Surviving Flying Coach
Singapore Airlines

13 Airline Perks That Almost Make Flying Coach Tolerable

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Surviving Flying Coach
Singapore Airlines

Surviving Flying Coach

While we know life is better in first class, flying coach is rarely among the highlights of any journey. Between the cramped seats, less-than-stellar food, and the dreaded middle seat, it can be downright stressful. But some airlines make an attempt to improve the experience for passengers, offering perks that help make a coach class seat somewhat more tolerable. With insight from travel bloggers and travel industry experts, here's a closer look at the airlines and the perks to keep in mind when booking your next flight.

Related:The Best and Worst Airlines, According to Customer Complaints

Delta: First-Class Perks
Delta Airlines

Delta: First-Class Perks

Starting in November, Delta will be offering first-class perks on all international long-haul flights (more than six and a half hours) to its economy passengers, says Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir. "That means you'll be getting complimentary drinks, hot towel service, and enhanced bistro-style dining with complimentary wine, followed by a second hot towel service and chocolates," he says.

Related:30 Air Travel Perks That We Miss

Frontier: Free Checked Bag, Free Carryon, Priority Boarding
flyfrontier/Facebook

Frontier: Free Checked Bag, Free Carryon, Priority Boarding

Though Frontier operates as a low-cost airline and sells bare-bones tickets, they do have an option to upgrade called, appropriately, the PERKS, says Jeff Klee of CheapAir. "The PERKS bundle, available for a fee, gets you one carry-on bag, one checked bag, the option to select your seat and priority boarding," he says. It's important to note that you must buy a round trip ticket to get the PERKS.

Related:Goodbye, Baggage Fees: 10 Carry-On Tips

American Airlines: Extra Legroom, Free Alcohol, Preferred Boarding
American Airlines

American Airlines: Extra Legroom, Free Alcohol, Preferred Boarding

If you can't afford to spring for business class, there is another alternative to make your flight more pleasant on American Airlines: Main Cabin Extra (starting at $20), says Daniel Gillaspia, a travel expert and founder of the travel blog UponArriving.com. "With Main Cabin Extra, you'll get preferred boarding, extra legroom, and they even give you complimentary alcohol," says Gillaspia. Preferred boarding not only means you avoid spending more time waiting in line, it also prevents you from having to worry about losing overhead storage bin space (especially when you're traveling with packages or gifts), says Gillaspia. "The extra legroom with Main Cabin Extra is also underrated," Gillaspia said. "I was recently seated in Main Cabin Extra and found the extra legroom to be much more noticeable than I originally thought."

JetBlue: Unlimited Refreshments and Free Wi-Fi
JetBlue

JetBlue: Unlimited Refreshments and Free Wi-Fi

JetBlue offers several perks that help make flying in economy tolerable, says Becca Siegel, co-creator of the site HalfHalfTravel.com. The perks include unlimited snacks and drinks and complimentary Wi-Fi. "And the Wi-Fi actually works," she says. "During a JetBlue flight recently from Seattle to New York, the Wi-Fi was so good, considering it was in-flight and free, that I was able to get work done." JetBlue's new aircrafts also have self-serve refrigerators located in the main cabin, allowing passengers to get up during the flight and grab a canned beverage, or a selection of pretzels, chips, or other snacks, adds Siegel. "This makes us always look forward to flying in coach on JetBlue. We don't mind it at all," she says.

Related:How to Fly for Less This Holiday Season

Southwest: Two Free, Checked Bags
Southwest Airlines

Southwest: Two Free Checked Bags

If paying to check bags is among your pet peeves, perhaps this perk is for you. When flying Southwest, you can check not just one, but two bags for free. "This perk alone makes Southwest stand out," says Jeff Klee of CheapAir.com. Added bonus: Southwest offers some of the lowest economy fares in the U.S., he says.

Related:Comparing the Airline Fees of Domestic Flights

Hawaiian: Free Food
HawaiianAirlines/Facebook

Hawaiian: Free Food

Hawaiian Airlines offers complimentary drinks, meals, and snacks on domestic and international flights including beer, wine and spirits, says Jeff Klee of CheapAir.com. As an added bonus, the meals served by the airline are island-inspired creations, rather than run of the mill dry chicken. Snacks are free on the airline's North America, South Pacific, and Asia routes.

