Category Archives: Airlines

5 Travel Hacks You Didn’t Know About, Right From The Mouth Of Flight Attendants

From getting to the airport on time, to making sure you don’t have liquids over two ounces, to the great unknown of who will be sitting next to you on the plane, flying is not always the most luxurious experience (unless, of course, you’re flying in a private jet or first class). But you may not even have to upgrade in order to get a more comfortable experience, according to theseflight attendants of Reddit who’ve revealed secret perks most passengers don’t know about. Now I almost wish I had a flight scheduled sometime in the near future, so I could try one or all of these out. Almost, but not quite.The dreaded destination why foreign flight attendants dislike travelling to and from India

Probably the most shocking travel hack I ever learned is that you are allowed to carry mini bottles of liquor onto a plane (as long as you’re of the legal drinking age, obviously). I may never put it to use because getting drunk on a plane sounds like you’re just asking for the worst hangover ever, but it’s still good to know. Another semi-useful liquid-related travel hack: you may be able to bring frozen liquid in your carry on, apparently, as long as it’s literally frozen solid. Not sure I would want all that ice melting all over my stuff at the gate, but if anybody can confirm this actually works, I would love to know.

Here are my 5 favorite travel hacks from the Reddit thread, which you can read in its entirety here.

1. One way to beat the competitor’s prices

Okay, so this one isn’t from a flight attendant per se, but I still find it funny even though I’m not sure I would recommend it — pissing off the crew probably isn’t the best way to start out your journey. But, I mean, do they really expect us to pretend like we never fly any other airlines?

2. Some in-flight fanciness

I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT AIRLINE THIS IS. What fancy-pants airline has the capability to steam milk, let alone carry actual milk? Whichever one you are, I will hunt you down, I will find you, and I will drink your gourmet coffee.

3. In case you need wiggle room

Okay, this is game-changing right here. It’s just a hassle to move my soda, perch it precariously on my seat, stash my book somewhere, and put up my tray table every time I have to go to the bathroom. Why did nobody tell me until now that there was an easier way?!4. Seriously, everybody should do this

Can confirm, I gate check all the time — that way I don’t have to struggle with lifting my heavy bag into the overhead bin. I also don’t have to worry I’ll forget my stuff on the plane. It’s a win-win. Seriously, I don’t understand why more people don’t volunteer to do this.

5. Not a hack but definitely something we should all do anyway

Truth be told, there probably aren’t many “magic secrets” to flying (and I assume one of the reasons this thread was rife with more Mile High Club jokes than actual tips), because the flight attendants’ job is to get you from point A to point B safely, not to give you a bunch of free stuff.

10 Pro Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

10 Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

Don’t forget these travel tips as your pack for your next business trip.

For those of us who travel for work, we’ve come to expect that certain things are bound to go wrong from flight delays to long airport security lines and luggage mishaps.

To prepare for this article, I spoke to several expert travelers who clock in at least 25,000 miles or more each year for tips and tricks to make your trip more enjoyable.

On my last flight, I asked my flight attendants who didn’t want to be named if they had any tips.

Let’s just say, they had lots of suggestions for fliers including:

1. Have all your travel items in hand.

Make sure you have all of your items like your headphone and magazines in hand so you aren’t holding up the boarding process.

2. Don’t check your luggage.

Flight attendants also recommend not paying to check a carry-on, but instead to wait until you can check it at the gate. This way, you know your luggage will make it to your final destination.

3. Something will always go wrong.

Flight attendants also said that many people need to prepare for something to go wrong because it almost always does.

4. Give yourself time.

Fliers are more in control than they think, like leaving themselves at least an hour and a half to get to the next gate if you are taking a connecting flight.

5. Goodies for the flight attendants.

“Bring something for the flight attendants–chocolate, a snack, anything small and nice, just to say thank you,” said Lowell M. Aplebaum, Executive Consultant in Silver Spring, Maryland.

6. Don’t miss your connections.

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency in Reston, VA said, “Many of us road warriors don’t talk to seat-mates. We haul out our laptop, book, work, or noise reduction headphones. I say, “Keep your antenna up for a warm smile.”

“If your instincts tell you this is an intriguing person, ask a simple question like, “Heading home or on business?” Their response (both the content and tone) will let you know if this is a conversation worth continuing.”

“I’ve met astronauts, inventors and fascinating individuals as a result of reaching out when the vibes are right,” she added.

