Perks: those cool, extra services offered by most airlines for an additional fee or even no extra charge at all. They can make flying a comfortable, enjoyable, and stress-free experience. But a lot of travelers miss out because they think air travel is just hopping on a flight and getting to a destination. And since airline perks are not consistent across the industry — availability can vary depending on airline, aircraft, and travel class — knowing just what perks are possible and how to get them can make your travel experience much more pleasant.
Here some airline perks you probably didn’t know about and the carriers that have them!
Stay Connected at 35,000 Feet
Depending on the carrier, you may no longer have to download a playlist of music or pack a few magazines to keep yourself entertained during a long flight. In-flight wifi is more and more becoming as it’s a common service offered to passengers, either at an affordable rate or even complementary. Airlines who offer in-flight wifi include (but are not limited to): Emirates, Norwegian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and China Eastern.
Power at Every Seat
You’ve packed all of your devices in your carry-on, but they’re all about to lose the charge in their batteries…now what? Check under and around your seat for an outlet (which can be of the traditional electrical or USB variety), many airlines have installed this feature on some their flights so passengers can keep their devices charged up for the trip. Planes equipped with outlets are flown carriers such as Virgin America, Alaskan Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines.
Complimentary Wine and Beer
Free booze on a flight? Say no more! This is what every (adult) passenger dreams of, unfortunately most airlines don’t offer free alcohol to passengers not in first-class. However, some airlines do offer this free perk for long-haul international flights. Lufthansa and Emirates both offer complimentary alcohol to passengers in all cabins. United Airlines, American Airlines, and Air Canada are known to offer free beer and wine on select international flights flying. And Virgin Atlantic Airways includes at least one complimentary beverage order from its spirits menu on both domestic and international flights.
Gourmet Food and Drink Menus
On most flights you’ll be served with a variety of food and beverage options. Depending on how long your flight is and which airline you will be flying, you may be required to pay for food and beverages. However, some interesting onboard dishes are as followed. Austrian Airlines business class offers a complimentary gourmet menu along with premium coffees. Virgin Atlantic offers meals designed by The Cooking Channel’s celebrity chef Lorraine Pascale on upper class long-haul flights. And lastly, Air New Zealand has installed induction ovens on select flights which allows them to cook burgers, eggs, and steaks all onboard the aircraft.
No traveler wants to share a flight (whether it be a long or short trip) with restless or cranky children. Thankfully, some airlines have figured out a way to keep the kids settled and the parents stress-free while traveling in the sky. A brilliant perk on British Airways is that they feed kids first on flights. Etihad Airways, meanwhile, provides a flying nanny who assists parents with restless children by entertaining them with games and books. All of Etihad’s nannies are trained from the UK’s early development colleges and programs. Asiana Airlines provides a ‘Happy Mom Service’ (requires a reservation in advance) that includes infant baby seats, slings, and nursing blankets. Asiana Airlines also gives expectant mothers and mothers with young children the front row seats on flights for easy restroom access.
Help with Vacation Planning
A lot of airlines will normally provide some assistance to passengers with their travels such as Singapore Airlines who keeps a wheelchair on board to assist passengers with transportation to and from the lavatory. Air New Zealand, however, has an in-flight concierge service that assists with booking beyond flights. Reservations, car rentals, and itinerary planning. They also can give recommendations and suggestions on what to do at your destination. Another airline that goes above and beyond with the vacay help is Turkish Airlines. If you’re stuck on a long layover (7 to 10 hours) in Istanbul, you can take advantage of their free city tour.
If you’re in a hurry to catch your taxi and still waiting at the baggage claim carousel, why not skip it? American Airlines offers a baggage delivery service to wherever you’re going after the airport for all U.S. destinations and select international cities. The average time for delivery is 4-6 hours from landing and it starts at $29.95 per bag. United Airlines has a similar baggage delivery service, called BagsVIP, but it’s only for flights landing within the U.S. Bags are usually delivered within 4-6 hours and it’s limited to within 100 miles of the airport.
Did we miss any cool airline perks? Add them in the comment section below because we’d love to learn more!