Airline Extras

Airline Extras

Remember when you only needed a ticket to fly from point A to point B? Since then, things have drastically changed. Competition between airlines has soared and airlines have had to get creative to avoid being left behind in preference of their gate neighbors. And it has dramatically impacted the travel industry and the travellers. Things we once took for granted, such as seat selection or a bottle of water, are now sporting a (sometimes) hefty price tag. Gone are the days of free baggage check and complimentary in-flight meals.

Of course, you can still purchase these airline extras and they can undoubtedly elevate the travel experience. But are these add-ons really worth it?

Fear not! Here is a roundup of the 5 airline extras that are totally worth the money (and two that that definitely aren’t).


Five airline extras that are worth the money


Seat Selection

With the proliferation of basic economy fares and low-cost carriers, the ability to choose your seat for free is no longer a given anymore. If you’re a frequent traveller, chances are you have a favorite seat.

But without seat selection, your usual 28C seat with a little extra legroom will be long gone by the time you get to the airport. You’ll then have to spend the next 5 hours in the oh-so-dreaded middle seat. So, if you fall within the group of people who would rather go to the dentist than have to tell your seatmate “Excuse me, I’m going to the bathroom,” you’re out of luck.

Fortunately, if you’re a business traveller, you have options. Many companies allow travellers to add seat selection to their booking. The price usually varies between $10 to $40 CAD per one-way flight segment for a standard seat. This is an acceptable price to pay to ensure travellers are well-rested and ready to close that very lucrative business deal. Of course, if you’re taking a 45-minute flight, your company might not be as understanding. And remember: travel policies vary from one company to another and some industries are more focused on savings while others prefer to concentrate on convenience.

Air Canada and Seat Selection

When booking, check the price difference between flight fares. The difference can be minimal, however, what comes included is not. For example, if you compare Air Canada’s Tango and Flex fares, you will see that you can get more bang for your buck with the latter one.

With a Tango fare, you pay for seat selection (and your checked baggage). Plus, you will pay a higher fee should you need to alter or modify your ticket. And let’s not talk about overbooking! You’ll be among the first ones to be bumped from the flight. When talking business, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t want to miss an important meeting because you chose the wrong airfare. A Flex fare is not always the best option for all business trips, but it certainly gives the traveller more flexibility and added value. And, most importantly, a seat.

Lastly, don’t forget that loyalty pays off. With Air Canada, Altitude members can select a preferred seat at no extra cost. That’s more legroom and exit room seats!



Meals are worth splurging on if you have a medical condition or even if you’re short on time. You don’t want to show up to your next meeting with your stomach growling like a lion. Also, you might be allowed to expense it as a regular meal and deduct it from your allowance.

That being said, avoid any type of alcohol. Alcoholic beverages have a stronger effect when you drink on board a plane; you might feel its effects sooner because of the lower level of oxygen and you can also become dehydrated much faster than you would on the ground.

Lounge Access

Airline extras don’t always have to be enjoyed onboard an airplane. Almost every major airline has their own individual or shared lounge at airports around the world. And there’s no better place to be for a business traveller on a layover.

You’ll enjoy some quiet time and free WI-FI. The perfect set up to keep up productivity even when you’re on the go. And complimentary snack and beverages will help you maintain your peak performance.

Airline Extras TIP: Many of these lounges have showers. So, if you’re feeling jet-lagged after a long trip, you can easily freshen up before your next meeting.

Our favorite Canadian airport lounges are Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounges. Not only have they won over 22 awards, they’re genuinely designed with the business traveller in mind. You didn’t bring your laptop? No problem! Their business centers are equipped with the latest technology. You want to sit back and relax? These lounges are cell-free quiet zones, so forget about discovering every little detail of your neighbor’s life.

Frequent travellers should have complimentary access thanks to their Altitude Loyalty Status. But if you don’t, we recommend signing up for their annual membership. Not only will you get to enjoy the perks of an Air Canada lounge, you will also have the convenience of priority check-in.

If you prefer to have a more tailored and on-the-go solution, then Lounge Buddy is a better fit for you. Lounge Buddy is an app that allows you to purchase airport lounge access anywhere in the world. The best part? There’s no membership, loyalty status or business class ticket required. The app features a nice selection of airports and more are being added every day. So, if you’re more of a casual traveller, this is a great option worth considering.


Priority Boarding

As previously mentioned, some airline tickets or loyalty programs give you priority boarding as an added perk. Even some credit cards offer this perk to their clients (just as they offer free access to select lounges). So, if you’re a business traveller, odds are that you already have complimentary priority check-in and boarding.

But if you don’t, we highly recommend purchasing it. Not because you’ll want to spend extra time in a cramped seat with your fellow passengers bumping into you with their bags as they go down the aisle. But because priority boarding usually means priority disembarkment. Leaving the plane first ensures that you’ll avoid the long lines at immigration controls and be on your way as soon as possible.


TSA Precheck

If there’s one travel add-on that’s worth much more than it costs, it’s TSA Precheck. Instead of waiting in the ever-growing security lines, TSA Precheck allows you to breeze through them in under 2 minutes. Even better, you won’t have to strip in front of hundreds of strangers or lay out your electronics.

If you’re a Nexus member, the joint Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection program, you might also be eligible for expedited screening.

Maybe we’ll one day see a future where the use of artificial intelligence and biometrics at airports is the norm, and TSA Precheck is obsolete. But right now, with more and more travellers every year, it’s definitely a must-have for business travellers.


…And two airline extras that are not worth it



There are two major downsides to inflight WI-FI. The first is the ridiculously high fee. Sure, some airlines offer free WI-FI and certain credit cards will even give it to their cardholders. But those credit cards are expensive.

The second downside of inflight WI-FI is the speed. Is there anything more frustrating than a webpage that’s loading at a snail’s pace? It’s very likely that by the time you leave the plane you will not have accomplished half of what you needed to. So, if you’re looking to work on your next presentation while in the air, consider downloading all the information you need before travelling. This way, you’ll avoid added stress and frustration, and you’ll keep your pockets full.

However, if you’re dead set on having inflight WI-FI, you can pre-purchase a Gogo WI-FI pass online. There’s a significant price difference between purchasing it while on the plane vs in advance. Air Canada is one of the participating airlines in the Gogo WI-FI service, making it convenient for all Canadian travellers.


Rebooking Services

Some airlines offer their passengers an additional service aimed at rebooking their ticket on the next available flight when delays and cancellations occur. This can be useful if your company doesn’t work with a Travel Management Company.

But if you’re an Encore traveller, don’t bother with this airline extra. The first thing you need to do if your flight is delayed or cancelled is contact your dedicated travel agent. They’ll take care of you and get you to your destination as quickly as possible. So save your money and give us a call. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Do you agree? What are the airline extras you think are worth the money?








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