If you’re disgruntled by high air fares or the extra fees that seem to be for nothing, you’ll be pleased to know that there are still some free in-flight perks. Okay, so they aren’t anything you’re going to write home about but hey, in these days of tight budgets, anything that eases the pain of spending money helps, right? So, the next time you fly, make sure you take advantage of these free in-flight perks where you can.
1. Free Blankets
I was appalled when I was shivering cold on a flight and told I had to hand over $7 if I wanted a blanket. I was suffering a little from heat stroke and had to pay for the blanket to get warm. It’s amazing that many airlines operate a bring your own blanket policy, but that means that some airlines are bucking this trend and offering blankets as free in-flight perks. You can get free blankets on Hawaiian airlines, Air Berlin and Air Canada.
2. Free Movies
I remember the days when it was one in-flight movie and if you didn’t like it, tough. We’ve moved on though and some of the top world airlines are happy to offer us free on-demand movies on board. Air Canada – which seems to be blazing quite a trail in free in-flight perks – offers one of the most extensive ranges of on-demand movies. Other carriers offering on-demand in-flight movies are Emirates, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America.
3. Free Bag Checking
Okay, so free bag check-in is not strictly an in-flight perk but to me, it’s quite scandalous that you have to pay. When I first started flying, it didn’t even really matter if you were a couple of kilos over on your luggage let alone consider there would be a charge for stashing your suitcase in the luggage hold. How different it is now with so many domestic airlines charging us for checking in luggage. The good news is that most international airlines still allow free bags (Lufthansa allow up to 3 bags) and in the USA, for internal flights on Jet Blue and Southwest, bags go free. You might also find that baggage fee waivers is one of the complimentary flight services offered by some airline loyalty schemes.
4. Free Wi-Fi
It was only natural that when Wi-Fi became available on planes, those canny airline execs saw the opportunity to make passengers pay. While Wi-Fi is fast becoming a feature on most airlines and airlines, it isn’t always a free service. It’s best to check with the airline you’re flying with because this is a rapidly changing market. I know that JetBlue Wi-Fi will be free from September this year and there are rumors about Delta and Virgin going free this year too. Norwegian Airlines already offer free Wi-Fi.
5. Free Drinks
This is one of the free in-flight services I just don’t get! They charge for checked luggage, blankets, headphones and even exit-row seats yet, they provide free alcoholic beverages. Where’s the logic in that? As someone who never drinks in the air, I’d prefer my ticket price to be reduced or have my bag checked for free. And it is in economy/coach class. Free alcohol is not just for premium classes. Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Air France are among the top carriers who offer free drinks. Air France even offers free champagne on its long-haul international routes.
6. Free TV
If you’ve seen the in-flight movies on offer (and there’s no on-demand service), maybe you’d prefer some TV – you might be able to catch up some episodes of the favorite shows you’ve missed. Jet Blue wasn’t mentioned in the free movies category as they charge $5.99 a viewing, but they offer more than 30 free live TV channels. Lufthansa offers 30+ too alongside its free movies and Virgin America is another carrier that presents free live satellite TV.
7. Free Snacks
Most discount airlines offer snack boxes but in real terms they are expensive and not good value for money. There are some carriers however are still generous enough to offer free munchies including Jet Blue (they aren’t doing too badly in the stuff for free on airplanes stakes!), Vision, Hawaiian, AirTran and Delta.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, in-flight freebies are not going to make you jump for joy but they are there, so make use of them where you can. Have you been pleasantly surprised by some free in-flight perks you didn’t know about until you were on the plane? Or, maybe you have been shocked at a service you’ve had to pay for? We’d love to know.