7. App to relax.

The Brainwave app by Banzai for noise reduction, stress relief and better sleep on planes is something Brian Carter, CEO of the Brian Carter Group in Charleston, SC, swears by.

He also recommends, “not to unpack at the hotel, until you’ve checked out everything in the room.”

8. Join the club.

One piece of advice by frequent fliers is to invest the money for the club lounge membership. The bonus is it is also a tax deduction.

“Keep the phone numbers of any “loyalty desks” programmed in your contacts,” Lawrence Leonard, Executive Director of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

“If seriously delayed or canceled, call the desk immediately, don’t go stand in line,” he said.

Other advice that I heard was to use the same hotel chain to build up loyalty points, Marriott and Hilton and W Hotels seem to be among the favorites.The same goes for picking one airline to accumulate miles and rewards.

Luggage favorites include brands like TravelPro and Tumi and travelers recommend getting bright colored luggage that won’t get lost in the sea of black suitcases.

9. Pre-Check yourself.

Getting Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check was the number one tip to get through security the fastest.

The time to get to the airport seems to be a topic of great debate with some saying they always catch the first flight to avoid delays.

Garrison Wynn of Wynn Solutions in Houston, TX, says, “I travel many more than 30,000 miles per year and catching flights after 3:00 pm makes a huge difference. The airport literally has half the people in it then it does at 9am.

Fewer delays, airport employees in better moods and more willing to help, weather is more likely to clear up and you have a better shot at upgrades,” he said.

‎Carla Balakgie the Chief Executive Officer of the National Automatic Merchandising Association said, “If you are going on an international flight buy what you need at your destination, instead of taking everything with you.”

10. Roll with It.

“Roll everything.” And, she encourages female executives to “bring solid color clothes and pack a few scarves – they are interchangeable and can make your outfit look more polished,” she added.

For international travelers, do the research and understand how to communicate and persuade effectively across different cultures. The Hofstede Model is a tool many entrepreneurs use to keep abreast of cultural expectations.

10 Pro Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

10 Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

Don’t forget these travel tips as your pack for your next business trip.

For those of us who travel for work, we’ve come to expect that certain things are bound to go wrong from flight delays to long airport security lines and luggage mishaps.

To prepare for this article, I spoke to several expert travelers who clock in at least 25,000 miles or more each year for tips and tricks to make your trip more enjoyable.

On my last flight, I asked my flight attendants who didn’t want to be named if they had any tips.

Let’s just say, they had lots of suggestions for fliers including:

1. Have all your travel items in hand.

Make sure you have all of your items like your headphone and magazines in hand so you aren’t holding up the boarding process.

2. Don’t check your luggage.

Flight attendants also recommend not paying to check a carry-on, but instead to wait until you can check it at the gate. This way, you know your luggage will make it to your final destination.

3. Something will always go wrong.

Flight attendants also said that many people need to prepare for something to go wrong because it almost always does.

4. Give yourself time.

Fliers are more in control than they think, like leaving themselves at least an hour and a half to get to the next gate if you are taking a connecting flight.

5. Goodies for the flight attendants.

“Bring something for the flight attendants–chocolate, a snack, anything small and nice, just to say thank you,” said Lowell M. Aplebaum, Executive Consultant in Silver Spring, Maryland.

6. Don’t miss your connections.

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency in Reston, VA said, “Many of us road warriors don’t talk to seat-mates. We haul out our laptop, book, work, or noise reduction headphones. I say, “Keep your antenna up for a warm smile.”

“If your instincts tell you this is an intriguing person, ask a simple question like, “Heading home or on business?” Their response (both the content and tone) will let you know if this is a conversation worth continuing.”

“I’ve met astronauts, inventors and fascinating individuals as a result of reaching out when the vibes are right,” she added.

7. App to relax.

The Brainwave app by Banzai for noise reduction, stress relief and better sleep on planes is something Brian Carter, CEO of the Brian Carter Group in Charleston, SC, swears by.

He also recommends, “not to unpack at the hotel, until you’ve checked out everything in the room.”

8. Join the club.

One piece of advice by frequent fliers is to invest the money for the club lounge membership. The bonus is it is also a tax deduction.

“Keep the phone numbers of any “loyalty desks” programmed in your contacts,” Lawrence Leonard, Executive Director of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

“If seriously delayed or canceled, call the desk immediately, don’t go stand in line,” he said.

