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Splurging on a first class ticket isn’t the only way to guarantee a pleasant flight. In fact, getting a luxury experience from an economy reservation can easily be done. Though it’s going to take some effort to mimic the premium dream, these life hacks will make all the difference. Before packing those bags, study my tips for making the most out of your budget-friendly moment in the sky.

Food, first

Just because a meal is included with your economy fare, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for mediocre airplane food. Do yourself a favor and purchase your favorite foods prior to boarding. Whether it’s a sweet treat or a yummy cheeseburger, eating something you actually want will instantly put you in a good mood.

Check-in early

A mobile boarding pass will make you feel more like a VIP than you think. Not only will it get you through security faster and keep you out of long check-in lines, being one of the first to check into a flight increases your chance of ending up with a better seat. If you wait until you arrive at the airport, most of the seats may have been assigned, leaving you with way less options and the chance to be stuck in the dreaded middle seat.

A better amenities kit

Instead of fretting about not being offered in-flight essentials, why not put together your own? Pamper yourself with a pair of slipper socks, a toothbrush, high-end skin-care products, and more in a convenient and sleek pouch. Trust me, these little details go a long way. For a simpler solution, you could opt for the premade Aria travel kit that includes everything you need to relax and unwind on your next flight.

Don’t worry, you won’t look stupid. Even Albert Einstein wore fuzzy slippers.

Extra leg room is key

From landing an exit row to stuffing your personal item into an overhead carry-on, it’s important to have as much space as possible. Make sure to keep an eye out for empty rows or window seats and then ask a flight attendant to move once everyone is seated.

Bring your own alcohol 

Free wine and beer on long-haul flights may be nice, but nothing beats your go-to beverage. Though it’s technically illegal to drink alcohol brought onboard yourself, there’s a loophole: a flight attendant can serve you your alcohol if presented to them at the beginning of the flight. Not all airlines will do this, but if you find yourself on a JetBlue flight, don’t hesitate to ask. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, just stop in the airport and get yourself your favorite Starbucks drink or a healthy smoothy to relax. And whatever you do, don’t forget to bring a bottle of water.

It’s all in the loungewear

Even though plenty of first class passengers wear suits and heels, many of them change into more comfortable clothing shortly after boarding. The trick is to look the part before takeoff, but be a travel-pro by packing luxe pajamas or chic athletic wear for a smoother flight.

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Soundproof your space

Complimentary economy earbuds are no match for the noise-canceling headphones included in first class. However, even that luxury amenity isn’t comparable to investing in your own quality pair. Plus, being able to tune out a crying baby or chatty seatmate is priceless.

Go to a lounge

Regardless of your seat number, you can pay to have access to an airline lounge. Being able to eat, drink, and shower ahead of a flight or during a layover takes things to a new level. Look to apps such as Priority Pass or Lounge Buddy for discounted prices.

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