7 Free Things You Can Get on a Plane

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From shrinking seats to ever-dwindling in-flight amenities, the airline industry really earns its tightfisted reputation. But if you know what to ask for, you’ll find that in-flight offerings are not quite as stingy as they seem. We asked author and former flight attendant  for her tips on the free extras and services only available to those who know to ask.

So next time you’re hit with a headache onboard or have a thirst that’s going to take more than a glorified Dixie cup of soda to quench, know you can ask for—and most likely receive—a little onboard assistance.

The Whole Can

When you factor in the pile of ice that flight attendants load into those little plastic airline cups, you’ll find you’re not getting much liquid on each pass of the beverage cart. If you’ve got a thirst that’s going to take more than a few tablespoons of soda to quench, consider politely asking your flight attendant for the whole can. Blair says that most of the time, they’re happy to oblige. And if they can’t—for instance, because the plane is low on cans or isn’t getting restocked in the next city—flight attendants will still usually offer to simply come by again to refill your cup.

Seconds on snacks

Most airplanes are well stocked on chips and other in-flight snacks. If you’re still hungry after the first round, ask your flight attendant if there are enough leftovers for seconds.

A baby-sitting break.

Even parents have to use the bathroom sometimes. So if you’re flying alone with your child and have to use the loo, most attendants are more than willing to watch your baby while your run to the back for a few minutes. Heck, they might even enjoy the adorable break!

First-aid items.

Have a blister? Ask your attendant for a band-aid. They have all the basics on board and some airlines can even give out pain relievers if you have a headache and forgot your bottle of ibuprofen at home.

A wing pin for kids.

One way to turn your kiddo’s frown upside down on a long flight? Ask the flight attendant if they give out these airline logo pins. The “gift” is sure to make your child feel special — and hopefully happy for the rest of the flight.

Hot chocolate

Water, tea, and coffee are the most popular drinks during a flight. Many big companies expanded this list a long time ago. Hot chocolate, for example, may already be on the list of hot beverages available onboard. Take a chance, and ask a flight attendant for it.

Cockpit tour

Some companies encourage a passenger’s passion to know more about aviation. You won’t hear about this service while onboard, but you can politely ask a flight attendant to show your kid the cockpit. The chances will increase after the landing of the aircraft.

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