Other advice that I heard was to use the same hotel chain to build up loyalty points, Marriott and Hilton and W Hotels seem to be among the favorites.The same goes for picking one airline to accumulate miles and rewards.

Luggage favorites include brands like TravelPro and Tumi and travelers recommend getting bright colored luggage that won’t get lost in the sea of black suitcases.

9. Pre-Check yourself.

Getting Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check was the number one tip to get through security the fastest.

The time to get to the airport seems to be a topic of great debate with some saying they always catch the first flight to avoid delays.

Garrison Wynn of Wynn Solutions in Houston, TX, says, “I travel many more than 30,000 miles per year and catching flights after 3:00 pm makes a huge difference. The airport literally has half the people in it then it does at 9am.

Fewer delays, airport employees in better moods and more willing to help, weather is more likely to clear up and you have a better shot at upgrades,” he said.

‎Carla Balakgie the Chief Executive Officer of the National Automatic Merchandising Association said, “If you are going on an international flight buy what you need at your destination, instead of taking everything with you.”

10. Roll with It.

“Roll everything.” And, she encourages female executives to “bring solid color clothes and pack a few scarves – they are interchangeable and can make your outfit look more polished,” she added.

For international travelers, do the research and understand how to communicate and persuade effectively across different cultures. The Hofstede Model is a tool many entrepreneurs use to keep abreast of cultural expectations.

Think Your Job Is Depressing? Try Being an Airline Pilot

the-most-heroic-airline-pilots-of-all-timeBeing a pilot for a commercial airline has its perks—travel to exotic places, a cool uniform and those breathtaking views of the sky. But that job can come with a side of something much more sobering: depression. As Melissa Healy reports for The Los Angeles Times, the mental health of airline pilots is coming into sharp focus with the revelation that nearly 13 percent of them could be depressed.

new study of the mental health of commercial airline pilots, recently published in the Journal of Environmental Health, suggests that depression is a major problem for pilots. The first to document mental health for this particular field, the study relied on a 2015 web survey of international pilots that contained a range of questions about their condition over the prior two weeks. Questions included whether they felt like failures, had trouble falling or staying asleep, or felt they were better off dead. (Those questions are part of a depression screening tool called the PHQ-9.) Other questions involved pilots’ flight habits, their use of sleep aids and alcohol, and whether they have been sexually or verbally harassed on the job.

Of the 1,848 pilots who responded to the depression screening portions of the questionnaire, 12.6 percent met the threshold for depression. In addition, 4.1 percent of those respondents reported having suicidal thoughts at some point during the two weeks before taking the survey. The researchers found that pilots who were depressed were also more likely to take sleep aids and report verbal or sexual harassment.

Airline pilot organizations and occupational safety experts assure Healy that airline travel is still safe. But the study continues a conversation about pilot psychology that has been in full swing since a German pilot committed suicide by crashing his plane in 2015—an incident that inspired the current study.

Since then, calls for better statistics on pilot suicide have grown louder. As Carl Bialik notes for FiveThirtyEight, those statistics do exist—and do suggest that the number of actual suicides among pilots are very small. However, limitations in data, the possibility of underreporting, and infrequent data collection all challenge a complete understanding of that facet of pilots’ mental health.

This latest mental health study has its own limitations, including the fact that it relies on self-reporting and a relatively sample size compared to total pilot numbers worldwide (in the U.S. alone, there are over 70,000 commercial airline pilots). The cause of the reported depression also remains unclear.

But if the depression rate for commercial airline pilots really is nearly 13 percent, it’s almost double the national rate of about seven percent. Though future work is necessary to confirm these results, this study provides an initial glimpse into the health of the people who make the nation’s airlines tick and emphasizes the importance of figuring out ways to improve their mental health and quality of life.

The 7 most-expensive airport mistakes and how to make sure you’re never caught out

Get something wrong and you could be on the hook for a bill of hundreds of pounds – so we’ve come up with a list of the seven most common, and easiest to make, airport mistakes

The 11 Craziest Elite Airline Perks

Entrance to the cushy lounge, upgrades to business class, priority boarding — those are airline perks for chumps. The real elites — especially those who fly a million miles or more, or generate more revenue for airlines than any other passengers — are collecting perks that the proletariat only dream of.

