10 Ways to Improve Traveling in Coach

Flight over Hawaii - Make people happier.
10 Ways to Improve Travel in Coach that Could Make People Happier

I recently read Claudia Altucher’s Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century (affiliate)
which got me thinking about all sorts of things. If you haven’t heard of or read it yet, you really should consider getting it from the library or downloading it on Kindle for $.99. The whole premise of the book is to come up with a 10 ideas about a whole bunch of different things as a way to get amped up and thinking outside the box.

One of the exercises in the book is to come up with 10 ways the airline industry could improve traveling in coach class seats that would make people happier. I’ve been fortunate to have flown around the country (and the world) a fair amount, so here are my ideas. Let me know what you think in the comments below or tell me on Twitter.

1 – Give everyone a chocolate chip cookie as they board the plane (or right before the safety messages).
How great would this be?! Everybody loves a little treat now and then and this would certainly be a great way to cheer up those grumpy (and hungry) travelers. Be careful to offer gluten-free and nut free options for those with allergies.

2 – Free first drink for all passengers age 21 and over.
Yes! This one makes me want to sing Drunk On A Plane (affiliate) by Dierks Bentley. No better way to relax than with a free drink on a long flight.

3 – Free WiFi.
Duh. Don’t you want your passengers tweeting and facebooking about how great you are as an airline while mid-flight?

4 – Quick and fun group trivia or gambling games.
Southwest Airlines used to do this every time I flew to Las Vegas. Everyone who wanted to play would put a dollar in a hat or something and get a raffle ticket. They’d ring their flight attendant button to answer to win. Or maybe no money is exchanged, just the first correct answer gets another free drink or meal or something. I’m sure someone could come up with a fun way to do a group game like that. Make flying fun again!

5 – USB power in every seat.
I think most Alaska Airline flights already do this. Gotta keep my gadgets charged up so I can pay a ridiculous amount of money to watch the latest movies and tv shows on that “free” wi-fi we’re getting.

6 – Designate a quiet or loud area in certain areas so passengers can either read/sleep or be loud and obnoxious if they want.
I realize this one is a stretch, but I thought it would be cool in case there are a bunch of people who want to talk or play games or something.

7 – Raffle for free food or drinks or A FREE FLIGHT VOUCHER!!!
I admit, this one is kind of related to number 4, but how cool awesome would it be to actually win a free flight just for flying. People love free stuff. Maybe you only do one of these a day in the entire fleet, but still, a great way to build rapport with your customers. And a great way to build loyalty as an airline that gives back to their passengers.

8 – Magazine exchange.
I always see the flight attendants carrying armfuls of unwanted magazines that usually just end up in recycling. Midway through every 1 hr+ flight, make an announcement that the magazine exchange has begun and allow people to donate and sift through what everyone else on the flight already finished reading. This one wouldn’t cost anything and would be pretty easy to implement. Just use an old food or soda box to carry everything around in or make people go to the back of the plane to find what they want.

9 – Book exchange.
Same as number 8, but with books. Might get heavy, so be careful when lifting!

10 – Game consoles in the back of the headrest monitors to play with other passengers.
Remember how some planes back in the day used to have the actual phone in the back of the middle seat headrest? I was thinking of something like that, but with a tv and armrest control unit with an internal network that only allowed you to play certain games with other passengers. Or you could go all out and pop for the full size unit with internet connected gaming to anyone in the world on certain gaming networks. Make it easy and start with board games or go full speed with RPGs or other more graphics intense games.

If anyone from the airline industry reads this, please know my thoughts are coming from a place of wanting to help make your product more enjoyable. I have a sales and marketing background and want you to offer a few low cost and high cost tips for making the average Joe’s experience a little more enjoyable. Most airline seats are probably coach and the competition is fierce, so here’s a few tips you hopefully enjoyed reading and could possibly implement as a way to one-up the competition.

And for any passengers out there that ever take any airline survey that ask “how can we serve you better?” – remember some of these ideas and maybe we’ll meet on a flight with one of these great new benefits.

Here’s to your flying enjoyment!

Go Forth!