Improving your Air Travel Experience without Spending More Money

Airlines and the flying public always seem to be dueling these days.

Airlines squeeze more and more up-sells and fees out of passengers, and passengers counter by taking advantage of an ever-expanding arsenal of online fare-comparison sites to find the cheapest tickets. Problem is, once on board, that consumer power all but evaporates in the face of shrinking legroom, narrow seats and pricey food.

If you feel like you’re losing the battle, change your strategy. Use these tips to compare more than price so that you can fly more comfortably without opting for expensive upgrades.

Discover It Miles Card

Get the miles credit card that lets you fly any airline, anytime

Sponsored

Get the Miles Credit Card that Lets You Fly Any Airline, Anytime.

Sponsored

Get More Latitude from Your Miles Credit Card.

Discover it® Miles credit card lets you fly any airline, anytime—with no blackout dates.

Discover it Miles Card

Sponsored

Get More Latitude from Your Miles Credit Card 

Discover it® Miles credit card lets you fly any airline, anytime—with no blackout dates. 

Sponsored

Get the Miles Credit Card that Lets You Fly Any Airline, Anytime

Get the miles credit card that lets you fly any airline, anytime. Let's go.

Compare Qualitatively: Planes, Seats and More

Booking sites like Orbitz, Kayak, Chipmunk and others reveal more than just price, airline and flight plan. You can also see the flight number and the type of aircraft you will be flying on. With a little extra research, you can use this info to compare in-flight accommodations.

Copy the flight number into SeatGuru.com or seatmaestro.com. Both sites can tell you everything you need to know about your seat, including the pitch (the space between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front or behind) and width, the type of the entertainment system and whether the plane is outfitted with in-flight Wi-Fi.

Compare Everything in One Place

Some websites allow you to compare a number of factors across flights and carriers. Routehappy, for example, is an online aggregator that lists not only fares from different airlines, but also details about each airline’s planned plane for that route. For example, if you search for a non-stop flight between New York and São Paulo, you have a choice of three airlines that can get you there for about the same price: United, Delta and TAM.

But a closer looks reveals differences that could make for vastly different in-flight experiences. For example, in our search, though all three offered similar entertainment screens and options to charge your devices, TAM offered more space (a 32-inch pitch versus 31 inches). On the other hand, TAM, unlike United and Delta, didn’t offer in-flight Wi-Fi in our search.

Compare What’s Important to You

Since no airline is perfect and every passenger is different, think about what matters for your needs in-flight. If you value an extra inch of pitch above all else (it can make a world of difference to taller people), choose the more spacious airline. If you can’t unplug, choose the airline with in-flight Wi-Fi. And if you expect to work during the flight, a power outlet for your laptop may be your sole concern.

No comparison is fool proof. While you should do all you can to research the best airline seat at the best price, remember that airlines reserve the right to substitute equipment without notice. The good news is it doesn’t happen too often, so in most cases the time you spend searching for a better ride will pay off nicely.

Legal Disclaimer: The articles and information provided herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice. 

Up Next  

5 Common-Sense Ways To Save Money on Travel

Explore More Topics:

You Might Also Like...

  • Holiday Spending
  • Travel Tips
  • Budgeting
  • Discover It Miles Card

    Get the miles credit card that lets you fly any airline, anytime

    Sponsored

    Get the Miles Credit Card that Lets You Fly Any Airline, Anytime.

    Sponsored

    Get More Latitude from Your Miles Credit Card.

    Discover it® Miles credit card lets you fly any airline, anytime—with no blackout dates.

    Discover it Miles Card

    Sponsored

    Get More Latitude from Your Miles Credit Card 

    Discover it® Miles credit card lets you fly any airline, anytime—with no blackout dates. 

    Sponsored

    Get the Miles Credit Card that Lets You Fly Any Airline, Anytime

    Get the miles credit card that lets you fly any airline, anytime. Let's go.
Get the miles credit card that lets you fly any airline, anytime. Let's go.