Here are some of the most mind-boggling perks enjoyed by the high flyers.The 11 Craziest Elite Airline Perks

1. Go by Private Jet

Delta made news when it announced that select frequent flyers could pay a small fee ($300 to $800) to upgrade from a commercial flight to one of the company’s executive jets, which hold a few dozen passengers max. These lucky customers get an email from the airline when the option to upgrade is available.

2. Make Your Connection in a Porsche

Have a tight connection? Members of United’s ultra-elite Global Services program can get transferred across the tarmac via Mercedes, and members of Delta’s invite-only Delta 360 program can get picked up in a Porsche, right at their plane. These services are only available at certain airports.

3. Have a Car Waiting for You

Why should the airline only transport you from airport to airport? Emirates provides a chauffeured Range Rover to pick up members of its Invitation Only elite club at home and drop them off at their final destination after the flight.

4. Have a Jumbo Jet Wait for You

British Airways may delay flights up to 30 minutes to accommodate their high-value passengers, according to the website LoungeBuddy.

5. Get Downton-Abbey-Level Personal Attention

Wouldn’t it be grand if you arrived at the airport to find Downton Abbey butler Carson waiting to take your bags, whisk you through security, and settle you in the lounge, where another staffer waits with your favorite cocktail? What if you need someone to run an errand for you?

Members of invite-only programs get this kind of butlering from airline staff all the time. A staff member might meet you curbside with boarding pass in hand and take you right to the front of the TSA line. You might also get to check-in at a separate check-in area from the plebes. According to the Wall Street Journal, running out to the mall to replace a stained shirt is just one way that United Airlines staff have pampered their most elite flyers.

6. Hang Out in a Secret Luxury Lounge

Qantas Chairman’s Lounge members aren’t just people who fly a lot — they’re influencers personally selected by the airline’s chairman. Once you’re in the club, you can stroll up to frosted glass doors usually marked “PRIVATE” and enjoy an all-day self-serve bar and gourmet food served up at any time. Chairman’s Lounge members can also use those ordinary first class Qantas lounges anytime they want, event if they’re not flying that day.

7. Get Guaranteed Seating — Event When the Flight Is Sold Out

This perk is more at the rumor level, but they say that if you are a super-elite flyer and your flight is canceled or delayed, the airline will boot a less-valued passenger off a fully-booked flight to make room for you. More widely confirmed is the fact that airlines have dedicated staff tracking elites’ itineraries, and will automatically rebook them as soon as a delay or cancellation occurs.

8. Take a Shower

In normal life, most of us don’t consider showering a privilege. But at 40,000 feet? Only people willing to pay thousands of dollars per flight or elites who snag upgrades get to suds up. On Emirates A380s, the first class Shower Spa is decked in walnut and marble, has heated floors, and, according to the blog One Mile at a Time, is stocked with “enough amenities to start a toiletry resale business.” But for obvious reasons, even an elite flyer can’t take a long shower in the air — first class passengers are limited to five minutes of water.

After you’ve showered and shaved — using the complimentary Bulgari shower kit — you’ll be ready to rub shoulders with other elites over a cocktail at the bar of the Emirates first and business class lounge.

9. Stretch Out

Airlines’ luxury first class suites like the ones on Singapore Airlines, where your seat converts to a bed and you have total privacy, have gotten a lot of “ooh”s and “ah”s online. One Mile at a Time explains that you don’t have to spend $23,000 to fly in one of these suites; they’re actually pretty attainable for frequent flyers with points to spend.

10. Take Home a Luxury Amenity Bag

When my brother was in high school, he and his best friend were almost bumped off an American Airlines flight while on their way to visit me in Paris. Somehow my mother persuaded the airline to bump them to business class instead, and the boys were delighted not just by being served wine onboard, but by the little vinyl pouches containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, and combs.

As nice as those pouches were, they’re nothing compared to the Bulgari pouches and leather dopp kits that Emirates gives business class travelers, stuffed with Bulgari-designed lotion and even a pair of PJs. First class female passengers also receive Bulgari perfume in their kits. While these bags aren’t reserved for elite frequent flyers, such flyers are a lot more likely to end up in the cabins that get them, because of their upgrade privileges.

11. Drink $1,000 Worth of Champagne

Frequent flyer “macabus” on the FlyerTalk community describes consuming eight bottles of Dom Perignon on a first class journey from Los Angeles to Bangkok, which he estimated was worth more than a grand. You don’t have to be an elite flyer to down a lot of champagne in first class, but since the flight attendants know who the elites are, they’re more likely to keep your glass full without you having to so much as look up. One Mile at a Time blogger Ben Schlappig even found a bottle of Dom on ice waiting for him in the shower on one flight.

