I observe frequent fliers with a mix of reverence and resentment. Reverence because of their untethered schedules; and resentment because, why don’t I look that good when I fly? I can’t imagine what happens up in first class—sheet masks and champagne, probably—while I’m folded twice into an overhead compartment near the back of the plane. Some celebrities look their best when they’re fresh off of a plane. (Case in point: Rosie Huntington-Whitely.) Not I.
So when the opportunity came about to fly the all-business-class airline La Compagnie, I thought to myself, "Is this my moment to look like a member of the perpetually airborne elite?" The answer: Hell nope! But luckily for me, all that's keeping everyone from misjudging my tax bracket and flier mileage are a few observations I’ve picked up from years and years of flying coach and reading Us Weekly:
Consider The Carry On
At the airport, time is precious. If you have the option to skip the baggage check line, you absolutely should. Instead, check in for your flight at home while you’re finishing up the last of your packing. Speaking of which, efficient packing is a skill. (Let the infallible Joan Didion—and ITG’s commenters—help you out there.) Then contain your curated wardrobe in a considered, minimal carry-on to match: both Away and practical Muji offer great options. An aside: Dust bags of varying sizes are great for carrying makeup, underwear, or dirty clothes.
When I knew I'd be flying business class, I literally dressed as if I was attending a business class—silk button down, black pants, chignon, the works. How savvy. How business savvy! Wrong. Leggings and crewneck sweatshirts and sweatpants are your best friends because everyone in business class (if they know what's good for them) will fall asleep immediately upon takeoff. You can always change in Arrivals if you’re planning to arrive.
Sensible (Not Ugly) Footwear
Sure, you could Kim-K the whole thing and wear heels. You do you. But if you’re a plebe like me, it’s a good idea to stick to flat, comfortable shoes. A friend recently wore Feiyu sneakers as an alternative to the ubiquitous Stan Smiths. I'm also a fan of good ol' Vans (always leather) and Converse (always high tops) too.
In-Flight Socks. Seriously!
In any other setting, removing your shoes is barbaric and disgusting. In business class however, it's a common happening, so take advantage. Airlines usually provide socks with rubbery beads on the soles which is weird until you realize they prevent you from sliding all over the cabin which is genius. Other fliers swear by compression socks, which reduce travel-inducedswelling.
Even when offered that complimentary champagne, you will politely nod "no" because elegance is refusal, or something. But really—and you already know this—water hydrates the skin and in that arid, pressurized cabin, it becomes even more essential. If the still variety bores you, consider sparkling. Or with lemon or lime! Or coconut. Anything. Just drink it, OK?
Behold The Do-It-All Salve
What's more satisfying than slathering balm on cracked lips, cuticles, and what have you? I like Lucas' Pawpaw Ointment but a friend swears by Homeoplasmine. Oh—and when it comes to a dry nose, don't use the same stuff. Nasal gel is a godsend. Thanks Mom, for that one.
Skincare Pre- And Post-Flight
I know in-flight beauty routines are all the rage, but I think the skin’s condition in the air is a direct result of its condition on land. Plus in B-class, you're too busy sleeping or eating or watching last year's Oscar-nominated films to fuss with beauty. So ramp up your routine pre- and post-flight instead.
For flaky skin, Aquareveal Satin Bright Soft Water Peel For Face gently lifts dead layers and is super fun to use. Follow up with Bobbi Brown's Skin Nourish Mask for added (but not crazy-intense) moisture that you can rinse off or gently buff into skin with a tissue. Then layer Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb or another favorite moisturizer/eye cream before calling an Uber to the airport. Let everything soak in while you wait for security.
There you have it. If all else fails, say a few affirmations in the bathroom (I belong in business class, I belong in business class) and remember: No matter your enviable occupation, superior genetics, designer wardrobe, or insane air mileage—there's no greater equalizer than standing spread eagle before a TSA agent who handles you like a heifer at auction, before sending you on your very relaxing work-related trip.
Photo via Getty.
Even more travel suggestions from Claire can be found this way.