On the Merits of Flying Coach Part 1: Cultivating Gratitude

Lots of travel bloggers out there focus on aspirational travel redemptions, and for good reason too, since flying first class is much more accessible/affordable via points or miles than via cash. But I think there are a number of reasons as to why it’s important to fly coach from time to time that are often forgotten when reading too many travel blogs.

The first and most important reason I enjoy flying in coach–and the focus of this post–is because it helps me cultivate gratitude. I’ve talked about the importance of gratitude in the past, and anything that helps strengthen my sense of gratitude is a plus for me.

Flying coach helps cultivate gratitude just because it’s such a crappy experience that you can’t do anything except expect nothing; in fact, I generally tend to expect annoying things to happen like the flight being delayed or sitting next to a smelly seatmate or being smacked in the face by someone attempting to put his/her suitcase in the overhead compartment. And when I go in with such low expectations, I can’t help but be grateful for nearly every flight.

Since gratitude is a muscle, you can get better at it by practicing, and flying in coach always helps me practice my gratitude. I’m grateful for uneventful flights, I’m grateful for safe travels, I’m grateful that I have the freedom and ability to fly, and I’m grateful for traveling to new places. And I don’t think I’d be able to cultivate this same gratitude if I were always flying in business or first, and it’s also easy to forget how to be grateful for these other things if you’re always reading other people’s trip reports about constantly flying in business or first.

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