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Travel Perks: 6 secret freebies and services you can find on flights

It is nice to know that in life some things are still free on long-haul flights. Skyscanner Australia spoke with some international flight crew members to give you an insight into the free perks you can ask for on flights that the staff won’t advertise.

Grinners will be winners

Before we go any further, the first thing to take note of is if you want to secure some of these free flight perks then you will have to earn it – by being nice. No air steward will go out of their way for a whinging, annoying, complaining passenger. You are not the only person on the plane, so help make the air steward’s shift more bearable and you may find yourself with a first-class treat such as a cappuccino or cheese plate.

Flight perks for kids

Airlines don’t want screaming children any more than you do, but some are more willing to help you keep your kids quiet. Most stewards are only too happy to help out on long-haul flights with holding the baby, particularly if you are solo with children. Etihad has taken the service a step further with an on-board nanny who will entertain the kids and get them off to sleep. On long-haul flights most airlines offer kid packs, but increasingly domestic flights also have offerings for the smallest on board. It pays to inquire.

Mother sits in her seat and holds her baby on the plane

1. A second serving at mealtime

On some flights it is possible to get “seconds” at mealtime. Be patient and wait until everyone is fed and then ask. Your chances of success are increased depending on the flight. Passengers will often skip meals during late-night flights or if they prefer sleep over breakfast. Sometimes if meal choices run out in economy the crew will obtain food from premium or business class. But it depends on the crew and if you expect it, likely as not it won’t happen.


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2. Cockpit Tours

Officially the cockpit is a no-go zone so don’t hop on your international flight and expect one-on-one time with the captain. But depending on the size of the plane and where you are, it is sometimes possible to have a peek inside the cockpit – especially if you are asking on behalf of your kids. Pick your timing – if you are happy to wait until everyone has left the plane, that’s when pilots tend not to be as rushed and happy to accommodate the request.


Travel Perk - cockpit tours


3. Socks and things to make you sleep

If there is one thing you can get for free, it is a pair of socks. No one wants to pad around the plane in bare feet but keeping your shoes on all the time can be annoying. Some airlines take the service up a notch with slippers. Eye shades to help you sleep and ear plugs are also there for the asking. And if things get really messy and you spill food on yourself, there is usually a spare pair of pyjamas available.


Air passenger with head turned toward window asleep


Read more: How to sleep on long-haul flights

4. Basic Medicines and Bandages

Under law, stewards are not allowed to dispense even aspirins, so it is worth bringing your own basic painkillers in case of headache. But there is a first aid kit on board, sanitary products and likely a doctor if you begin to feel too unwell. If you help the crew solve problems such as seating or medical calls they are likely to give gifts such as champagne or even some duty free.

5. Free snacks

Okay so it isn’t a magnum of Moet champagne, but if you’re hungry and can’t wait till meal time, ask an air steward politely and they will be more than happy to offer a refill of nuts and pretzels once they’ve done their drinks rounds.

6. Free toiletries

Lastly, there’s is nothing worse than arriving in a new country with a mossy mouth. Most international flights have mini toothpaste kits. Just ask and arrive at your destination with minty fresh breath.

Do you have your own stories on how to get more bang for your buck on flights. Share them with Skyscanner Australia. And if you are ready to fly away check out the latest deals on flights, hotels and car hire.

Read more: How to fly business class for cheaper than you’d think


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