It can sometimes seem that the current age of airline travel is all about endless cutbacks (even when various perks do emerge... and even re-emerge on the scene.) You're far from alone if you've noticed your experience seems to get somehow even less comfortable, and service more disappointing, with each flight. But travelers, take heart: There are actually a number of seriously solid perks out there to enjoy... and yes, even free ones! For instance:
1. Air China
Air China offers an overnight hotel stay, free shuttle bus transportation between airport and the hotel, and a free breakfast for those travelers with a long layover. Travelers eligible for the perk have layovers longer than 24 hours in Beijing, Dalian, Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Chengdu.
Many already know JetBlue for its free in-flight Internet and unlimited snacks. But the airline also offers another very cool feature that can save you a ton on the cost of in-flight boozing (should that be your kind of thing): If you do bring any of your own booze onboard the flight, you are allowed to drink it rather than buy a drink onboard, according to a loophole cited by Travel + Leisure. Just ask the flight attendant to open your BYO bottle and serve it to you.
For anyone into collecting cool trinkets, all passengers flying on KLM Business class on intercontinental flights are gifted a free blue and white Delftware miniature house of a notable Dutch building, filled with Dutch gin. These Delftware houses celebrate the heritage of KLM Royal Dutch Airline, and are a collectors’ item for KLM business-class travelers. Every year a new house is welcomed into the collection on October 7, celebrating KLM’s founding in 1919.
4. Air Malta
After a long flight, there's nothing like a great stretch to de-stress those tight muscles. But why wait? “Air Malta launched its Sky Spa program, offering economy class passengers free massages on select flight,” says The Points Guy contributor Benji Stawski.
Need the special suit or dress pressed? A special two-sided closet in the United Polaris lounge bathrooms allows travelers to hang items they’d like to have pressed while they get ready. An attendant will take care of the pressing as guests shower, and their clothes will be crisp and fresh by the time they get out. No extra cost!
6. Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand’s Skycouch is a row of three Economy seats that together create a comfortable space to relax and stretch out in, or for the kids to use as a play area. “Families or groups of three traveling together on Air New Zealand and sitting in one row can fold out their seats into a futon — also known as the Skycouch," says Stawski. "Theoretically, a solo passenger can also take advantage of this feature, but only if they are lucky enough to get the entire row to themselves."
7. Etihad Airways
Need a bit of relaxation time on that long flight? On Etihad, there are flying nannies are here to help parents with children — to get children settled for bed, keep them entertained, or simply offer advice and support to parents.
8. Qatar Airways
Thirsty? Champagne for everyone! Qatar Airways is the only airline company to offer two real meals for a six-hour flight, and to offer champagne in all cabins.
9. Alaska Airlines
Speaking of wine, traveling with it can cause major anxiety about breakage. But take heart if you fly this airline: “If you are flying with Alaska Airlines, they’ll transport a whole case of wine for you for free," says Stawski.
10. Various International Airlines
Even frequent travelers may not be aware that their tickets could entitle them to free limousine airport transfers. “This is a free perk that is normally reserved for business and first class travelers, and often only in certain countries. Some of the major airlines offering free limousine transfers include Emirates, Etihad, and Virgin Atlantic,” says Dan Boland, an international airline pilot based in Hong Kong.
11. Singapore Airlines
Not only offering the basic meal service, Singapore Airlines also offers free postcards, playing cards, and writing kits. “What better way to pass the time than by penning a little about your in-flight experience?” says Jessica Bisesto, senior editor at TravelPirates.com.
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