Have you ever experienced first class service or perks while flying? What’d you get?

The dreaded destination: why foreign flight attendants dislike travelling to and from India


Indians have a really bad reputation when it comes to air travel.

So much so that when an Emirates flight from the southern state of Kerala made a hard landing in Dubai last month, an ex-flight attendant had no qualms referring to the panicked passengers as “fucking rats” and an “untameable bunch” as videos emerged of them rushing to grab their belongings in the midst of the emergency.

The post was slammed for its racist and insensitive undertones. But for frequent flyers from India, disgruntled or even disgusted flight attendants are nothing new. What’s behind the negative attitude? Quora has the answers.

Not used to the jet-set life

Many Indian passengers who take flights, notably to the Middle East, are first-time travellers from socio-economic classes that have little exposure to the jet-set life.

As Quora user Maazin Buhari puts it,

“A lot of the time, (on flights to the Middle East especially), the passengers on board these flights will be migrant workers who are travelling to earn a livelihood in the city they are flying to. Often they are of a lower socio-economic background, will be carrying all or a significant amount of their possessions with them, and are not used to frequent air travel.”

That explains the rush to grab belongings as soon as the flight lands, despite instructions to stay seated until the seatbelt sign is switched off.

Often, these passengers aren’t used to the in-flight behavioral norms that are mostly western. Quora user Sri Ka notes:The dreaded destination why foreign flight attendants dislike travelling to and from India

“For example, practically no Indian uses cutlery at home—they eat with their fingers—but the flights are not suitable for such a lifestyle as they are not designed with sufficient hand-wash facilities so one is forced awkwardly to eat with cutlery, that too the plastic ones. It is quite difficult. Similarly, the toilets in the flights are nowhere near like the toilets in Indian homes and many Indians, particularly first-timers, do not even know how to use paper instead of water. When people are forced to do something unnatural for them, they are likely to fumble and make a mess.”

But it’s also about civic sense

The first-timers can and should be forgiven but even among regular travellers, inconsiderate behaviour is common.

Supreeth Shankarghal, who describes himself as a frequent flier and aviation enthusiast, lists some of the worst offenses Indians are known for:

  • Being adamant about placing their overweight hand baggage in the overhead bin of only their preference.
  • Stealing cutlery.
  • Stealing headphones and blankets.
  • Not switching off the phone during take-offs or landings despite warnings.
  • Taking selfies and pictures inside the flight when asked not to do so.
  • Not making way or getting up from the seat for fellow passengers.
  • Reclining the seat even during take-offs and landings.
  • Not speaking proper English.
  • Ogling at air hostesses and other female passengers.
  • Moving up and down the aircraft many times.
  • Requesting for unnecessary seat changes.
  • Getting up and going to the toilet when seatbelt sign is on.
  • Removing seat-belts and getting up to remove overhead baggage when the aircraft is still taxiing.
  • Over-abuse of free alcohol served on board.


While it is a bit unfair to refer to poor English skills as inconsiderate behaviour, the consumption of a copious amount of alcohol does seem to be a big problem. For some passengers, the chance to gulp down one whisky after another during international flights proves irresistible and untoward incidents ensue.

Entitled passengers are the worst

But despite all of the above, it’s the rude and entitled regular travellers that pose the biggest problem with their assumption that the cabin crew exists to serve them and them alone.

Flight attendant and Quora user Buzzlair Voufincci noted that some travellers are quick to claim a higher status on every flight.

“They would explicitly say to the flight attendant, ‘I am a doctor’ to get treatment above all the others on board,” he wrote, adding that some even said things like “I know your CEO personally” or even “I pay for the seat, and the compartment above me, it’s my space.”

For Voufincci, it’s India’s “huge income gap” that leads to this “inflated ego.”

7 air travel mistakes that could be costing you hundreds of dollars

Catching a flight is typically the fastest, easiest way to travel, but costs can add up fast. The 2016 average domestic round-trip plane ticket in the US was $349, but this doesn’t include extras like baggage fees and non-complimentary in-flight entertainment.

Chances are, you’re making at least a few travel mistakes that are hitting your wallet hard. Some extra fees might not seem like a huge deal at the time, but they add up fast when they’re multiplied over several trips or across a family of four.

