Is this the golden age of travel? Up front it certainly is, but there’s sadly no question that the economy experience of today, is a lesser-distant relative of what passengers could expect in years past.  At the same time, it’s so much cheaper. With every step of the journey becoming a la carte, there are quite a few ways you can make economy palatable again- from start to finish. Here’s what you can do…

Start By Dodging Basic Economy Tickets…

Basic economy tickets are not the ‘cheaper way to travel’ that they’re billed to be. Basic economy tickets are used to trick unsuspecting travelers into fees for everything. Do yourself a favor and avoid buying one of these, so that you can get an assigned seat, mobile boarding pass and not be last on the plane. Of course if you have to book one, you can use this tactic to override the fare and get normal benefits.

And Get A Great Deal- Using Price Trackers…

Price trackers are free, price trackers are easy- and price trackers are awesome. Google Flights, Hopper and Kayak allow you to set alerts for flights you’re interested in. They’re extremely easy to set, and you’ll be first to know if a big sale comes along. We also post lots of awesome deals, so be sure to pop by regularly.

Then Set Free Alerts To Get The Best Available Seat…

Everyone’s heard of SeatGuru, but ExpertFlyer– and it’s nifty seat alerts fly under the radar. Through the free app, you can set alerts for the economy seats you’d like. You can choose between free seats, paid “extra room” seats, window, aisle, or even a specific seat you’re eyeing. It’s totally free and people change seats all the time.

Download Airline App, See If They Offer Upgrades…

Airlines are all about squeezing extra bucks out of travelers, but it’s not always a bad deal. Airlines are more and more often offering “cheap” paid upgrade options up to the next cabin. It’s not impossible to fly first class for just $49 bucks more domestically, or business for $500 more internationally.

Get A Credit Card That Covers Checked Bag Fees…

Checked bag fees are pesky, annoying and downright expensive. One area where airline credit cards shine is their comped checked bag fees, for the cardmember and everyone on their reservation. For someone traveling regularly with an airline in economy, an airline card can save thousands per year.

Grab A Mobile Boarding Pass…

Going to the check in counter wasn’t amusing in the 90’s, and it’s completely unnecessary in the 21st century. Mobile boarding passes save so much time at the airport, and with most airlines now offering kiosks to check your bag in, you can board the plane without waiting in a single line. Mobile boarding passes are available if you check in online- or on the airline app.

Get TSA Pre Check Or Similar Security Fast Track…

When it comes to security, flying economy can be just as good as business class- if you have TSA Pre Check, or a similar fast track, elsewhere in the world. Pre Check/ Fast Track can save hours during peak travel times. That’s exciting stuff. You can get PreCheck online, or as part of Global Entry. Elsewhere, many airports and airlines sell fast track access on a one off basis. Look for it!

Indulge In Airport VIP Lounge Access, You Can Do That…

You don’t need to fly business or first class to access an airport lounge. Awesome apps like LoungeBuddy and Priority Pass offer access-starting as low as $16 per visit, which include unlimited free drinks, wifi, couches, some food and occasionally even showers and spa facilities. You can sign up for PriorityPass here, or download LoungeBuddy here. And yeah, even when flying budget airlines.

Pack Like A Pro And Invest In Your Comfort…

A good carry on is a very worthy investment, and there are even some under $250 that can charge your mobile phone. To pack like a pro, think about the comforts you’ll need during your flight. Extra socks, underwear, change of t shirt, comfortable headphones, lip balm, eye mask. Beyond that- just put some thought into what “doesn’t” need to go…

Download Offline Content From Netflix, Etc To Entertain Yourself…

While some airlines are investing in extra large entertainment screens, many are removing them all together. To ensure you have an entertaining and enjoyable flight, be sure to download a bunch of offline content from your favorite online movie store, Netflix, etc. Controlling your own entertainment is a big part of enjoying your journey. After all, even when airlines do have entertainment systems- they don’t always have entertaining films or tv shows…

Stay Hydrated, Stand Up, Walk Around…

Flying in a tin can at pressures unnatural to the body is literally and figuratively exhausting. Though it sounds elementary, staying hydrated (with water, not gin), standing up during the flight, walking around and stretching can seriously help combat fatigue. If you want to take it to the next level, on longer flights, check out these jet lag tips.

Have A Problem? Use Social Media…

You can find out if your flight is delayed long before an airline tells you. Whatever issues arise during your travels, like missed connections, be sure to use Twitter or even Facebook to contact the airline. Most issues can be resolved with a simple message and doing so will save you tons of time, and wait time jazz music.