Airlines have earned travelers’ ire by charging for things once included in the fare, but some innovations are bringing welcome new perks to flying.

By Jennifer Coogan
October 04, 2012
Credit: © Moodboard / Corbis

• American Airlines launched a bag-delivery service in August. For $29.95 (in addition to the $25 checked-bag fee), passengers can have their luggage dropped off anywhere in a 40-mile radius of the airport within four hours of landing.

• Southwest began equipping a handful of planes with seven channels of live television (including CNBC and the NFL Network) and is testing a $3 to $8 charge for the service.

• Never worry about sharing an armrest on Spanish airline Vueling. For $88 each way on international flights, passengers will be guaranteed a vacant seat beside them, along with preferential boarding and free refreshments.

• Australia’s Qantas sells a permanent luggage tag ($52 or 7,000 frequent-flier points) that synchronizes passengers’ boarding-pass information with their baggage, making it faster to check in and harder to lose.

• Korean Air introduced a clever service for winter travelers bound for tropical destinations: free coat storage for five days and $2.25 per day thereafter.

• Hawaiian Airlines offers a complimentary meal and cocktail to coach passengers, but those who really want a jump start on their vacation can buy authentic Hawaiian foods such as Spam musubi ($3) or ramen noodles ($3.50), or even a fresh flower lei ($7), at the Pau Hana snack bar in the galley.