It takes some savvy thinking, but air travel doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of ways to get to your destination safe and sound without spending more than necessary. Jet out of town at the lowest possible price by keeping these travel mistakes to avoid on your radar.

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1. Failing to consider alternate airports

Many mid-sized cities have only one airport, leaving you no choice as to which one you’ll fly in or out of. Many major metropolises have multiple airports, however, so be sure to check rates at each before booking your flight.

The amount you can save depends largely on your point of origin. Jet Blue flies into both Los Angeles International (LAX) and Long Beach, but opting to land at the latter can save you up to $50 to $100 per ticket, according to Travelzoo.

A few major metropolitan areas with multiple airports include Chicago, New York and the Bay Area. Keep the lesser-traveled airports on your radar, and remember that some carriers only fly into certain airports. For example, Southwest only flies into Chicago’s Midway.

Of course, it’s also wise to make sure transportation to your destination from the alternate airport doesn’t override your savings. Stretch your dollar as far as it can go by calculating the total cost of your trip before booking.

Travel Prep: 10 Financial To-Dos Before Going on a Trip

2. Focusing only on nonstop flights

Searching exclusively for nonstop flights is one of the most common travel mistakes many people make. They’re obviously quicker and easier, but working a layover into your journey can reduce the cost of your ticket if you have the time to spare, putting more money in your pocket that you can spend at your destination.

In fact, passing on nonstop flights can sometimes save you $100 to $200, according to Travelzoo. If you’re traveling as a family of four, this means savings of $400 to $800 — enough funds for an extra day or two of vacation.

If you’re worried about your luggage getting lost on a connecting flight, don’t stress. Only 2.16 instances of mishandled bags per 1,000 travelers were reported in February 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and this is down from the 2.64 instances per 1,000 travelers reported in February 2016.

Think of a layover as an adventure. Sometimes you’ll have your choice of stops for the same price, so choose a city you’ve never traveled to. It’s true that you won’t be leaving the airport, but at least you’ll be able to say you’ve passed through.

3. Not being flexible with your travel dates

The cost of your plane ticket also depends on the day of the week you fly, FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney told the New York Times. He said you can save 10 percent to 40 percent per ticket by flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. Traffic is heavier on Monday, Friday and Sunday — Thursday is neutral — and airlines offer cheaper rates to fly on days of the week with lower traffic.

Say you’re traveling round-trip from Los Angeles to New York in July 2017. A recent search showed fares can run as low as $222 from LAX to LaGuardia on Tuesday, July 18, as well as for a return trip on Wednesday, July 26, totaling $443.55. Flying the same exact route on the same airline but changing up the days just a little differently makes a major price difference. The cheapest ticket from LAX to LaGuardia on Monday, July 17 is $297, and it’s another $297 to fly back on Friday, July 21, totaling $593.96. In this example, you could save $150 just by being flexible with your travel dates.

Read: The Best Time to Book Your Travel Plans

4. Packing more than you need

4. Packing more than you need

Reuters/Joshua Lott

It really does pay to pack light, unless you’re flying Southwest where each passenger gets two free checked bags. Although it might sound a bit crazy, other major airlines charge you to check your luggage.

US-based carriers collected more than $4.1 billion in baggage fees in 2016, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (last updated in May). American Airlines collected the most in baggage fees at more than $1.1 billion in revenue, followed by Delta with more than $800 million and United at more than $690 million.

American Airlines, Delta, and United all charge $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second for domestic travel. If you fly with one of these airlines and bring two suitcases with you on your vacation, you’ll pay $120 round-trip just for your bags to fly. If you have a family of four and everyone checks two bags, you’ll pay $480 just to transport your luggage.

It’s best to pack everything you need into a single carry-on bag when possible. With the exception of some airlines, others allow passengers to bring two personal items aboard for free. You might have to do laundry at your destination, but that’s a whole lot cheaper than paying to check extra bags.

5. Purchasing airplane food

Showing up for a flight hungry used to be perfectly acceptable because your ticket came with a free meal, but not so much these days. Even snacks aren’t free on some airlines anymore, making this one of the easiest travel mistakes to avoid.

Bringing your own food on board ensures that you’ll pay a fair price for something that actually tastes good. This requires some extra planning, but one glimpse at an airplane menu will probably be all it takes for food to land a permanent spot on your packing list.

