Flight Attendant Shares Free Things People Didn't Know They Could Get

Flight attendant holding tray with coffee, mid section

Photo: Digital Vision

Buying plane tickets can be pretty pricey these days, but it turns out, they sometimes come with some free perks. When you fly economy, you’re stuck with cramped seats and limited food and beverage service, but you may be able to ask for some freebies that will make your experience a little more comfortable.

“Travel and Leisure” asked flight attendants and airline experts about what economy class passengers can request at no charge. Former flight attendant Matt James, explains that it really depends on the specific airline and their policies. But he says, “It’s always worth asking the flight attendant if they have any of these items available,” just keep in mind they’re not always going to.

Former flight attendant Susan Fogwell notes that routes make a difference, too, as more items are available on transatlantic flights than on domestic ones. While you’re almost always going to get a “no” on a request for a free upgrade, these are some of the items you may score for free on major airlines, according to flight attendants.

  • Free bottled water - You can almost always get a cup of water on a plane, but some airlines will give you a whole or half bottle if you ask.
  • Blankets and pillows - These are usually available since some planes can be very cold.
  • First-aid supplies - Commercial planes are equipped with first-air kids that include Band-Aids, gauze pads and antiseptic wipes and flight attendants can bring you what you need from those.
  • Over-the-counter medication - They also have access to painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen if you need them.
  • Kids’ activity books - Some airlines have these to entertain the little ones on board.
  • Headphones - Don’t expect noise-canceling over-ear ones in economy, but you may be able to get some basic wired ones for free, or for just a few dollars.
  • Extra snacks or drinks - If you ask politely, a flight attendant may be able to bring you another round of snacks and drinks.
  • Basic amenity kits - On long-haul flights, some airlines provide these to economy passengers. Air New Zealand offers kits with toothbrushes, earplugs, and eye masks for sleeping. While they don’t come with luxury hand creams like you’d get in business class, they can help you freshen up on the go.

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