Hidden goodies on airline’s website

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Virgin Australia from Melbourne to Auckland: about a 3 hour flight.

A coffee while I watch my tablet shows would have been fab.

I’m not asking for much here.

*Middle seat.
     -cramped and worrysome for the Viking-Girl-from-Kattigat with a bladder the size of a BB.

*2 hours into the flight and we hadn’t even received a sip of water.

30 minutes into a US domestic and there’d be mutiny.

People all around us, including a wispy seatmate on the window, were being served refreshments AND hot meals.

The attendants had gone up and back past our seats no less than

12 TIMES!

(Yes, being American, we counted).

There was even a trip up and back and rechecking of a paper list for a SINGLE APPLE.

We also noticed that the attendants kept referring to said paper list of who was seated where to get which meal. It was all so inefficient, it drove us crazy.

We finally had to ask.

“Pre-order” replied the flight attendant.

Ah. Everyone was “in on it” except these two Americans.

You don’t see some amenities upon booking from Orbitz or even initial booking on Virgin Australia.

You have to ALREADY KNOW that the “flexi” flight, with the meal icon, will get you at least water an hour sooner for a mere $95 ($55US) more.

That’s an expensive water.

The meals were either risotto (a cheap cup of rice) or “curry”. God knows what lurks in sauces of airplane food (cornstarch, anyone?)

Luckily, I did notice the meals for purchase in the back of the seat pocket. Those were only $9($6US) each and drinks were $8($5US) for adult beverages.

Finally, a hour before landing, drinks and food.

It turns out, Quantas’ JetStar has a similar bizarre model.

Roomier seats and a more comfortable flight but still this inefficient  “rice-profit” business model.

What other hidden travel gems exist?

Here’s a big one: “Skycouch”

On New Zealand Air, we learned that they will soon offer non-stop service from Houston to Auckland beginning in December 2015.

Curious about pricing, I discovered that they offer something called
“Skycouch” – the ability to buy 3 seats in a row and convert it to a bed.

Economy Skycouch:

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Business Class:

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Skycouch is triple the price of economy $1300 RT at around $4,000 USD and far less than business at nearly $9,000, but on such a long flight(14 hours+), it may be worth it.

I found out about it whilst drawing mustaches, eyebrows and blackened teeth in the plane magazine. (My tablet had died).

Guilty as charged.

Reviews on Skycouch are mixed. It fits 1 adult really and the space will be lessened when the seats in front are reclined. Still, I think I could make a “nest” there. Pillow and comforter are included.

Again, you don’t see this hidden goody on Orbitz, only on the Air New Zealand site itself or airplane mags.

A few travel lessons learned:
*Use Orbitz, Kayak etc to gauge initial flight time and affordability.

*Visit the website of the carrier to find out about amenities like meals or water (quite sad that I just had to write that) are available. The
Skycouch idea was really new to me.

*seatguru.com will show you that probably your seat sucks and has no plugs or entertainment. On US in-country flights this is true- even the 3 hour ones. (Those that have DirectTV have you as a captive audience for movies that have already started and you must sit through commercials).

So, however you look at it, be warned or prepared. The “cheap” flight may really cost you more in the end.

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