Once upon a time, flying anywhere was an exciting glamorous affair, with roomy seating, free-flowing champagne, and gourmet food served on real plates. Nowadays, it's a more of a necessary evil that can range from pleasantly tolerable to downright torturous. But your honeymoon flight experience can be made slightly better with a little knowledge and preparation.
Of course, if you can upgrade your honeymoon flight to premium economy, business, or first class, it'll make a world of difference. Many credit cards offer bonus miles if you spend a certain amount in the first few months. If you have a lot of wedding expenses to pay off, it's easy to hit that limit and collect the miles to cover an upgrade.
Whether you can score a better class or are stuck in economy, here are seven ways to make your honeymoon flight more enjoyable.
"Well rested" is likely the last thing you'll be after your wedding night, and a plane ride will only exacerbate your exhaustion (even if you can sleep on the plane, it's unlikely that you'll sleep well). If you start the trip feeling good, you have a better chance of not passing out as soon as you arrive at your destination. If your schedule allows, leave for your honeymoon a day or two after the wedding. At the very least, try to avoid an early morning flight the next day; try to schedule your flight for the afternoon or evening so that you have a few hours to relax with your new spouse, rather than rising early to rush to the airport.
Pack for Comfort
Long gone are the days where economy class passengers were treated to any creature comforts — some flights don't even offer pillows and blankets anymore (and do you really want to risk the germs on your honeymoon?). If your flight is more than an hour or two and you're hoping to catch some zs, it's worth bringing a travel pillow (if space is a concern, opt for an inflatable one), a soft scarf that can double as a blanket, and an eye mask. For longer flights, toss some lotion and eye drops in your carry-on to keep your skin hydrated and eyes moist in the dry cabin air.
Bring Snacks and Drinks
Most airlines no longer offer free food on domestic flights, and even on longer international flights that do include food, the offerings tend to be bland and salty. Skip the meal and bring your own snacks instead, such as unpeeled fruit, nuts, or granola bars. You won't miss the food everyone else is eating and you'll likely feel a lot better upon landing. Don't forget a water bottle (so you don't have to rely on the tiny cups poured by flight attendants) and, if you want to enjoy a celebratory drink in-flight, check out the Carry On Cocktail Kit, a travel-sized kit that includes a mixer for drinks like Gin and Tonic, Moscow Mule and Old Fashioned.
Spring for the Extras
Airlines love to nickle and dime passengers these days, but your honeymoon is one trip when you should consider the extra fees worth it. Things like priority boarding, seats with extra legroom (like the bulkhead or the exit row) and extra luggage allowance can make quite a bit of difference in your enjoyment of the travel experience.
Treat Yourself to a Little Luxury Along the Way
It's your honeymoon and that's cause for a little pampering. Rather than battling traffic and then waiting for a shuttle from the long-term parking lot, why not spring for private car service and arrive in style? And skip the airport food court and shell out a few extra bucks for lounge access (which is free with certain credit cards) so you can relax in a quiet space away from the crowds. Most lounges have wifi, comfortable seating, and free food and drinks. Neither will make a cramped economy seat seem spacious, but if you enjoy the pre-flight experience a bit more, you'll board less stressed and in a better mood to deal with the indignity of being crammed into a tin can 30,000 feet above the earth with 300 other people.
Choose Your Seat Wisely
If you can, choose your seat in advance. Consult a site like SeatGuru to learn the pros and cons of particular seats so you don't end up in a seat that doesn't recline on a 12-hour flight. Some flyers like to gamble a bit by selecting an aisle and a window in a three-seat row; if the plane isn't full the middle seats are the most likely to be empty so you may end up with no one between you (and if someone shows up for that seat, they'll likely be happy to trade their middle for your aisle or window so you can sit together). Another option is to pick seats in the back; planes usually fill from front to back so you might luck out and find yourself with more empty seats around you if you're in the last few rows.
Look for Last Minute Upgrades
Several airlines now offer the chance to bid on an upgrade. There's typically a minimum bid and there's no guarantee you'll win, but you might get lucky and find out you were the high bidder for a bump to premium economy or business class. Some airlines also offer unsold upgrades at a significant discount at the 24-hour mark, so look for the option when you check in online. It's also worth asking at the gate, as sometimes people cancel at the last minute. Asking at the gate also gives you the chance to try your luck that you'll score a romantic agent who's happy to make your honeymoon extra special. You're probably more likely to score a perfect-condition Vera Wang gown in your size at a yard sale than you are to get a honeymoon upgrade to first class — but there's no harm in asking!