12 Things I Wish They Had On Airplanes

With all the long haul flights I’ve taken lately I’ve had a lot of time to spy on my fellow travellers, observe staff, inspect aircraft and ruminate wildly on the ways flying economy could be made a whole lot better for all us. Here are 12 things I’d add/change on airplanes if I happen to have my own airline one day.

*If any existing airlines decide to take me up on my frankly genius suggestions I’ll expect due credit and a lot of cold, hard cash. Naturally.*

1. A function on the IFE that says please wake/ don’t wake me for food service

How annoying is it when you’re trying to get some much-needed shut-eye and the staff are sweetly waking you to offer breakfast at approximately 3 am local time? I reckon it shouldn’t take much to add a little button on the IFE that you can tap before nodding off which leaves a message on the screen about whether you want to be woken for food or not. Failing that a little card you can stick out the top of the screen saying green for ‘food please’ and red for ‘leave me sleep’ should do the trick. (I’m pretty proud of this idea. You’re probably going to tell me some airline does it already but if so can they let BA know? Thank you/please!)

2. Ambient scents pumped through the air conditioning

You know that smell you get on a plane where you’re not sure if they’ve started cooking dinner or someone’s just done a big dump? Or the passenger whose idea of personal hygiene is ‘I washed last week’? Well, why don’t planes combat some of the whiffier issues by pumping some essentials oils through the air system or popping a few diffusers near the bathroom? We could make it all democratic and have passengers vote for the scent of the day as they board the plane. It would be like choosing the scent of your oil before a massage but a hundred times more disappointing

3. Netflix streaming on all flights

As more and more airlines are getting in on the whole wifi in the sky thing it shouldn’t be too hard to do away with all their old movie libraries and just hook us up to Netflix instead. A good binge on 13 Reasons Why/ Designated Survivor/ OINTB (choose your poison) will see the flight pass in no time.

4. Female only sections

I’ve heard of a few airlines floating the idea of female only sections for religious purposes but as a solo female traveller I’m a huge fan of the idea. No offence to the opposite sex but too often I’ve experienced men taking up more than their fair share of the foot well and/or armrest. Sometimes it’s not their fault (they just have very long limbs) but more often than not it’s just someone taking the mick coz I’m too shy to complain. Women seem to be better about observing each other’s personal space so if I’m travelling alone I’d much rather be paired with another lady.

5. A no bare feet rule

I don’t want to see your dirty feet anywhere near me but especially not resting on my knee.

12 things I wish they had on airplanes


6. A shoe rack and slippers to change into

How about we all pop our shoes in a basket before boarding (like you do on a boat) and change into slippers instead? That way I never have to fold myself in quarters to redeem the shoe that falls into a black hole underneath the seat in front of me.

7. A pic n mix shop and dedicated barista in the galley

Don’t ask for much do I? Kudos though to Qantas who lined the back galley walls with Tim Tams and m&ms on my last flight to South Africa. More like this please.

8. A dressing room

I’m thinking maybe one of the loos could be converted to a changing room so that those of us who need a wee don’t end up wetting ourselves while someone else takes aaages to change and brush their teeth. It also means we’d hopefully see less pants/knickers in the cabin from people who decide to get changed in the row. (This actually happened to poor Vicky last week!)

9. A naughty section

A section, preferably far from the female only one, where seat kickers, loud sniffers/snorers and people who break the no bare feet rule are banished to. (There may be riots over enforcing this one but in an ideal world…)

A good book & hot choccie makes me happy

10. Face wipes and mini deodorants distributed instead of hot towels

Anyone else just hold the hot towel limply wondering what to do it? A nice little bottle of Dove deodorant and single face wipe would be much more useful personally.

11. A big bottle of water left in each row

So we can refill our flasks and swig when we’re gasping instead of waiting for someone to come round with a minute cup of water.

12. A steadfast rule that no one can recline their seat until after the meal service

Because no one can eat comfortably with a tray resting on their tits and some airlines are lax at getting the passenger in front to straighten up their seat for the meal service. (*Coughs* BA.)

What improvements would you make to airplanes if you were, say, Richard Branson?


About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

21 thoughts on “12 Things I Wish They Had On Airplanes”

    • I nearly added a mobile hairdresser/blow dry bar too but thought the wishlist was getting out of hand… 😛

  1. Love the ‘wake me for…’ suggestion Jayne 🙂 I’ve seen a sicker system used on an airline (can’t remember which one). There are 3 coloured stickers inside the sleep mask pack with the option of wake me for food, drinks or other requests. Would be so easy to put this on the entertainment screen though!! Xx

    • I did think there must be an airline that has thought of this already but had’t come across one myself. Sometimes that extra hour of sleep is so precious you just want to be left in peace!

    • Me too! A lot of the flights from Oz to Asia are night flights and at around 7/8 hours you don’t get enough sleep if you stay up for the meals. I’d take sleep over soggy eggs any day 😀

  2. Yes! All the yes!
    Yeeeeears ago I flew with an airline (possibly Korean Air) and they had a little sheet of stickers. Wake me for food, let me sleep etc. I though it was genius but I’ve not seen it since.

    Love the idea of slippers, they do this on some Asian sleeper buses.

    And can we just have free fast wifi on ALL flights now, pretty please??

    • From my experience in Seoul this totally sounds like something Korean Air would do – let’s hope more airlines follow suit. And free, fast wifi would be a dream.

  3. It’s Emirates that do the sheet of stickers…

    I love all of these suggestions! Especially the female only section and the barista! I’d love a self-service drink dispenser – soft drinks/water/coffee, it would be a disaster with alcohol – so I didn’t have to wait for the trolley. Also little screens between headrests like they have in business so you have a TINY bit of privacy… just at head level at least…

    • Oh interesting! I flew Emirates from Oz to the UK last week and didn’t see the stickers. I’ll have a rummage in the amenity kit on the way back.

      Also love the idea of little screens between headrests. Our BA flight to Antigua has an adjustable headrest that you could move to lean on/block out the next person a little.

  4. It’s Emirates with the stickers to wake or leave you sleep in peace. And yes, agreed that is a good idea. I also love the idea of changing rooms and female only sections – no need to apologize to the guys out there. Manspreading is a thing and according to my dad who is a urologist and thus should know it ain’t never that big that you can’t keep your legs together. But agreed it is awkward to bring up the subject 😉

  5. I so agree with all of these. Especially slippers and a female only section. I would also much prefer to be seated next to a female rather than a male for all those reasons you said. I’d also imagine they would laugh at you less when you watch the saddest movie possible and end up crying!

  6. If you’re going to be a douche and put your barefeet on the bulkhead, make sure you don’t have a disgusting foot fungus issue…this happened to me on my Emirates flight from Singapore to Dubai two weeks ago, luckily it was a dead flight so I could move and not vom up my food :/

    • YES! Genius idea. I’d love a library or book swap for all the times I finished a book before the end of the flight.

  7. So wish there was more access to water! If I can’t (or forget) to refill my own bottle after going through security, I get so thirsty on some flights. And Emirates are the worst at responding to the request button, they may as well remove them.

  8. I always feel quilty reclining my seat and invading the personal space of the person behind me. I used to worry so much I would end up not reclining my seat for entire journeys. Then I realise they wouldn’t have installed the feature unless to be used and I need to be comfortable if I’m going to be on a 12 hour flight!
    Definitely could use more of these ideas though!


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