10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Could Get for Free on an Airplane

5 min read

There’s a scripture in the Bible that says “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” Well, when it comes to getting air travel freebies, it’s as simple as that — just ask. With that said, here are ten things you probably didn’t know you could get for free on an airplane.

10. Beverages

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Flights with more than 1,500 people on it will automatically hand out whole cans of soda, as opposed to the usual one cup of soda pop you’d get on smaller flights. But, even if you are on a smaller flight, you still might be able to get the whole can. All you have to do is ask. “If someone specifically asks for the full can, we are typically happy to accommodate them,” Melanie Glessing, a commercial flight attendant for American Airlines, told INSIDER.

And, if you happen to be riding in first or business class, you’ll get free alcoholic beverages. There’s also a selection of free wine and beer on international flights, too.

Beware, though, when it comes to drinking alcohol on a flight. Airplane cabins have low humidity, and you can easily get dehydrated. And, drinking alcohol will only increase dehydration.

9. Extra Snacks

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Is that small bag of peanuts or pretzels just simply not enough for your hearty appetite? You may be able to get more if they have some extra bags lying around. According to an article published by Reader’s Digest, most airplanes are well stocked on in-flight snacks. So, if you’re still hungry, “feel free to ask” for extra snacks, Glessing told INSIDER. “Sometimes we’re double-catered, depending on the flight.” And, the best part of all is that they’ll give you those extra snacks free of charge!

8. Entertainment

Woman Using Ipad
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Airlines offer lots of free treats to help keep you entertained, including seat-back movies, in-flight magazines (which, by the way, you’re allowed to take with you), and, depending on which airline you’re flying with, you might even get a free iPad. But, you can’t take it home with you. It’s just for use while you’re in the air. OpenSkies, for example, offer free iPads for flights from New York to Paris. Meanwhile, Qantas allows passengers to use the airline’s iPads on all 2-class B717 aircrafts and select A330-200 aircrafts.

And, if by chance you need headphones, they’ve got you covered. “Most flights are catered with complimentary headphones,” Glessing told INSIDER. “They go quick, and there usually isn’t enough for each passenger,” so make sure you get yours as soon as possible.

7. A Chance to Meet the Pilot

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Once upon a time, airlines used to offer cockpit tours for kids. Due to security reasons, however, these tours are no longer available. But, if you’re traveling with your kids, they may still have a chance to at least meet the pilot. Glessing told INSIDER that the flight attendants sometimes arrange opportunities for kids to say hello to the pilot during boarding. And, if you’re lucky, you may even be able to snap a picture of your kids with the pilot.

6. A Temporary Babysitter

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Speaking of kids, did you know that if you need a babysitter on your flight, your flight attendant–most of them anyway–will be more than glad to watch your little one(s). There’s a catch, though: 1) They’ll only do it for a minute or two–just long enough for a bathroom break or something of that nature. So, don’t think they’re going to watch your kid(s) for the entire flight, and 2) Your kid(s) must be quiet and well-behaved. In other words, don’t think you’re going to pass off a child who’s crying, throwing a tantrum or misbehaving in some other way simply because you don’t feel like dealing with them.

5. WiFi

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Did you know that JetBlue offers free high-speed WiFi at every seat? In fact, they’re the only airline to offer this service at every seat. According to the airline’s website, their service, called Fly-Fi, “delivers a robust online experience much like you would expect at home or work. And, with Fly-Fi brought to you by Amazon, you can stream, shop and surf right from your seat.”

NOTE: The coverage area may vary with the type of aircraft and the route. For example, Fly-Fi is not available on flights operated outside the contiguous United States.

4. Travel Tips

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If you happen to be traveling somewhere new, have a long layover in a city, or are just unsure about the layout of your destination’s airport, you can ask the flight staff for help. They can recommend the best places to eat and hang out, plus they can offer helpful advice about a city you’ve never been to before. Chances are they’ve been there plenty of times, so they’ll likely have some very good advice for you.

3. First Aid Supplies

First Aid
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If you need a Band-Aid or even an aspirin, an antacid or some ibuprofen, you can get it just by asking a flight attendant. Beware, however, when asking for medicine. According to INSIDER, Glessing says that those medicines sit on the plane for a long time. As a result, they might have lost their effectiveness. Since that’s the case, it may be best to bring your own. Still, it’s there for you in case you forgot to grab yours from the medicine cabinet before you left home.

FYI, you can ask for sanitizing wipes, too, to help you get rid of germs that may be found on your tray table, armrest, and seat belt buckle.

2. Cash Compensation

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Did you know that if there is a maintenance delay or an issue with the crew that ruins your travel plans the airline is obligated to compensate you for that delay? Even misplaced luggage and slow WiFi can earn you rewards. Not all airlines offer cash compensation, though. If that’s the case with your airline, ask for airline miles instead.

TIP: Don’t take to social media to complain about your ruined travel plans. Instead, file a formal complaint with customer relations. You’ll be more likely to get free mileage if you do it that way.

1. Comfort Items

Comfort Items
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Need a blanket, pillow or sleeping mask on your flight? If you ask a flight attendant nicely, they’ll give you what you need to make your flight more comfortable.

But that’s not all. You can also request more comfortable seating. Your chances of actually getting another seat once you board the plane are somewhat slim, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. And, the best part of all is that some airlines won’t even charge you for it.


For more tips, check out these ten hacks on how to make air travel more enjoyable. Plus, find out the ten things you should never do at the airport or when staying at a hotel. Thanks for reading, and happy travels!