7 In-Flight Amenities Worth the Cost

The complimentary in-flight amenities we used to enjoy have mysteriously vanished only to re-emerge with a surcharge. Now that travel is a necessity more than a luxury, we'll take whatever quality of service we can get (right down to being stuck on the tarmac for hours). So, to make your travel experience a more pleasant one, try any combination of these in-flight amenities. Even if they cost a bit, they are worth the added comfort.

1. Priority Boarding

If you're running late for your flight or simply hate standing in long lines, know that some airlines let you purchase priority boarding passes. Buy these pre-flight or at a kiosk while you're checking-in for your flight. The cost is between $10 and $25.

2. Special Meals, Wine, and Spirits

Unless you remember to bring your own food and drinks or have a really short flight, don't give up your personal comfort because you don't want to pay for the onboard food and beverage service. It's not much more expensive than food purchased at any airport or train station.

3. Wi-Fi

In-flight Wi-Fi costs anywhere from $5–$14 per day to $25–$50 for monthly passes. Meanwhile, you can download your own movies or log-in to a subscription service and stream your very own in-flight entertainment (though some Wi-Fi packages include movies). It's a great way to be entertained or catch up on work and e-mails.

4. Headsets

Headsets are a necessity, especially if you're going to be on a long flight. Definitely splurge and pay the extra $2 for a pair. They are yours to keep, so you can hang on to them as a backup pair. It's worth it to drown out the noise of others and relax during your flight.

5. Extra Legroom

Personally, I will not pay for seats with extra legroom. Then again, I'm 5'7". But, if you're tall, or just like extra space, grab yourself an extra legroom seat and stretch out. They are definitely worth the cost on longer flights. And don't be fooled into thinking you can just wait until the flight takes off and switch seats, because that is no longer allowed.

6. In-Flight Entertainment

Some airlines offer in-flight entertainment programed with television stations, popular games, Sirius Satellite radio, and box office movies for around $6 per movie or $16 for a day pass for the full in-flight entertainment package.

7. First Class and Business Class

The in-flight amenities mentioned above are complementary if you're willing to shell out some extra cash and fly first or business class. Additionally, with a premium seat purchase, most airlines throw in added perks, like access to the airport lounge, one complimentary checked bag, and complimentary food and alcoholic beverages.

Which in-flight perks do you indulge in?

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Guest's picture

I think it's clear that these are all about making life a little more luxurious - but saying they are "worth it" is a judgment call on personal values. For me, a lot of these aren't worth it.

Priority boarding for example - especially if I'm running late are not worth it. If I'm late, most likely I'm going to scrape in under the wire at the gate anyways and everyone is already on the plane. And if I'm early, why the hell would I pay so I could sit on the plane while everyone else waits in line?

Personally, I'm the guy that waits at the gate until the last person has gone through and then I board. It helps that I don't carry big carry-ons.

But...I would totally pay for leg room.

Guest's picture

Sorry, but I totally disagree with most of your "worth the cost" amenities. I know what I'm talking about - I work as a purser for one of the big U.S. airlines. With the possible exceptions of item 5 (more legroom) and item 7 (first and business class), the rest of those thing are definitely NOT worth the money.

1. Priority Boarding. Why would you pay for this? You already have an assigned seat and it won't get you there any faster by boarding early. A big waste of money.

2. Onboard food. Food is MUCH more expensive to buy on the plane. It would be cheaper (and taste better) to buy something to bring with you - even if you buy it at the airport. Note: you cannot bring your own alcaholic beverages, so if you must drink, you'll have to pay for it. My airline charges about $9 for a mini - the same one you can buy for $0.17 at the liquor store!

3. Wi-fi. Might be worth it if you absolutely have to get some work done and sent while travelling. Otherwise, why not just relax and read a book or watch the free onboard movie?

4. Headsets. These are free on the airline I work for, but when they're not, you'd be much better off buying a slightly better set before you get on the airplane. The free or $2 sets are pretty much junk.

5. Extra leg room. This might be worth it if you are tall. You'd only get about 2 to 3 more inches, so think before you buy. The extra space is not very much.

6. Entertainment. Why pay? Download something to your device before you travel and watch it for free. That's a much better deal.

7. Business and First Class. This might be worth it if you are travelling 5 hours or more and want to get some rest. It is expensive, though, so be prepared!

Have a good (and cheap) flight!