I have been lucky enough to get upgraded quite a bit, but I more often travel in economy class. For those long distance flights on the cheap, my secret weapon is my personal replica of the little fun pouch offered as a gift to business class travelers on long haul flights. Over the years I have expanded and edited the content of my travel pouch. So here it goes. This is the content of my personal pouch, which is simply a quart size zip log bag I take into the plane for those dreaded long haul flights:
socks - an absolute must on long flights. Take off those heavy shoes, and relax! I prefer high socks to tuck jeans in, should it be too cold. Careful with trips to the lavatory in socks. You might come away with wet feet (and that sneaking suspicion, that it wasn't all water from the basin...).
- wet wipes - another absolute must. I take two or three individually wrapped refreshment wipes for dirty trays, video screens, or just to clean my hands after eating.
- eye mask - on day or night flights, I always bring the mask. I am a sound sleeper under normal conditions, but shut eye with all those screens and visual distractions can be difficult to come by.
- ear plugs - for a musician another necessity. Planes are loud and long haul flights are long. I make sure to keep them in close reach should there be an air stair only, which means walking right by the running motors, often stuck in line. Way too many decibels for my taste! Ear plugs in combination with noise cancelling ear phones even do away with baby cries in the neighboring seat (really - it works).
- tea bag - I like to bring a mint tea bag in case I start to feel in need of the comforts of home. Airlines mostly offer black tea, which can keep me awake more than I'd like. Hot water always seems to be available on flights. So when the long flight gest hard to take, I have myself a little cup of mint tea.
- lip balm and hand cream - the dry air in planes makes me long for those two things. I like anything mint when flying. For the hand cream I like samples sizes, the smaller the better, with mint scent first prize.
- gum - one or two pieces are always in my zip lock bag. Useful for clogged ears due to the take-off and landing process, and rescue for uneasiness in the stomach
- melatonin or benadryl - as soon as cruising altitude of my long flight has been reached, I reach for that individually wrapped melatonin or Benadryl. Best to try this out at home and before using it on a flight. As always with medication, please ask your doctor, if this is a good option. And make sure to be on your way. It's no fun when you have to disembark due to engine problems while your recently taken melatonin is telling you to find a nice place to curl up immediately.
I like to keep the pouch as small as possible, so I do really wrap and mark individual pills, I take only one tea bag, two or three individual pieces of gum etc. in my bag. That way it will fit into the seat pouch without taking up leg room. This pouch always makes me feel as if I were a little bit ahead of the game, and almost in business class. I hope my list will make your next long haul a little more enjoyable!