Air travel – with its high fares, long security lines, and bag check fees – has some redeeming qualities that can be enjoyed in-flight. And no, these bonuses aren’t just limited to business and first class travelers. Attention cattle class passengers: you too may experience some tiny perks while you ride through the clouds.
Though small, these free little benefits listed below might beat the once-in-a-lifetime computer glitches that grant you $5 fares or the complimentary bag o’ peanuts. Some of these options are limited to specific airlines, so please keep that in mind before asking a flight attendant.
You’re probably used to getting handed a small plastic cup with half a can of soda poured in it. Don’t settle for it; you can politely request the whole can! As long as there aren’t restrictions, you should be able to snag the entire thing.
In addition, some airlines will also offer free alcohol during your flight. It’s typical to find this option on international routes and some of the domestic ones. Choices include beer, wine, or spirits depending on the carrier.
If you find yourself in need of a bandage, ice pack, or pain reliever, just tell your flight attendant that you need assistance. Often, planes are stocked with basic first aid supplies and flight attendants can help with minor emergencies.
Hold up, wait a minute. Hot chocolate on board? Yes indeedy; on some airlines, including Southwest, you can ask for a cup of chocolate decadence to go with your pretzels.
Germs are rampant on planes since people are on a constant rotation. You can ask the attendant for antibacterial wipes to wipe down your personal areas or clean up small messes.
Okay, so you can’t just ring a bell and get a sitter on your flight, but in case you need to take a bathroom break, help is there. Ask a flight attendant to sit with your baby or child while you make a quick restroom run. It should also be mentioned that if you fly with Etihad, then you can request the services of an actual nanny. They can sit with your children and help keep them occupied for a while.
You realize that maybe you should’ve grabbed something to eat for your three hour flight but instead opted to eat an in-flight snack. That’s fine, but the rumbling in your belly might disagree. After everyone’s been served, you can ask for an extra snack and many flight attendants won’t mind doling out a few extras.
Different airlines offer various amenities kits that include things like sleeping masks, ear plugs, tooth brushes or toothpaste— in economy. Some even offer games and activities for kids while others offer useful grooming sets that contain shaving cream, lotion, and combs. According to the Huffington Post, Japan Airlines will give passengers a pair of slippers to help them unwind, and even offers a color assortment to choose from.
It doesn’t have to be all snores and no play while you fly! Some carriers have expanded their access to entertainment for passengers. JetBlue offers DirecTV, while Airtran has XM Satellite radio— for free.
Delta has been offering a host of movies and shows that are available to all fliers, and this year, American Airlines has opened free access to an entire content library with music, games, movies, and TV shows. Though it depends on the plane and WiFi access, customers are able to stream content on their personal devices or watch on their seatbacks.
Though security has rendered certain activities on a plane obsolete, sometimes you can get a quick tour of the cockpit. Kids tend to have a sense of wonder about things like the cockpit, and some pilots will make the time to give a glimpse into their worlds. Obviously you don’t want to ask while everyone’s filing in to find their seats, so try asking after you’ve landed.
Air travel doesn’t have to be a hellacious undertaking, even in economy class. You can get to your destination with a little less anxiety and a little more fun – if you know how to ask. Do you know of any passenger perks not mentioned here? Have you had any success with these freebies? Tell us in the comments!