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TikTokers want to 'normalize' flying economy, arguing most influencers give way too much prominence to business class

Lindsay Dodgson   

TikTokers want to 'normalize' flying economy, arguing most influencers give way too much prominence to business class
  • TikTokers are campaigning to "normalize" flying in coach.
  • Travel influencers often promote high-end services even though few can afford them.

TikTokers are striving to "normalize" flying in economy, fighting back against influencers who make out that first or business class is the only way to travel.

"Normalize flying in economy," the content creator Hybee, who covers beauty and lifestyle, wrote as the caption of a recent video.

(Economy is — of course — already normal, by far the most common type of air travel. But you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise from the slew of videos, reviews, and reels showcasing pricier options.)

Economy is "fine," Hybee said, showing what her 15-hour Korean Air flight looked like from her aisle seat. She was given a bottle of water, some headphones, and a meal of beef and vegetables.

"Not luxury but still yummy," she wrote.

The bathroom was "pretty standard," she said, and "cramped, but it does the job."

"Economy is FINE. Economy is NORMAL," she said at the end. "Don't be fooled by social media."


Economy is perfectly fine ✨ #fyp #fypシ #travel #flight #koreanair #airplane #traveltiktok

♬ Dance You Outta My Head - Cat Janice

The influencer industry has long been associated with luxury, going back to at least 2009 when content creation began to change from being merely a hobby to a legitimate career.

Being an "influencer" has always been seen as a dream job, with those lucky enough to make it being able to do what they love, travel around the world, and work whatever hours they want.

Influencers racked up followers while being invited on enviable brand trips, scoring mountains of free products from beauty and clothing brands, and maintaining sleek, curated Instagram feeds.

Rarely was slumming it in coach part of that picture, with influencers instead opting for more expensive air travel options, even sometimes flying on private jets.

Now, people seem to want something different from the creators they follow. Influencers being rich is no longer novel, and authenticity is increasingly what shines through.

Jessica Dante, an entrepreneur and founder of the travel page Love and London, told Business Insider the shift is good "for almost everyone."

"The vast majority of flyers will take economy and they still want to see videos that review airline experiences, show how people can get rest on long haul economy flights," she said.

Viewers want "more relatable travel inspiration that they can then take action on," she argued.

"With many people dealing with the cost-of-living crisis, I think viewers are getting a little tired of the unattainable, aspirational content and instead want to see relevant, relatable stories that actually have an impact on their future travels."

Cari Elizabeth, a travel content creator, recently posted a TikTok showing "what it's like to fly economy on an international flight," for example. It amassed 2.9 million views.


here is what it’s like to fly economy on an international flight on AirFrance ✈️ #travel #traveltiktok #flyingeconomy #economyflight #flyingeconomyhacks #firstclassflight #firstclasstravel #businesstravel #businessflight #economytravel #airfrance #airfranceflight #flyingexperience #flywithme #flyeconomy #economyclass #flyinginternational #international #internationalflights #parisfrance #flighttoparis #inflightrefueling #inflight #inflightfood #inflightmeal #caritravels

♬ original sound - cari

Elizabeth said she was flying from Detroit to Paris on Air France and would give the "full rundown."

Flying business class wasn't "worth the extra cost" to Elizabeth and her boyfriend, she said, because they would rather spend that money on the actual vacation.

Elizabeth said she got a blanket, headphones, and a pillow for the flight, as well as a chicken dinner and dessert.

"This wasn't anything special, it wasn't terrible, but it also wasn't the best meal I've ever had," she said. "Obviously, I'm super grateful for it though, because I was hungry on this long flight."

She got breakfast a few hours later, saying the orange juice, muffin, and bread were "nothing special, but better than nothing."

The seats were also "way more comfortable" than expected, she said, affording her a few hours of sleep.

"I don't think I would have changed the experience to pay way more to sit in business, first class, or even the premium economy seats," she said.

"Don't let anybody make you feel bad for not flying business or first class, because we're all going to the same place anyway."

People in the comments of Hybee and Elizabeth's videos generally appreciated the realistic reviews.

While some noted that economy travel is already "normalized" because most people do it, others appreciated the candor.

"Thank you for this," one person wrote on Hybee's video. "We booked economy for our Japan flight."

Another said they loved the video because "I was starting to feel bad I've never flown anything other than economy."

Some said flying itself is a luxury, which many forget.

"I can't even afford economy tickets," one person responded. "If I can't drive, I can't go."

"Economy is fine!" one person wrote. "Your trip will still be amazing."

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