The amenities of early commercial flying are peanuts in comparison to modern travel. Sure, you can appreciate your impressive cruising speed and the fact that you’re not flying in a glorified tin can like your airborne predecessors, but also… complimentary gin and tonics. Airlines across the globe make a supreme effort to make sure that your flight is more than just a means to an end, but all airline perks are not created equal. (You should know these air travel tips in any case before you hop on your next flight.)
Lifehacker compiled a list of the little things that you can expect from some of the big names in the travel business, from blindfolds to bellinis, all the way from A (Alaska) to V (Virgin).
They start with the stuff that directly affects what you do post-transit. If you fly Southwest, you get two free checked bags, as long as they fit the following company guidelines, which are pretty par for the course when it comes to bag weight:
“Southwest will accept the first two checked bags for free provided that the bags do not exceed 50 lbs and 62 inches (L+W+H). Overweight items from 51 to 100 pounds and oversized items in excess of 62 inches but not more than 80 inches will be accepted for a charge of $75.00 per item one-way.”
Next, to the perks that keep you grounded. It used to be the case that once you were up in the air, you were incommunicado with the people on Earth, but now plenty of airlines allow you to stay in touch with the groundlings, for a price. But if you fly with Delta, Virgin, or Alaska Airlines, you get free texting, so long as you use WhatsApp, iMessage, or Facebook Messenger. Just connect to the onboard Wi-Fi and let your fingers fire away. JetBlue will do you one better, offering free WiFi for all of their flights. (This is how in-flight WiFi works all the way up in the clouds.)
For the next course, the freebies. If you fly Virgin Atlantic at night, you get a “relax pack”: a mini pre-portioned kit composed of socks, an eyeshade, a toothbrush, toothpaste, pen, and earplugs. For overnight Delta flights, you get a free gossamer blue blanket which does a pretty admirable job even with the airplane A/C on blast. (This is why it’s so cold on airplanes, by the way.)
If you’re flying Hawaiian Airlines, you’re in for more than a treat, as alcohol and food are complimentary on all North American flights. Technically, every flight for every airline has free alcohol, because you’re allowed to bring nips in your carry-on, just make sure they’re in a quart-sized clear bag. Different airlines have different rules about B.Y.O.B., but it’s allowed by security standards—just make sure you don’t bring any of these things that will get you flagged by the TSA.
And remember, in-flight entertainment is always free with the help of this clever flying hack.