All-inclusive travel is a thing of the past. These days you'll need your credit card handy to pay for everything from movies to Wi-Fi to a mid-flight snack. But there still are a few things you can get for free on a flight — you just have to know to ask for them.
Free booze on a plane? Yes, it still exists. Alaska Airlines offers all travelers over 21 flying to Hawaii a free in-flight mai tai. Air France offers a free glass of — what else? — Champagne on its long-haul international flights. (Air France flight attendants pour over a million bottles of Champagne every year.)
In this age of tight security, it would seem the flight deck would be strictly off-limits. Not so. As you board the plane, ask the flight attendants if you can take a peek or ask the pilot a question. Pilots usually enjoy talking about the aircraft — and the crew knows that even a brief chat can help put fearful fliers at ease.
Remember the pilot wings you got the first time you flew? A few airlines, including Delta, still hand them out upon request. If you’re traveling with grandkids, make sure to ask the flight attendant as you board if they have any. Some other airlines will give you log books or coloring books if you ask.
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The best travel experts on the destination you’re headed for are likely walking the aisles on your flight. Flight attendants love giving advice, and they know all the best places to eat in the airport as well as the best things to do and see in different cities. So strike up a conversation.
What’s one thing you've always been able to get for free on a flight? A cold. With sniffling seatmates and recycled air, you may be fighting a losing battle with germs. But sanitary wipes can at least help by ensuring that your tray table and armrests are clean. If you didn’t bring any from home, ask the flight attendant for one. Wipes often are stocked onboard in case the water goes out in the lavatory.
Gone are the days of linens and crystal in coach, but there are still a few airlines that haven’t given up on free tasty treats. Delta continues to offer its signature Belgium-made Biscoff cookies; Jet Blue’s signature snacks are Terra Blues potato chips and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.
Got a blister after that marathon march through the terminal? Ask a flight attendant for a bandage. All airlines are required to have first aid kits onboard, although even OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be administered only by an onboard doctor.
A small plastic cup chock-full of ice with a splash of soda isn’t exactly a thirst-quencher. Don’t be bashful — ask the flight attendant if you can have the whole can. Most flight attendants are more than happy to hand it over.