Alaska Airlines: Pre-Order Food
Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines: Pre-Order Food

Valerie Stimac, a travel blogger who created the site Valerie & Valise, was recently pleasantly surprised to discover that when flying Alaska Airlines (and you happen to be an Alaska Airlines cardholder), you can pre-order inflight food. The food can be ordered via the airline's app and by doing this, passenger's receive 20% back on all purchases, says Stimac. "This benefit brings the cost of their in-flight meals down to cheaper than what you can find in the airport," she says.

Spirit: A Wider Seat With Extra Legroom
792laurencer/TripAdvisor

Spirit: A Wider Seat With Extra Legroom

Though this perk doesn't come for free in coach, it also doesn't have a hefty business class price. When flying Spirit, you can opt for an upgrade to what it calls a Big Front Seat, says Jeff Klee of CheapAir.com. "For $12 to $150 extra you get a wider seat with extra legroom," he says. "There's no middle seat in a Big Front Seat row and a bit more space to spread out." The Points Guy has described these seats as essentially first-class seats without the first-class price-tag.

United Airlines: Customizable Options
United Airlines

United Airlines: Customizable Options

When traveling with United, passengers can fully customize the in-flight perks, says Jeff Klee, of CheapAir.com "For a fee, you can add preferred seating at the front of the plane with first off the plane privileges," he says. Economy Plus seating offers more space and premium snacks and beverages, says Klee. Basic snacks and drinks are free on United.

Emirates: Free Accommodation, Meals, and Ground Transportation
Emirates/Facebook

Emirates: Free Accommodation, Meals, and Ground Transportation

While this perk applies specifically to long flights that stopover in Dubai, it is certainly a noteworthy offering. "When you're flying with Emirates and have an eight to 24-hour stopover in Dubai, you get a free hotel including a continental breakfast," notes Torben Lonne, co-founder of Dive.in, an online scuba diving magazine and a professional diver whose job takes him around the world. "This is ideal when connecting flights to Asia, as it allows me to get fully rested for the second leg of the trip. You get to rest up in luxurious Dubai while flying coach, all courtesy of Emirates Airlines" There are certain restrictions that apply to this offer and you may have to go through security again, so it's worth checking out the Emirates website in advance to make sure your itinerary qualifies.

Related:16 Most Passenger-Friendly Airports in the World

JetBlue: Extra Legroom and Early Boarding
JetBlue

JetBlue: Extra Legroom and Early Boarding

Yet another perk of flying coach with JetBlue is the ample legroom it provides passengers. Jeff Klee of CheapAir says JetBlue offers the most legroom in economy of any domestic airline. "They also have 'Even More Space,' a feature that lets customers pay $10 to $15 extra to get up to 38-inches of space in certain, designated seats in economy. That's both a bargain, and pretty much unbeatable legroom in economy seating across any of the domestic airlines." The Even More Space option also comes with early boarding privileges and grants you entrée to the fast lane at security checkpoints.

JetBlue: Extra Legroom and Early Boarding
Emirates Group

Emirates: Amenity Kits and Endless Entertainment

Even in coach class passengers are provided with stylish amenity kits (a perk typically reserved for first-class). The kits include various travel essentials designed to help you feel refreshed at the end of a long journey, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, eye shade, socks, and ear plugs.

Singapore Airlines: Adjustable Headrests and Ergonomic Backrests
Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines: Adjustable Headrests and Ergonomic Backrests

Singapore Airlines: Adjustable Headrests and Ergonomic Backrests Six-way adjustable headrests and ergonomically designed backrests? Enough said. There are a few other noteworthy details that contribute to Singapore's reputation for having the best economy class in the world, too. Economy seats also include HD touchscreen monitors and an entertainment system that works with the airline's mobile app to allow passengers to save their favorite playlists for future flights. For those obsessed with charging devices, there's a USB port and a power plug in all economy seats, something many other airlines have yet to get on board with.