Travel in Style: The Best Economy-Class Innovations

Source: STACY SQUIRES/The Press

Source: STACY SQUIRES/The Press

Do you find yourself wishing that economy class could be a little (or a lot) more like first class? If you could just have a little bit more leg room or a snack that’s better than a tiny bag of pretzels, your flight would be a lot more enjoyable. Now, airlines are trying to meet those needs. From comfy seats to customized meals, here’s a list of some of the best innovations airlines are using in economy class.

Seating

Airlines realize the only way travelers can truly be comfortable during their trips is if they have comfortable seats. A new seat invention has the airline world really excited. The invention is called AirGo, and it provides every passenger full control of their seats, said ABC News. “The seat pitch has been increased to 41 inches, but has been designed in a way to occupy floor space minimally.” They provide 16 percent more floor space and every detail of the AirGo has been designed to give passengers more personal space. Luckily, AirGo has been deemed the future of airlines, so there’s hope that travelers may be enjoying these seats in airlines everywhere someday.

Hawaiian Airlines also has extra comfy premium seating available on North American and international routes operated by its A330 fleet. The best part? Five additional inches of leg room.

Another airline to look for if you’re aiming for nice seats? “Lufthansa embraced seat manufacturer Recaro’s pioneering design, purchasing 32,000 new seats across the fleet. The seats themselves have been thinned down (without compromising comfort) and the magazine pouch shifted from knee height to behind the tray table to increase legroom,” writes Today Travel.

Last but not least, the “cuddle class” seat is a great improvement. The Skycouch combines a row of three seats along the window sides of the aircraft, which then works as a bed wide enough for two people lying on their side, according to the New Zealand Herald. The Economy Skycouch is available on Air New Zealand’s 777-300 long-haul services, flying between New Zealand, Los Angeles, and London.

Jetstar, iPad seats

Entertainment

Singapore Airways’ KrisWorld entertainment system provides passengers with 80 on-demand movies, 180 TV programs, multiple radio channels providing hundreds of songs, and Dolby headphones, according to Travel + Leisure. But Singapore doesn’t stop there. “On almost every aircraft, the airline is rolling out international Wi-Fi with OnAir for a small fee. Even in economy class there are USB ports for charging — or for preparing presentations using a thumb drive and the built-in office software.”

Jetstar is now providing iPad brackets for your viewing pleasure. It lets passengers snap their iPads into the back of the seat in front of the them, creating a TV-like feel, Travel + Leisure says.

Virgin America

Food

South African Airways provides travelers with gourmet treats. “The airline now offers passengers many of the delicious gimmicks usually restricted to the pricier cabins: grab-and-go juice or water bottles always available at the galley, two full meals and a snack with three different options, and a full gratis bar stocked with South African wines and unusual treats like Amarula, the local answer to Baileys,” says Travel + Leisure.

Virgin America lets passengers buy a cocktail through an in-flight entertainment and communications platform, according to Airline Trends. Each seat has a high-definition touchscreen that lets them order snacks, meals, and drinks. Passengers can input their orders and flight attendants receive the order through a tablet. They can also use the system to play games and chat with other passengers.

Tired of not having a say in the food you eat on your flight? AirBaltic now lets passengers customize their buy-on-board meals. The system lets customers customize their meal when they book their seat. “During the pre-order process, passengers can choose from a wide range of meal options, as well as drinks and desserts, and virtually ‘drag and drop’ their preferred meal items onto a digital airline tray, with their chosen meal served to them during the flight,” Airline Trends says.

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