Airline Perks to Make Flying Easier

Flying isn’t what it used to be, and in many ways some passengers have become frustrated – delayed bags, overbooked flights and cramped seats can make even the most patient traveler uneasy.

Airlines have noticed this and some have tried to change things for the better.

Coat Checks

For a small fee, JetBlue passengers flying out of JFK airport (in New York City) allows passengers to check their coats at the airport instead of taking them on the plane.

This makes perfect sense if someone is travelling from NYC to a warm destination and won’t be using their winter coat while they are travelling.

It also means less stuff being hauled onto the airplane and could result in fewer delays.

The only catch is that the service costs $2 per day, the traveller must fly back into JFK and it only works for domestic flights at the moment (although that may change in the future).

Baggage Delivery

Another item of frustration for many travellers has been the delays associated with arriving checked bags.

A few companies have started to noticed and now offer a service to make travelling more convenient.

Bags Inc. is a company that specializes in the delivery of checked bags from the airport to any destination within 40 miles. Rather than waiting for the bags to arrive the traveller simply leaves the airport (without their checked bag) and the baggage is delivered to the hotel/resort by the delivery company within 4-6 hours. This would work best for anyone who wanted to start exploring their destination right away and didn’t need their checked bag for the first few hours of their trip.

Personally I like this idea and would be willing to pay for the time savings of not having to wait for a checked bag. The cost is $30 for one bag ($40 for two) and while some travellers wouldn’t be willing to pay this, many others would and I can see this as a growing industry in the future so long as bags continue to be delayed.

Baggage Guarantees

The opposite of a baggage delivery service is when the airline itself steps up and guarantees that all checked bags will arrive in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, if this happened there wouldn’t even be a need for a checked baggage delivery service.

Alaska Airlines is one of the first airlines to offer travellers a guarantee – they state that checked bags will arrive within 20 minutes of landing and if they don’t the travellers are entitled to either $25 towards a future flight or 2,500 frequent flier miles.

Delta has copied this policy starting last year and now gives 2,500 frequent flier miles for delayed baggage.

In both cases it’s important to reach out to the airline immediately after the delay – Alaska Airlines requires travellers to stick around to file a claim within 2 hours of the delay (within 3 days for Delta).

While baggage guarantees are a nice gesture, I’m willing to bet most travellers will simply want to leave right away after a baggage delay rather than sticking around to file a claim.

On Demand Food and Drinks

On most airplanes the passengers aren’t able to buy food/drinks until the flight attendant passes through selling the items from a food cart. This works well for anyone near the front (or end) of the airplane because it means you’ll get served first but it can be frustrating for passengers seated in the middle of a packed airplane because many items sell out by the time the food cart reaches them.

Virgin Airlines has a different strategy, allowing passengers to buy food and drinks on demand at any time during the flight. The airline uses touch screens at each seat that the passengers can use to order food and drinks any time they want.

It’s no surprise that studies have shown that this system leads to more food and beverage sales per passenger, so I’d expect to see these systems in place with all airlines in the future.

Conclusion – I’m a big fan of anything that makes travelling easier and baggage delivery is something I would take advantage of.

What do you think of the new airline perks?

Related: Tips to Make Flying Less Horrible

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