We all desire the same things while on a long flight: Comfort and entertainment. While this isn't always realistic, some airlines are revolutionizing the flight experience for those who can afford it. A typical plane ride includes some snack peanuts and perhaps a blanket and pillow. Additionally, you can expect seats that barely recline and start to cut off circulation six hours into the flight, leading to a rather uncomfortably long journey. There's also no guarantee that you'll have access to a TV screen unless you are on an extended flight, which means you'll be stuck with outdated reading material... Maybe.
While many are dealing with these commonplace amenities, some of us are living it up with things with only ever seen on the ground. Airplanes are slowly becoming luxurious, in-air relaxation spots that just happen to get you from point A to point B. When we say that certain airlines are filling the voids we so desperately need to be remedied, we mean they're going all-out. Anything from in-flight showers to full-on bed setups is now a legitimate amenity, and we're prepared to tell you all about it.
Whether you're a casual vacationer or someone who spends a significant amount of time flying, you'll be floored at these up and coming innovations. To balance the scales a bit, we've also included reminders of the worst amenities... Just so you can appreciate these new-age designs even more!
25 Crazy: A Seat That Converts Into A Bed
It's true -- Your naps just reached a whole new level of rewarding. Most people snooze on planes, especially if it's a long one. Therefore, having a seat that reclines fully into a laying-down position is tremendous in the way of comfort. Singapore Airlines offers this crazy amenity, complete with several fluffy pillows and soft sheets for your sleeping pleasure, You'll have the option for a double bed, so if you're traveling with friends or your honey, you'll both have adequate room to get some rest.
24 Crazy: In-Flight Concerts
Southwest Airlines is on top of their game lately when it comes to modernizing and updating air travel. This live concert program is called Live at 35 (as in 35,000 feet in the air) and allows bands to perform in-flight. They've seen the likes of Imagine Dragons as well as Echosmith take the stage and all we can say is "lucky" to the passengers on those flights. This airline wins in-flight entertainment hands down, and they also offer access to events sponsored outside of fights as well.
23 Worst: No Room To Breathe, Even In Coach
Sometimes, the worst part of being on a flight is the lack of personal space. Some airlines are just known for this, even in sections that are intended to be a bit more luxurious, such as coach. Unfortunately, the amenities there might not be much better than in economy seating, leading to an uncomfortable flight regardless. The worst part is feeling like you're sitting on top of your neighbor and knowing there's nowhere to go until the plane has landed... Talk about claustrophobic.
22 Crazy: Shower Suites
The airline responsible for this awesome amenity is Emirates, which allows passengers to reserve shower times throughout the flight. Each user is allotted five minutes of running water which might not sound like much, but it's just enough to freshen up before the plane lands. Additionally, the shower suite is much more spacious than you'd imagine it to be on a plane, giving you a bit of personal space to stretch out. All it takes is a few minutes of steamy running water to make you feel human again and forget that you're over 30,000 feet above the ground.
21 Crazy: A Hello Kitty-Themed Flight
EVA airlines are responsible for collaborations with several people and companies, including the oh-so-loved Hello Kitty. Not only does she span the length of several of their planes with her adorably cute face, but she adorns the entire interior of the plane, too. Passengers will be delighted to find that nearly everything has been outfitted with the Japanese-style cat including blankets, pillows, and even food. If it turns out that you're not a fan of the Kawaii art, well... You could always just sleep the entire time, but we can't guarantee it won't be on a Hello Kitty pillow.
20 Worst: Only Peanuts, Nothing More
By the second hour into the flight, you're ravaged. All you can think about is what you'd had for breakfast four hours prior and at this point, you're likely counting down the minutes until landing. But wait -- You're in luck! The flight attendants begin walking around with a basket that appears to hold snacks... But alas, you're stuck with a package of peanuts that are suited for a hamster. This is one amenity that's sorely lacking although occasionally you will get lucky with some additional crackers.
19 Crazy: Collectibles, In-Flight TV Entertainment, And Even A Writing Kit
It's not every day that you get offered all of these things on a flight, but you'd better believe that it's possible. Some airlines have tossed out their "golden wings" pins that are intended for kids as a reward for flying and replaced them with much cooler collectibles. In addition to this much-needed upgrade, many flights now offer access to thousands of movies and TV shows, all within the click of a button. If you're not keen on watching TV, inquire about a writing kit -- available with Singapore upon request for the most intellectually-minded.
