5 Airline Perks You Didn’t Know You Could Get in Coach Class

In order to stay competitive, many airlines offer special perks to persuade people to choose their flights over others. For example, Hawaiian Airlines will give you a free Mai Tai, and Delta has been known to offer both a complimentary breakfast and free access to movies.

And while you might think the best bonuses are offered to first class passengers, that isn’t always the case. If you’re flying coach on the right airline, you’re still entitled to a few great perks.

Free WiFi on your flight

JetBlue Airplane

JetBlue Airplane | Allison Joyce/Getty Images

If you want to get some work done or browse the web in the air, it will probably cost you, if the service is even offered at all. But more and more airlines are beginning to offer complimentary WiFi as an incentive. JetBlue offers it on all domestic flights, and Emirates and Norwegian Airlines also offer it on most flights. We can only hope that the rest of them will catch on.

Next: Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to plug in?

Outlets to recharge

Charging mobile phone onboard an aircraft plane

Charging mobile phone onboard an aircraft | ymgerman/iStock/Getty Images

Batteries on devices drain in the air, even when they’re on Airplane mode. Luckily, some airlines offer outlets at every seat, even in coach class. Virgin America, Alaska, and Emirates, all A380 planes, and many Boeing 777 aircrafts are equipped with outlets for all.

And remember, if you don’t see any outlets, you’re welcome to ask your flight attendants where they are located when you board.

Next: If you’re flying with kids, you deserve extra attention.

Special perks for children

Emirates children

Emirates ‘Fly With Me’ kit | Emirates via Youtube

Flying with children can be a rather harrowing experience — little ones are unpredictable, and passengers are not always understanding. Luckily, many airlines now make it easier by providing perks for kids, like top-notch TV shows and free movies. Some carriers even go above and beyond that — if you fly on Emirates, infants and toddlers are given a complimentary fluffy toy, special kids’ meals, and free activity kids for kids ages 6-12.

And if you’re flying on Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, you’ll be treated to a Flying Nanny, an extra pair of hand to help entertain kids with games and crafts and help get them to sleep. But no matter which airline you fly, always ask about special perks for children. You never know what you might get.

Next: Let’s hope all airlines realize what a perk this truly is. 

Free lounge access (yes, for all passengers)

Most airlines have cushy lounges you either have to pay dearly or buy a first class ticket to use. But Canadian airline Porter invites all passengers, coach included, to relax at their lounges for free. Lounges offer charging areas, snacks, WiFi, and beverages to enjoy before they board. And if you’re flying Porter, you can drink alcohol for free during your flight.

Next: If you have an extremely long layover, you may be entitled to this.

A free hotel stay

Air China

Air China Airbus | Boarding1Now/iStock/Getty Images

No one wants to sleep at an airport. But if you have an international flight with an exceptionally long layover, you don’t really have a choice — unless you’re flying on an airline that understands. Asiana Airlines, Air China, China Southern, Japan Airlines, and TAP Portugal offer overnight hotel stays for anyone who has a layover under 24 hours in select cities. Some of them even offer free shuttle rides to and from the airport.

If you’re flying internationally and have a layover of eight hours or longer, check with the airline and see what they offer. You might end up taking a long, cozy nap in a hotel bed without spending an extra dime.

Next: You used to be able to get away with a lot more on a flight. 

Airline perks of the past

A stewardess serving drinks whilst passengers have lunch aboard a BEA Vickers Viking passenger plane

Airplane 1950s | Fox Photos/Getty Images

Remember when you could always check your bag for free on a domestic flight, and when every flight longer than two hours long came with a complimentary meal? In some ways, airlines have come so far, but you used to be able to get away with a lot more on a flight. For example:

  • It seems unfathomable now, but planes used to have smoking lounges, and some airlines even allowed you to light up as recently as the 90s.
  • Most inflight films are pay-per-view for coach passengers now, but once upon a time, movies were included, although every passenger watched the same one. Screens descended from the aircraft ceiling, and everyone shared the experience.
  • Not only were the airline meals once complimentary, they were quite fancy, even for coach passengers. Travelers used to watch flight attendants carve ham and serve lamb.
  • If you order more than two alcoholic drinks now, you’ll likely be turned down or at least carefully monitored. But there was a time when you could drink all you wanted, and on some airlines, it was free.
  • Once upon a time, you could carry on your giant shampoo or body wash bottles without worry.

Next: These are a few things the airline staff doesn’t want you to know.

Secret tips

Baggage claim conveyor belt

Baggage claim | Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Air travel can be convenient and time-saving, but it can also be expensive and frustrating. But as it turns out, you may be entitled to far more than you’re being told. Here are a few tips and tricks that airlines would rather you not know:

  • If you are involuntarily bumped from a flight because it’s overbooked, you don’t have to settle for a voucher. You may be entitled to additional compensation.
  • If your luggage is lost, you may be owed far more than what the company offers you. But be prepared to prove the value of whatever the airline lost (save your receipts).
  • Even if you’re traveling with a group, it’s best to book flights individually if you want to get a deal. Airlines sell tickets at different price levels — so if there are only two tickets left for a low price, you’ll be better off booking individually and having a chance at the low price, rather than booking together and paying a higher price.

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