The Airline Quirks & Perks You Never Knew About

9 May 2016

There’s a world of choice when you choose to fly with more airline options than ever before. From international airlines to low-cost carriers and everything in between all vying for bums on seats (literally!), you’d be surprised at some of the onboard services and unique amenities available for aircraft passengers. And these special features aren’t just for those flying at the pointy end either. From kid-free cabins to bidets in business class, here’s some of the quirks and perks of flying.

A Flying Nanny comforts a baby aboard an Etihad Airways plane Flying Nannies lend a helping hand to families on Etihad Airways. (Image: Etihad Airways)

Doing it for the kids

Whether you’re the parent or a child-free passenger, a screaming child or tot that repeatedly kicks the back of chairs makes everyone despair. AirAsia has introduced the child-free Quiet Zone on its A330 aircraft, designed for travellers aged 10 years and over in a sectioned-off cabin (rows seven to 14). The new ScootinSilence cabin aboard Scoot also offers a kid-free quiet cabin zone for guests aged 12 years and over. Etihad Airways has adopted a different tack, offering families a helping hand with Flying Nannies on all long-haul services to assist groups with kids and unaccompanied minors. While they won’t take your offspring off your hands completely, these sky-high nannies are equipped with games and activities to keep kids occupied while seated.

Gourmet dining options such as Singapore chilli crab are available to book before you fly with Singapore Airlines One of the fine-dining options with Singapore Airlines' Book the Cook service. (Image: Singapore Airlines)

Flying foodies

From Peter Gordon on Air New Zealand to an onboard chef on selected Garuda Indonesia flights, airlines are dishing up gourmet meals for discerning passenger palates. On Australian carriers, we’ve got Neil Perry on Qantas and Luke Mangan on Virgin Australia, and celeb chef meals feature on Qatar Airways, KLM and Hawaiian Airlines with Michelin-starred chefs consulting for Air France. Malaysia Airlines has the Chef-On-Call service where First Class and Business Class can pre-book their choice of 25 fine dining meals created by renowned chefs before departure, while Singapore Airlines offers a similar Book the Cook service for Premium Economy Class passengers and above.


More facts about flying:

Class action. A First-Timer's Guide To Business Class

Sky-high dining. 13 Surprising Facts About Airline Food


A Finnair flight attendant hands a passenger a Marimekko print amenity kit The covetable Marimekko print amenity kits aboard Finnair. (Image: Finnair)

Name-dropping

With celeb chefs lending their signature culinary style to airline dining, a nondescript onboard amenity kit simply won’t do. Designer collabs now extend to your pack of toothbrush, toothpaste, socks and eye mask, with airline kits boasting some big names on their complimentary pouches. Finnair and Qantas have paired with iconic local brands Marimekko and Country Road respectively, while fashionistas will want to get their mitts on the Giorgio Armani amenity kits on Qatar Airways and Salvatore Ferragamo supplies on LATAM.

A female tourist admires the cityscape of Guangzhou in China Explore Guangzhou on the 72-hour visa-free transit with China Southern flights. (Image: Getty)

Free transit tours

Why sit in an airport on an extended layover when you can tour a new city? China Airlines offers a free half-day tour where you can experience Taipei in five hours, China Southern travellers can explore Guangzhou with the 72-hour visa-free transit, and there’s a complimentary city tour for transit passengers with Singapore Airlines plus Changi Dollar Vouchers (worth SG$40 to use in the airport food and retail outlets when you transit through Singapore.

A woman enjoy the Shower Spa in Emirates A380 First Class Get fresh in the Shower Spa in Emirates A380 First Class. (Image: Emirates)

Class act

So, yes, there are some extra-special perks for being in first class or business class. Emirates A380 First Class passengers can freshen up midflight in the onboard Shower Spa, decorated in marble and walnut motifs, while Business Class lavatories aboard Royal Brunei Airlines are equipped with bidets. Etihad Airways’ The Residence is the only three-room suite on a commercial aircraft and exclusive to Etihad Airways A380. High flyers in Thai International Royal First Class get the regal treatment with caviar and Dom Perignon Champagne, and the red carpet is rolled out for First Class and Business Class passengers on Emirates and Etihad Airways with chauffeur transfers.

A passenger stretches his legs across the airline seats on a Scoot plane Stretch out in Scoot's MaxYourSpace seating option. (Image: Scoot)

Other perks and quirks to know

  • MaxYourSpace on Scoot allows you to purchase up to two empty seats next to you on a first-come, first-served basis – stretch out and enjoy some privacy for a fee.
  • It’s Happy Hour in Virgin Australia’s domestic economy on weekdays 5-7pm.
  • Abu Dhabi’s national animal, the falcon, is permitted in Etihad Airway’s main aircraft cabin or as checked baggage.
  • Japan Airlines allows passengers to check in certain small birds, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, marmots, squirrels and chinchillas as well as cats and dogs.
  • Finnair will allow you to check-in two boxes of Christmas crackers on flights out of the UK.
  • Fiji Airways allows brides to bring their wedding gown on board as carry-on baggage for no extra charge.
  • China Airlines permits you to board a plane with nunchucks, batons and stun guns, provided they are in your checked luggage.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on airfares.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.