18 Crazy: Meals By A Celebrity Chef
Fiji Airways lays claim to chef Lance Seeto when it comes to their in-flight meals. Their intended purpose is to introduce passengers to a real taste of Fiji before they even land. While flying this airline, you'll be introduced to a range of different flavors depending on which mealtime you'll be eating during on your flight. It's sure to give you serious island vibes and prepare you for your tropical trip ahead. Not to mention, this food is tastefully plated and served with various accompaniments to create a full meal experience.
17 Worst: Free Headphones
We don't blame you for hating this one... With only ten bucks, you can likely find headphones that haven't been repeatedly used and fit your ears far more easily than what you'll receive while flying. Additionally, there's never any guarantee that these headphones will work, or that the headphone jack that you plug them into will work. You'll likely need to turn the volume on your device all the way up if listening to your own music or entertainment source because these headphones are as cheap as they come.
16 Crazy: A Powder Room For Quick Clothing Changes
It's not surprising that Air France offers this unique amenity. Needing to do a quick outfit change while in between flights can be a life-saver for those traveling for business, and this airline has you covered. If it weren't for this powder room, you'd likely be changing in a tight squeeze of a bathroom which can be gross and claustrophobic. With Air France's strategically-designed powder room, you can freshen up and change your clothes, all within the privacy of a room that's intended for just that.
15 Crazy: Personalized In-Seat Phones For Room Service And Chatting
Emirates is changing the seat-to-seat phone call game with their onboard futuristic services. With the press of a button, you can order room service or make a phone call to a neighboring seat. The phone resembles somewhat of the long-lost Nokia you may have had back int he 90s but trust us, it works just fine for in-flight calls. This is great if you happen to be sitting a fair distance from a family member or friend, or just want to get the number of the cute girl two rows up.
14 Worst: Paying An Arm And A Leg For A Movie
Some airlines haven't quite caught up as far as in-flight entertainment goes. While many flights that are over six hours do offer movies, many are still charging insane prices for them. This often is not worth it, because you're stuck paying outrageous fees for a movie that will just keep looping over and over until you shut it off. Additionally, these airlines are likely the same ones that charge extra for WiFi as well as in-flight entertainment such as games and music... Pass.
13 Crazy: Slippers And Fully-Outfitted Amenity Kits
Japan is well-known for its consideration of guests as well as the high standards the country holds for its citizens. A sign of respect is to always remove your shoes before entering a household or establishment, and on Japan Airlines, you're even provided with comfy slippers to do this with. You'll also find that their flight attendants are on standby, waiting with any medicines you might need to remedy your in-flight discomfort. As if that wasn't good enough, you'll also have access to amenity kits that even include an eye mask if you're in the air for a good while.
12 Worst: WiFi Scams
This is just as bad as paying fifteen dollars for one movie in addition to the price you've already paid for the flight. WiFi is often not free on a basic flight and airlines can charge per user or per time. While this might be worth it if you're on a business trip, it's certainly not worth it if you're just traveling for a vacation. Those charges can add up rather quickly and before you know it, you're paying half of what your average internet bill is at home... Yikes.
11 Crazy: Access To DirectTV
JetBlue has earned its reputation for being an affordable and comfortable airline to use when flying out of Long Island in New York. Along with its many respectable amenities is the addition of DirectTV access. Passengers have access to this free service, which includes channels such as Bravo, Food Network, ESPN, Disney Channel, NBC, and VH1. There's something for everyone on this flight and the fact that it's all free just makes it that much more appealing and appreciated. Say goodbye to boring flights!
10 Worst: Non-Reclining Seats
This can definitely be a hassle. It's bad enough having an overnight flight and being exhausted to the point of heavy eyelids, but when your seat doesn't recline, you begin to learn the art of uncomfortable plane seats. If you're stuck in a non-reclining seat, the next best thing you can do is find yourself a neck pillow that can be used while sitting upright. This will prevent the awkward neck tension and locking elbow that you'll get by trying to hold your head up in a tight spot.