For examples, you can get a $5.99 order of Chobani Greek yogurt and fresh fruit or an $11.99 cheeseburger on select United flights. You can buy an entire loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly for less than $6 and pack a lunch. Satisfy your hunger without paying a sky-high markup by making a quick trip to Wal-Mart before your trip.

6. Passing up frequent flyer miles for kids

One of the biggest travel mistakes parents make is not creating a frequent flyer account for their children. Some carriers, like Delta, may require you to fill out a special form to create an account for your kids. JetBlue even offers a Family Pooling account where up to two adults and five children can share points.

Creating frequent flyer accounts for your kids and keeping track of the numbers can be a hassle — especially if you’re not loyal to one airline — but it’s worth the savings.

The number of points you’ll accrue will obviously depend on how much you travel, but at $349 for the average domestic round-trip ticket in the US as of 2016, that’s approximately $700 you wouldn’t have to spend if your two kids earn enough points for a free flight.

7. Paying for in-flight entertainment

Air travel can get a bit dull unless you have a way to pass the time. Some airlines offer complimentary in-flight entertainment, but prepare to swipe your credit card on others.

All in-flight entertainment is complimentary on American Airlines (although available options vary from flight and plane type). But if you’re flying United Economy, DirecTV + Hit Movies can be purchased for $5.99 on flights of less than two hours and for $7.99 on flights lasting more than two hours. The airline offers free streaming to personal devices on select flights, but this isn’t offered on planes with DirecTV.

Thinking ahead can help you save big. Google Play offers some free movies and television shows, so download them to your device before leaving home. If you have a Kindle, use it to check books out of your local library for free and spend your flight relaxing with a great read.

Even grabbing a magazine from the airport terminal can be cheaper than purchasing in-flight entertainment. It may only save you a dollar or two, but that still adds up across several family members or multiple trips.

Singapore’s All-New Suites, Business, Premium Economy and Coach Reveal November 2

Singapore Airlines will take delivery of a new Airbus A380 later this year with its new first class product.

That was expected to happen in October, but it’s been delayed. However they’re going to reveal all new products for their four cabins on November 2 in a media event in Singapore.

Most of the discussion has centered around their new Suites but as Australian Business Travellerpoints out we’re going to see new designs for business class, premium economy, and even coach.

The new business class will be featured on the A350 ultra long range aircraft which when delivered will allow Singapore Airlines to fly non-stop to Los Angeles, New York, and even a potential third destination (they already fly non-stop to San Francisco, and offer connecting flights to Los Angeles, New York, and Houston).

New First Class Suites

Even the current Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 ‘Suites’ product — now ten years old — is one of the very best first class products in the sky, although trailing Etihad’s Airbus A380 First ‘Apartment’.

For context, one of the better world first class offerings comes from Emirates. They offer four suites with doors across the upper deck of the Airbus A380.

Singapore has much better actual seats today than Emirates does. Not only is it a classier design, less bling, but they currently put their four suites across on the lower deck of the A380. The lower deck is wider, meaning each suite offers more room.

Singapore’s new Suites will be on the upper deck of the A380 (the entire Upper Deck will be for premium seating first Suites class at the front of the cabin, and business class behind it). That’s narrower, but they accomplish something even more impressive by having fewer suites which won’t be four-across. In fact Singapore briefly put the seat map for the new Airbus A380s on a test website back in April.

Suites class appears to be just six seats, three rows of two across. That’s not a lot of first class seating, matching what Cathay Pacific has on its Boeing 777s. But the seat map shows the suites matching Etihad at two across.

Singapore will not offer showers like Emirates and Etihad have. We don’t know the seat design yet. But we know Singapore is upping the ante on what’s already one of the world’s very best first class offers.

Of course Singapore goes beyond just an impressive seat, with fantastic service and in my opinion unrivaled main meal service. (I still believe they could do with some improvement in inflight snacks, ground service, and lounge design in Singapore.)

However two seats across, one at each window with an aisle between them, might mean losing the ability to that center seats currently offer to become a ‘double bed’.

Although Etihad still manages to accomplish a double bed concept with one-by-one seating so we’ll have to wait for November 2’s event or leaked cabin photos to know whether this feature is lost in the new Singapore Airlines configuration.

Singapore Business Class

I find Singapore Airlines to offer one of the best business class products. There are two general knocks on it, though.

