[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — Gold Delta SkyMiles card from American Express. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
It seems like airlines are adding fees for everything, like sitting together with your family and choosing an aisle or window seat. But, surprisingly, there are still some things you can get for free when you’re cruising at 30,000 feet. Here are 11 of them. (Note: Not all of these items are offered on every airline, so it’s important to check with your specific carrier about any additional fees for these perks before boarding.)
1. Extra Snacks
That tiny bag of peanuts may not curb your hunger. Assuming there is enough for everyone to get at least one snack, attendants will likely give you seconds if you ask for them, according to Business Insider.
2. Sanitizing Wipes
You may want to wipe down the arm rests or tray table once you sit down. If you don’t travel with Clorox wipes, your flight attendant might have some on hand, Business Insider reported.
3. A Whole Can of Soda/Water Bottle Refills
If the half cup of soda they provide during the in-flight service just doesn’t quench your thirst, most flight attendants are happy to give you the full can. And if you’ve brought your own refillable water bottle on board, they’ll likely top it off with fresh ice and water at no extra charge.
4. Blanket & Pillow
If you don’t have one of the neck pillows you often see clipped to many travelers’ backpacks, the in-flight service crew may be able to give you one. You may also request a blanket on some airlines. Certain airlines even have these complimentary comforts on the seats upon boarding, especially for first or business class passengers.
5. Wing Pins
If you’re traveling with kids, pilot wings (either as a pin or sticker) is a great freebee to inquire about. Forbes recently reported that American Airlines just brought back these collectibles.
6. Basic First Aid Items
SmarterTravel reports that most airlines equip their planes with a First Aid kit, so if you get a paper cut flipping through your magazine or newspaper during the flight, don’t hesitate to ask for a Band-Aid.
7. Swag Bags
Some airlines provide kits filled with things you can use on the flight, like ear plugs, eye masks, socks, chapstick and more. These are often given out on international flights, but sometimes you may get them when you’re catching a red eye, as with JetBlue’s Shut-eye Service.
Depending on which airline you’re traveling with, you may not have to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi service. JetBlue, for example, offers free in-flight Internet access on some of their planes, but you should check with your airline before you travel to see if they offer this amenity.
If you’re flying in first class, alcoholic beverages are often included for those 21 and older, but some airlines offer free cocktails, beer or wine no matter where your seat is. However, the caveat is that this usually only applies to international flights.
You may remember a time when you had to use airline-specific headphones with a double plug on flights, but that isn’t the case anymore. If you forget your earbuds, some airlines will give you new ones you can keep and actually reuse later. (This may only apply to select routes or business and first class seats, so you may still want to bring your own, just in case.)
11. Checked Luggage
Another airline freebie you may be able to take advantage of is free checked baggage. While this is customary on very few airlines, you may still enjoy this perk if you have an airline credit card. (You can read about some of the best airline cards in America here.) For example, the Gold Delta SkyMiles card from American Express (which you can read a full review of here), gives cardholders their first checked bag for free.
Before you sign up for any credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit score, as having good credit can help you qualify for better terms and conditions. To see where your credit currently stands, you can view your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
At publishing time, the Gold Delta SkyMiles card from American Express card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
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