9 Crazy: Turkish Luxury
This is offered by none other than Turkish Airlines, who wants passengers to be fully enveloped in everything the country has to offer. You might need to go for the gold and purchase business class seats in order to experience it all, but it's well worth it. Passengers sitting in this section will get an additional Turkish food option as well as access to Turkish coffee, which is quite the treat for both coffee lovers and casual coffee drinkers alike. The cherry on top is the added personal touch of being served on real porcelain dishes rather than on plastic trays.
8 Worst: Small Lavatories
In a pinch, airplane bathrooms are great. However, when you really have the time to study them, they're far from luxurious. You barely have any room to move around let alone finish your business without panicking over a line forming on the other side, all the while dealing with possible turbulence. The layout of certain planes is confusing, to begin with, so on top of nearly peeing your pants, you'll likely also have trouble finding the loo in the first place.
7 Crazy: Designer Amenity Kits With Everything You Need
Singapore Airlines is by far outnumbering every other airline with their insane amenities. In addition to the ones previously listed, fliers of their suites will have access to personalized amenity kits by none other than Salvatore Ferragamo. These include a tiny lotion, lip balm, and perfume/cologne -- Everything that you'll need to freshen up and keep yourself relaxed on a flight that already has everything you could possibly dream of. This is one airline that truly knows how to win the hearts of its passengers and keep them coming back each time.
6 Worst: Flat, Uncomfortable Pillows
A word of advice for frequent fliers: Bring your own pillow. You can get travel pillows for fairly cheap nowadays and trust us, it's completely worth it. The pillows you'll get in economy seating are likely too small for your head and don't provide much -- if any -- support as far as your neck goes. You'll also be searching for a comfortable position that simply doesn't exist, especially if your seat can't recline as previously stated. When it comes down to comfort, bringing your own is always best.
5 Crazy: Chef Daniel Boulud's Meal Plan
Air France takes the cake -- or should we say the entire meal -- on this one. With the help of renowned chef Daniel Boulud, meals served in both La Premiere and business class is been designed and created by none other than the chef himself. Passengers will have access to a wide array of perfected recipes that have been selected for their flight, including delicacies such as lamb and lobster. This is only one amenity that the airline offers, however, as passengers who book first-class seating will have suite-like amenities as well.
4 Worst: Scratchy Blankets
These will go perfectly with the pillows that lose all of their fluff in a matter of seconds. While blankets are a nice comfort on what can sometimes be a chilly flight, they're not always the greatest. Many airlines have them, but not all blankets are created equal. They're designed for use en mass which means they don't always feel as luxurious as the microfiber throw blankets you have at home. Oftentimes, they're a bit scratchy and don't really pack in the warmth, if you can manage to squeeze all of yourself underneath one, that is.
3 Crazy: Personalized PJs For First-Class Flyers
Qantas Airlines is well-known for their first-rate Australian kindness when it comes to those who fly first-class. Economy seating isn't too shabby either and provides enough room to spread out, in-flight entertainment, and all the basics you need for a comfy nap. First-class fliers will also have access to cozy cotton PJs for sleeping, skincare and toiletry kits. Those PJ come in especially handy if you're planning on sleeping much of the time, considering first-class seats can recline into a fully-functioning bed or lounging space.
2 Worst: Outdated In-Flight Reading Material
Asking for a magazine or newspaper on an airline is the equivalent of asking for a DVD at a VHS rental store. What you'll get is something that has been read at least 50 times before you've received it, and it's likely far outdated, with news from six months ago or more. It's easy enough to pack your own book, magazine, or paper into your carry on and if you're really inclined, a Kindle is the perfect form of technology to bring with you on a long flight. It's better to read something you're interested in rather than be distracted by last year's news.
1 Crazy: Room To Breathe And Michelin Star-Rated Food
ANA has revolutionized airplane seating with the introduction of their staggered-seat method. This allows every seat to instantly become an aisle seat, allowing for a spacious layout with the ability to fit even more passengers on one plane. The layout isn't the only thing that's catching people's attention, though -- the menu itself is created by Michelin star rated chef Albert Tse, as well as chef Antonio Cardoso. This is all available with a business class ticket, which is totally worth it to feel completely pampered throughout your flight.
References: www.foodandwine.com, www.hopper.com, onemileatatime.com