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Cheap flights and no frills

Our top ten of things that used to be standard on flights and now ... are not

We're flying cheaper than ever thanks to the low-cost airlines and greater and greater competition among carriers. Although there are extra dollars in our pocket, there's something missing... Could it be glamour? Being pampered and treated like royalty? Not having to put your hand in your pocket during the flight?

In those few years between elite flying - when only rich people could afford to do it - and the arrival of the no-frills airlines, flying was a pleasurable experience. Passengers were plied with food and drink, pillows were plumped, kiddies met the captain. Here are our top ten things that were once standard on flights and now? Not so much.

1. Smoking. Passengers used to smoke in the cabin. And cigarette lighters and matches were standard. Unbelievable.

2. Free, plentiful magazines and newspapers. Flight crews were not charging for these meaning that they couldn't give away the stacks of daily, weekly and monthly publications on offer.

3. That long-haul amenity kit. Now ... pair of ill-fitting socks and an eye mask, if you're lucky. Where's the perfume? Expensive moisturiser? Or for that matter cheap moisturiser.

4. Free in-flight entertainment. We're now paying for run-of-the-mill television even on local flights?

5. Tours of the cockpit... Kids everywhere caught the flying bug on that little excursion but these days all carriers operate a closed-door policy (make that door-locked-and-bolted policy).

6. Free food, three-course meals. With wine! All thrown in with the price of a ticket. Gone, gone, gone....

7. Like above, bringing a bottle of wine back to one's seat. Really gone...

8. The kiddie packs with the colouring-in books and pencils. And it used to contain blackcurrant fruit pastilles. Don't be ridiculous.

9. A certain flexibility on the baggage allowance. Now, it's like an alarm goes off (a ka-ching sound naturally) as soon as the bag is a gramme over the maximum. Turning a blind eye to a few kg? You must be joking.

10. Or for that matter, a baggage allowance!

Updated January 2012

Kara Segedin
Writer, traveller, Tweeter, blogger and part-time adventurer. A kiwi living in London off to explore the world! I can never travel enough!