blackout and have no idea what happened until they come to.
If you’re a Nervous Nelly tell your flight attendant when you board the airplane.
It ain’t their first rodeo even if it is yours.
And if you still need something beyond human comfort to ease your nerves?
Wait to pop that SleepyTime Tab until you’re beyond 10,000 ft.
You’ll know it’s time when you hear the flight crew announce it’s safe to use electronic devices.
Beyond that? Don’t drink your own alcohol on board the plane.
Airlines, like restaurants, have a liquor license to sell liquor that is consumed on the grounds of the establishment.
You wouldn’t sneak in your own alcohol to drink at a restaurant.
But I doubt they would fine you $20,000 if you did, like the FAA can and will.
Final tips on First Class: Classy vs. Trashy
Again, don’t impose your bare feet on your neighbors or your flight crew.
Don’t pick your nose or clip your nails (fingers or toes) in your seat. C’mon, even the jungle kid Mowgli has better manners than that.
Don’t shove used Kleenex, wipes, diapers or any other material with body fluids in your seat pocket. It’s really quite nasty.
Don’t say, “But on my last flight…”
You’re not on your last flight, you’re on this one.
Don’t rattle your glass or press your call light for special service.
Use your words, your manners and your legs.
Please and Thank You have a lot of mileage these days.
Don’t call a flight attendant a waitress.
Remember: Act First Class and you will receive First Class treatment; yes, even in Coach.
There’s one more Secret to share.
Even if you pull off an epic fail on the insider tips I’ve given you, the last secret ensures (most) all will be forgiven and you will be treated like the first class star you are.
Tune into my next and last post of Secrets Flight Attendants Know: The Secret Handshake
See you then!