Topic of the Week: Your Favorite Quirky Onboard Amenity

I spent three days with Hawaiian Airlines this week talking to execs and flying around (posts will follow, of course), but there was one thing that struck me. On Hawaiian’s new regional operation, ‘Ohana, each aircraft has an ukulele onboard that anyone can ask to play. As you can see, no actual talent is required…

Ukulele on 'Ohana

This was a gift from people on Moloka’i in honor of a woman who it seems taught the entire island how to play. I loved it. And it brings me to this week’s topic. What other quirky amenities have you seen on airlines around the world?

[Disclosure: Hawaiian Airlines paid for my trip.]

Get Posts via Email When They Go Live or in a Weekly Digest

Leave a Reply

28 Comments on "Topic of the Week: Your Favorite Quirky Onboard Amenity"

avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Jordan
Guest

Wine in tiny paper dixie cups on China Airlines… oh wait, you said “amenity”…

David SF eastbay
Member

Those flights are so short, who would have time to play a song and why do they thing other people would want to hear someone play a ukulele.

gobluetwo
Guest

Not on an airline, but I love that the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch/London gives you a guitar to play during your stay, and has turntables and vinyls in the room. That’s pretty great.

Not quirky, but I do like the mango nectar they give you on Hawaiian Airlines.

Southeasterner
Guest

Big fan of the complementary local microbrews and wines on Horizon airlines (wish Alaska would do the same)! Yes they are complementary to everyone on board.

Bob S.
Member

The fresh orchids on Thai International

Yo
Guest

I enjoy the performing artists on Family Airlines, who doesn’t love a clown or a juggler sauntering through the aisles? Balloon animals…that is what I look for on a long flight!!

(I really miss those butter cookies and malibu rum drinks on the ATA flights)

hawes.daryl
Member
In 1972, I flew Aeroflot on a very unpressurized propeller flights roundtrip between Moscow and Sochi where upon boarding the crew collected everyone’s ball point and fountain pens and carefully tagged eah one with your name in both Russian and English as well as your seat number. Then they placed them all in a metal canister and pressurized the contents with CO2 cartridges prior to flight. (Think re-loadable, CO2 cartridge controlled whipped cream containers that you can buy at Williams Sonoma) Upon arrival at the destination airport the stewardess would release the pressure from the container, open it and return… Read more »
john96
Member

Not quirky, but nice service amenity – LH provides a universal power adapter to travelers who experience trouble powering their devices from the LH power outlets. Really nice touch…especially when you are at 5% and the report is almost done. Air New Zealand and EVA have the BEST business class eyepatches. I got a pair of slippers on some airline I have forgotten that was more like slippers (not the Asian slippers) but pull on your feet and cover the whole foot (not the silly socks either).

julian.dayal
Member

Used to be Channel 9 on United.

Wes
Guest

My favorite would be on Alaska Airlines flights to Hawaii where they serve you a complimentary Mai Tai in coach.

Rico
Guest

Not airline related, but my favorite is the complimentary fishbowl + fish for your room at Kimpton Hotels, in case you want another living thing to keep you company in your room.

airmm
Member

That’s easy – the warm chocolate chip cookies on Midwest Express. And my second favorite amenity was the smell when they were cooking!

Richard
Member

I loved those too! Midwest Express is/was my favorite airline of all time

DesertGhost
Guest

I have to agree with the sentiment. Give me the Midwest cookies.

james
Guest

Yup – as stated above: United’s Channel 9, which I pretty much stopped checking for over the past couple years as it’s being phased out with the new IFE.

Been a fan since I started flying regularly in the 90s – Greatest thing in the world for av geeks, calmed nervous passengers as they were able to correlate aircraft movement with pilot chatter, and kept passengers aware of delays on the tarmac and ground.

Second place: LH’s Toblerone chocolate.

centrum.matt
Member

In the 1960’s National Airlines gave away paper airplanes shaped like Florida!

jaybru
Member
Yes, I’m old enough to remember United having channel 9. Of course, just having audio on any channel seems to be something with United these days. Sort of an amenity, I believe, is having a captain, first officer, whatever come back to you at your seat and speak with you. A ways back, a Northwest DC-10 crew member, flashlight in hand, stopped at our row, asked if he could peer out our window with his flashlight. We said, fine; he pointed the flashlight at the wing and apparently, seeing that the wing was still there, thanked us and went back… Read more »
bmv07039
Member

United did away with Channel 9 among other things

Kilroy
Guest

I know it’s not really quirky or that unique, but I like the Biscoff cookies on Delta flights. Stuff is like crack.

Ken Lukowiak
Member

KLM for at least 2 years in the late 1990’s gave passengers in J Class miniature models of Dutch Houses. Best of all on most flights the houses were filled with Gin! The only exception was when flying to certain Middle Eastern Counties, one received the house but it was empty!

malbarda
Member

KLM actually started this tradition in 1952, and continue to this day. They have built an app for the avid collector, and there is a lively online trade between people trying to get all 94 (as of writing today).

I like the KLM houses, and also appreciate the chocolate heart and proper soft slippers from Air Berlin. The pajama’s from American Air and Qatar are excellent, too.

Paul
Guest

The manicurists that they sometimes have on Asiana flights…

j.monat
Member

United still has channel 9 but only on United aircraft and with a captain who is willing to turn it on. All the Continental aircraft do not have the equipment put on ATC.

LT_DT
Guest

We just took a couple of flights on United A320s with new interiors and the only available entertainment is inflight Wi-Fi – no in-seat audio and no drop-down monitors. Channel 9 is definitely on its way out.

David Baron
Guest

I seem to remember at least one intercontinental United flight in the past few years where Channel 9 was available as the audio you get when you’re viewing the flight map on the in-flight entertainment system. (Maybe the 767 from SFO-CDG, since I’ve taken that route multiple times?) Although I suppose I could be misremembering…

Courtney
Guest

Channel 9 still exists on United planes with IFE, but like it’s been mentioned here, pilots in those ACs have discretion over whether they want to turn it on or not. It’s increasingly less common, but I’ve had channel 9 on twice in the last month. Once was on a flight from AUS-SFO and as I was deplaning I told the captain, “thanks for having channel 9 on!” An FA laughed and said “there’s always one of those…” after I was (almost) out of earshot.

ptahcha
Guest

Here are the United planes that still have Channel 9:

747
757-200 (on flight # 200-999)
767-300
767-400
777 (on flight # 200-999)

For flights with AVOD, the option is buried in the main menu as the last option (From the Flight Deck)

Maybe:

A319 and A320, although they are being phased out with the removal of AV equipment.

Dianne W.
Guest

EVA has nice a eyeshade in premium economy, too. I save them to use on all trips and at home.

Best “amenity” ever was on a NZ flight from Samoa to Tahiti many years ago. There was a large group (nearly the entire DC-8 – yep, that’s how long ago it was) onboard, they were traveling to a choir competition. A couple of guys played guitars (in the aisle) and the choir sang Polynesian hymns and songs for at least an hour after lunch. What a great flight!

wpDiscuz