Many airlines have required passengers to adapt to fewer and fewer perks over the last few years. Seats are getting smaller, fees are getting steeper, and in many cases passengers can’t even expect a complimentary bag of peanuts any more. But it’s not all doom and gloom for airline passengers. Here are some of the best airline perks available to travelers this year.
Air France, Horizon Air, and SkyWest: Free Alcoholic Beverages
Passengers often pay $10-plus for the privilege of imbibing in-flight. But there are a few airlines that let you enjoy a drink and keep your credit card in your wallet. Air France offers free champagne to all passengers (including those in economy class) on almost all of its long-haul flights. Horizon Air and SkyWest (both of which are partnered with Alaska Airlines) offer each passenger one free wine and one free, local beer on every flight.
American Airlines: Bag Delivery Service
When you fly American, you can skip the baggage claim and head right to your destination instead. Your luggage will meet you there thanks to the airline’s luggage delivery service, which operates in all U.S. locations and select international cities. The service delivers to anywhere within 100 miles of the airport and guarantees your bags will arrive within four to six hours of your flight touching down. The only downside is the service comes at a price: Delivery starts at $29.95 for a single bag.
JetBlue: Free Wi-Fi
JetBlue turned conventional airline payment schemes on its head when it began offering Wi-Fi at every airplane seat for no charge at all. The airline’s “Fly-Fi®” program is available on all JetBlue aircraft and promises free, high-speed internet access to all passengers. So whether you’re looking to do some online shopping, stream shows, or get some work done in transit, you can do so sans expensive connection fees.
Korean Airlines: Coat Storage
Traveling from a cold locale to a warmer one always poses a dilemma: Do you freeze in the first locale so as to avoid traipsing around with a winter coat in the warmer one? Or do you wear your coat onto the plane and resign yourself to hauling it around for the duration of the trip? Korean Airlines has figured out a way to bypass these hassles. Each winter from December through February, the airline offers winter coat storage for passengers who are traveling to warm locales from Incheon International Airport.
Southwest Airlines: Free Flights for Friends
Flying is better with a friend. And with the Southwest Companion Pass, that friend (or family member, or coworker) can join you on a flight for free. First, you’ll have to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points by using Southwest’s Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, shopping at partnered retailers, and/or dining at partnered restaurants. In return, you’ll receive a Companion Pass (which is valid for one year) that allows you to bring along a flight companion for only the minimal cost of tax and minor fees.
Turkish Airlines: Free Tours of Istanbul
Passengers looking to kill time during long layovers will find a splendid form of entertainment in Istanbul thanks to Turkish Airlines. Anyone with a layover lasting from seven to 10 hours is eligible to take a free tour of the city. That’s great news, because Istanbul is packed with impressive sites including historic mosques, the Spice Bazaar and Grande Bazaar, the neighborhoods of Uskudar and Kadikoy, Gulhane Park, and many more attractions.
Virgin America: Accessible Outlets for All
Business travelers know all too well the frenzy that comes along with needing to cram in as much work as possible before your laptop dies in the middle of a multi-hour flight. Everyday passengers can also relate to the devastation of having your smartphone die right in the middle of a podcast. But the struggle isn’t real on Virgin America, which boasts free standard outlets and USB plugs at every seat.
These travel benefits add to a growing list of new airline perks. As far as whether or not they’ll be enough to offset the new indignities of plane travel? We’ll let you be the judge.