June ushers in the busiest season of air travel, which typically means snaking security lines, thunderstorm delays and cabins packed to the gills with vacationing families. But take heart fliers, we dug up some bright spots that can make sitting in coach more bearable on long-haul flights.
Snacks on demand
When your blood sugar is plummeting or you're craving that cup of joe that eluded you in the rush to get to the airport, the food and beverage cart can take an eternity to make its way down the aisle to your seat. Enter Red, Virgin America's entertainment system. Passengers enter their choice from a menu of cold snacks and drinks on their personal screen, swipe their credit card, and hello artisan cheese box!
"Ordering food from your seat is incredible," says Bob Albert, founder and CEO of new flight rating and review site Routehappy.com. "You feel totally empowered."
Traveling with children on long flights can be an ordeal at best. Luckily, more and more international carriers are offering kid-friendly perks designed to keep tots -- and those seated around them -- content. British Airways has a "Feed Families First" policy, which can do wonders to keep peace in the cabin.
Lufthansa provides baby food and special menus for children developed by German Chef Stefan Marquard, with appetizing and nutritious meals like fish fingers with potato and cabbage puree, as well as games, puzzles and coloring books that feature the antics of airline crane mascot Lu. But nothing can top the specially trained sky nannies aboard Bahrain carrier Gulf Air, who make sure kids are fed and occupied so mom and dad are free to enjoy the flight.
A civilized way to fly
Forget the VIP pass, Canadian airline Porter invites all passengers to enjoy its lounges in Toronto and Ottawa, where free cookies, Starbucks coffee, Tazo tea, Wi-Fi and newspapers await. Onboard, Canadian craft brews and wine are served gratis, in real glasses. Bonus: no middle seats. JetBlue also deserves kudos for its roomier leather seats, snooze kits on red-eye flights and Dunkin' Donuts coffee.
Saving knees everyday