Newest Luxuries in the Sky

Airlines are constantly looking for ways to improve their services and add value for their passengers. Decades ago, many of these were standard, but with the rising costs of travel, luxury in the air was limited to those traveling first class…

At the AirportiStock

However, airlines have recently begun making a comeback to appealing to their travelers’ comfort and enjoyment.

American Airlines has taken its service from gate to gate, even when your flight is delayed. Instead of just impatiently checking the time and posting annoyed selfies on Facebook, passengers can now be treated to complimentary snacks when the flight is delayed for longer than two hours. In the event that the flight will be longer than three hours, travelers are treated to a sandwich all in the gateside area so passengers don’t miss the most current updates about their flights.

The newest offering of American Airlines is an upscale amenities kit, which had also been a thing of the past until this year. The kit is available for many of the longer flights for business and first class passengers and feature Cole Haan toiletries bags and name brand products inside.


Photo: American Airlines

United Airlines is offering similarly attractive kits, hoping to attract brand loyalty from a younger audience. Not only are United’s toiletries bags made of leather, they also feature sassy, fairtade products from Cowshed. These products are cross-branded from the airplane restrooms to the airport showers as well as in the amenities kits.  United has also made a small but crucial change to its coffee menu – instead of the bland, weak coffee, both lounges and flights will serve Illy coffee. This can be a huge benefit for those early morning flights back to reality after a week on the beach.

Accordingly, both United and American Airlines have reintroduced free snacks and beverages on their flights. JetBlue, Southwest, and Delta also feature this benefit, and never removed it even when times were tough.

For the parents of little ones, United has decided to once again allow families traveling with children under two years old to board and get settled before other passengers. This was another amenity that had been removed in the past several years and reintroduced once again this year. Qatar Airlines now also caters to even its youngest fliers (and their parents!). QA has started offering baby TV and infant bassinets, as well as Mr. Potato Head amenities kits for little kids, and Monopoly-themed kits for the older ones. Once the flight lands, there are baby strollers, climbing frames, and even mini-rides to burn off some pent-up energy in the terminals.


Photo by Hector Rivera / CC BY-ND

JetBlue is upgrading its seat-back TVs to woo its fliers. The new seat-back TVs will soon be almost double their original size, and offer a whopping 100 channels instead of the usual 36. If that’s still not entertaining enough, JetBlue has upgraded their WiFi services to gate-to-gate connectivity.

If you really want personalized services, try out TAM airlines, which uses Facebook Connect to make the entire magazine customized with articles, stories, and pictures which they think would interest you. How’s that for individual attention?

So how about you? What would you love to see during your time in the sky? More food? More fun? More sleep? Tell us what would make your flight more pleasant.