There once was a time when flying was a glamorous affair. Carriers like Pan Am and Trans World Airlines flew passengers in the most modern of jet aircraft, with wide seats and spacious leg room. Once airborne, travelers would be treated to only the finest delicacies and choice beverages from around the world.

Today, it is hard to imagine that time was only 50 years ago. With aircraft getting bigger, seat space getting smaller, and the divide widening between the front and back of the aircraft (exemplified by the Etihad Residence), making flying a glamorous experience is a difficult proposition.

This doesn’t mean that flying cannot still be a fun, relaxing, and glamourous venture. Even in our modern era of airlines dropping luxuries to squeeze every dollar out of travelers, making cross-country flight an enjoyable experience can be achieved with a little know-how and proper planning.

Although the struggle exists, we want to help you upgrade your next flight. Here are five ways you can make your next flight much more enjoyable.

Lounge Access

Believe it or not, you may already have access to an airport lounge just by holding the right credit card. Many airline credit cards come with a limited number of one day lounge passes, which can be redeemed while flying on that airline. In addition, the Platinum Card from American Express comes with access to three lounges: the Delta SkyClub when flying on a Delta Air Lines flight, The American Express Centurion Lounge both arriving and departing, and many other lounges through their partnership with Priority Pass.

Even if you don’t have complimentary lounge access but still want a quiet place to get away and free Wi-Fi, there are options available. At select airports, The Club Airport Lounges and Airspace offer travelers all the peace and quiet of lounge life without a high access price.

Empty Water Bottle

Although the flight attendants may try to hide it with a smile, they don’t always look forward to coming to your aid when the call button is rung – especially if you’re asking for an extra beverage. However, past the security checkpoint, travelers’ options are limited to either buying an exorbitantly-priced water bottle, or hoping the flight attendant will take pity on your plea.

brita water bottleSmart and savvy flyers don’t hit the call button at all and bypass the overpriced water by packing the must-have item of 2016: a personal water bottle. My personal favorite is the Brita filtered large water bottle, allowing me to have clean, great-tasting water on every flight. I bring mine through the security checkpoint empty and fill it in the airport lounge or at a water fountain to stay hydrated on every flight. Plus, hydration is a great way to beat jetlag!


Tablet Computer

Watching a program on the overhead monitors is tedious, at best. Not only is it impossible to get into the out-of-date program, but the strain on your neck is not pleasant. Today, it’s easy to make your own in-flight entertainment with a tablet computer.

amazon fire tabletEven the frugally-priced Amazon Fire Tablet allows travelers to catch up on their reading list, watch television shows and movies, and even finish that difficult level of Angry Birds. Plus, air carriers like Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines now offer premium in-flight entertainment direct to your tablet.


Noise-Cancelling Headphones

In my travels, I’ve found the other half of in-flight entertainment comes through immersion. When a row-mate tries to talk about his latest trip to Poughkeepsie, it can become difficult to enjoy the peace and quiet of your flight.

bose noise cancelling headphonesWearing a set of noise-cancelling headphones, like the QuietComfort® 25s from Bose, can be a polite and direct way of informing your fellow travelers that you are less interested in talking and more interested in getting to your next destination. Furthermore, the right set of headphones can not only block out the world around you easily and discretely, but also make a fashion statement at the same time.


Eye Mask

Perhaps the most difficult thing to do is catch some rest on a flight, especially when transitioning between time zones. Add in travelers using knee-defenders among other common distractions, and resting on a flight can be a challenge.

midnight magic sleep eye maskWhen it’s time to catch some shuteye, a fashionable eye-mask, like the Midnight Magic Sleep Eye Mask from Cabeau, can not only make a bold personality statement, but also help you punch your one-way ticket to dreamland. I usually pair my eye mask with some relaxing music (thanks to the noise-cancelling headphones) to sleep away my next flight.


Even though you may not be traveling in the front of the cabin, you can make your next flying experience feel luxurious with these five simple items. With a little planning around these five tips, your next trip can be a smooth and serene experience.