Traveling is expensive. It also can be super stressful when it’s a bunch of long days filled with hurry-up-and-waits.
Hopefully you can find some of these perks useful and get yourself in a first-class lounge or on one of these amazing airplanes, but if not, at least you can see the pictures, so when you pull the sleep mask over your eyes, you’ll be dreaming of these incredible flights…instead of the crying baby behind you.
Bikini-Wearing Flight Attendants
This one may sound comical, but don’t rule it out. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao is Vietnam’s first female self-made billionaire as of just a couple months ago. In 2011, Phuong Thao started Vietjet Airlines, a private airline company based out of Vietnam; the company went public in February of this year and is now valued at over a billion dollars with 32 planes.
She was ranked 62nd on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women list of 2016 and has been making headlines this year with Vietjet taking off the way it has (pun intended). The reason it’s been in the news and makes our list of airline perks (besides the money) is that the flight attendants, who are all female, wear bikinis while working as you travel.
You can watch their promotional video here, which shows the stewardesses dancing around and really, just having fun. It seems like this perk would work well with a Las Vegas airline company. Richard Branson, are you listening?
No, we aren’t talking about Mary Poppins (sadly); we’re talking about Etihad Airlines and their amazing flying nanny program. Anyone who has ever traveled with kids, or has ever traveled when there was a child on board, knows the woes of a screaming and crying baby in the middle of a packed flight. Hopefully you’re already asleep by the time they start wailing, but if the child is yours and you’re in desperate need of some help with your child (let’s be honest, traveling is stressful enough) then welcome to Etihad’s flying nanny.
On their website, they do a pretty good job describing the perks of the service: “Our Flying Nanny is here to provide an extra pair of hands – whether it’s helping to get the children settled for bed, keeping them entertained or simply offering advice and support to parents. Every Flying Nanny will be equipped with a goody bag of games and activities to help keep the kids occupied, easing the pressure on you.”
They can’t take the child completely off your hands (imagine if there was a daycare on the flight!) but they’re all trained from UK’s early development colleges and programs. On Etihad’s family-friendly flights, all children over the age of 3 receive a pack of games, books, and stickers. Talk about brilliant.
Austrian Airlines’ Food and Coffee
When you fly in Austrian Airlines’ business class, you are going to get some of the best service possible. One online community for the travel industry is TravelMole, and they’re a member of the Omni Tourism Group, a global provider of travel and tourism services. TravelMole wrote about the acclaimed on-board dining and caffeinated beverages that Austrian Airlines offers: “Business Class travellers get a serious taste of Austria with a six-course gourmet menu created by Austrian and international chefs, and subsequently refined “à la minute” for each passenger by a professional chef on board.”
Austrian also brings out “The Original Viennese Coffee House Service” which comes with a choice of 11 different Austrian coffee and dessert options from “the Großer Brauner and ever-popular Wiener Melange through to real specialties such as the Wiener Fiaker.”
Austrian Airlines claims to be the only airline in the world to provide this style of innovative Coffee House service.
Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt
It’s not everyday an airline has a separate terminal solely for first-class passengers. But that is exactly what Lufthansa has at Germany’s Frankfurt International Airport. Ben Schlappig is a travel consultant, blogger, and created the website One Mile At A Time. He reviews all types of airports and lounges, including this first-class terminal/lounge at Frankfurt.
Schlappig writes, “It goes without saying that the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt is one of the world’s best airline lounges.” The lounge has dozens of perks but some of the highlights are the gummy bear buffet, the cigar lounge, the nap and shower rooms, and a menu that offers over 12 kinds of water. Oh, and to top it all off, you get driven directly to your plane in a Mercedes or Porsche.
If you want to check out some of Schlappig’s Instagram pictures from life in first class, you can do so here, but be warned, it will make you very, very sad on your next coach-seated flight.
JetBlue Mint Suites
JetBlue stepped up their inflight game when they brought on the Mint Suites. These suites are a mini-cabin with a seat that reclines all the way down stretching into a bed that is over six feet long. They’ve also partnered with Birchbox so you get a free box at your seat filled with some cool travel items. The cabin looks like something from the future, with a sliding door to close it off for your movie watching on the 15-inch screens, free internet, and a super comfy blanket and pillow.
The best part may be the food: “Our inflight bites highlight local favorites, including a rotating small-plates menu by renowned NYC restaurant Saxon + Parole, sweet treats from Milk Bar and local gourmet ice creams, espresso-based drinks from Brooklyn Roasting Company, and bottles from some of America’s best artisan winemakers, specially curated by our wine expert Jon Bonné.”
Another great perk is that your bags are guaranteed to be the first ones off the carousel so you don’t have to wait once you land.
We’ve touched base on a lot of the inflight and airport perks, but it can be tough to get those unless you’re incredibly wealthy or you travel all the time. If you’re more casual with your trips, here are a couple ways to help you gain a few other perks.
These days, so many credit card companies offer great deals when you sign up and spend a certain amount of money in the first few months. If you can afford to pay off a credit card in full, a great trick for the free miles is if you are going to be making a big purchase anytime soon, get the credit card beforehand and then make those big purchases to hit that mark.
For instance, if you need to buy a bunch of Christmas gifts, if you’re moving, or if you’ll be going on a big vacation, you can offset a lot of those costs by getting the right credit card for you and using it for those purchases. Then once you have spent the amount you need, you can either put the credit card away for good (most financial experts caution against canceling cards), or save it for your next big purchase. This is a great way to get some good miles.
For a listing breakdown of current travel credit card deals, check out CreditKarma’s awesome list.
A companion pass is an incredible perk of being loyal to Southwest Airlines, and it is as amazing as you would think.
While some other airlines, such as Delta, American Airlines, and British Airways, have companion fares, these perks are mainly only accessible by spending a certain amount of money on their airline-specific credit cards. Southwest, however, has a unique way of reaching “companion pass status.”
If you don’t know what this perk is, Southwest explains the benefit on their website: “Companion Pass is the benefit that lets you choose one person to fly free (plus the $5.60 ticket fee) with you every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. To qualify, simply fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, and you’ll earn Companion Pass for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it.”
This means you can add one person’s name to your account and they will fly free wherever you go; there is just a $5 ticketing fee. So wherever you go, they can go too. Then you can just split the cost of the original flight and you’re basically getting flights to anywhere the airline flies for 50 percent off.
The catch is, you can only have one person’s name on there, so if you don’t have a spouse or significant other, it can be annoying to change it. That being said, we can’t think of a better way to travel than with your best friend in tow.