  • One is that it isn’t super comfortable for lounging because instead of transitioning to a bed (and thus offering myriad options in between upright and bed mode) it flips over to become a bed. The tradeoff of course is a very good bed.
  • The other issue is that to lie fully flat you angle yourself in the seat. I don’t mind this at all, but many do not prefer it.

Singapore’s new business class has been described as ‘more of an evolution’ on their current product than something entirely new.

Premium Economy

Singapore’s premium economy is one of the real hidden gems in travel — not only because it’s an upgrade from coach (with pre-order meal options and champagne) but because it’s an easy upgrade to business and a great value to do so with miles.

I’ve only sat in the premium economy seat on Singapore’s A350. I do like the soft product, but I find the current seat to be narrow. It’s a couple of inches tighter than the American Airlines premium economy seat.

I have to imagine that will remain the case if the newer design for premium economy is going to be used on the Airbus A350, though it would be nice if the wider fuselage of the A380 meant a wider premium economy seat rather than more premium economy seats.

Economy Class

In some sense where Singapore shines the most is in the main cabin. Singapore offers top notch premium cabins but their thoughtfulness and attention to detail really shines in coach and may even be unmatched.

Instead of seeing the back of the plane as just a place to cram in seats, they clearly realize that’s where most of their customers are.

Economy seats already have foot bars, something that’s reserved for the majority of premium economy seats on most airlines. They have cup holders. Each seat gets a pillow and blanket for long haul – and they’re substantive. There are little touches that make the experience feel more civilized.

I’m not actually excited to fly Singapore Airlines economy, from the U.S. these are some super long flights. But I’m definitely excited to see what they’re doing with a refreshed seat, because it’s already quite good as far as economy goes.

Singapore Will Retrofit Their Existing A380 Fleet Too

Singapore expects to take a total of 5 new A380 aircraft into the fleet between October and May. Those will replace 5 that are leaving the fleet.

What’s news is formal confirmation from Singapore that they’ll also plan to retrofit the remaining 14 A380s already in the fleet.

It’s expected that the first service will be to and from Sydney, as the inaugural A380 was a decade ago. I have to imagine that they’ll eventually put the new product on London as well, and they have a new competitive reason for doing so with Qantas re-starting Singapore – London.

Shh! 5 Apps Airlines Don’t Want You to Know About

Shh! 5 Apps Airlines Don’t Want You to Know AboutHere’s five neat little apps that will help you score the cheapest plane tickets possible so that you can book your trip and not drain your bank account.

Skyscanner

1. Skyscanner: We don’t know how they do it, but Skyscanner consistently scours the Internet and churns up some of the best prices for flights we’ve seen. What’s great is you can even make it so that results only reflect providers with mobile-optimized reservation sites so that you’re not trying to book your ticket on a wonky third-party site.

DL It: Free on iOS and Android

Skiplagged

2. Skiplagged: Though they’re currently embroiled in a lawsuit with United (no worries, their apps still work and are free to use!), Skiplagged’s claim to fame is using hidden-city ticketing to help you book flights that can be up to 80% cheaper than regular sites! Whether you want to take advantage of that airline loophole or not, Skiplagged consistently finds you the the cheapest flights in the traditional sense also.

DL It: Free on iOS and Android

729Airlines

3. 729 Airlines: One of our favorite things about the 729 Airlines app is just how good-looking the interface is. We like how simple and easy to use it is and how it pretty plainly lays out all the available flights for your travel dates. The nifty little plane flying to your destination as it’s searching for fares is pretty cool too. Unfortunately, it’s only available for the iPhone at the moment. Sorry, Android users. 🙁

DL It: Free on iOS

Hopper

4. Hopper: Hopper is more than just a cute app — this little application is a fare hunting powerhouse. It not only finds the lowest price for your travel days, but it advises you whether you should hold off on buying or book now. Even better, it can predict how much prices are expected to go up or down and sends you notifications alerting you when dollar amounts change. Sadly, this is another one that is only for iPhone users.

DL It: Free on iOS

Momondo

5. Momondo: Momondo does this cool thing where they split up fares into handy little categories like “Cheapest,” “Quickest” and “Best.” But that’s not all; they even have free city guides for major locations like Paris, Rome and New York you can download and use offline. We likey!

DL It: Free on iOS and Android

Do you have any ticket-booking apps you like to you? Tell us which ones in the comments below!