Though you probably know a few hacks for upgrading to a better seat before you hop a plane, even savvy jet-setters might not be aware of everything you can ask for while in the air. Every plane has different amenities and what you’re offered on a 7-hour flight across the Atlantic might not be available on a puddle-jumper between domestic cities. From childcare (for real!) to eating another serving of inflight dining options, you can totally ask for these things next time you hand over your boarding pass:
Spent the weekend at your bestie’s bachelorette in Miami and you have a case of the worst hangover ever? Or did you finally work up the nerve to go skydiving and happened to scuff up your hands when you hit the ground? No prob. Most planes come equipped with a robust first aid kit for any passenger in need. Though you might not want to admit to the flight attendant that your head is pounding because of one-too-many vodka sodas... especially if you’re ordering a side of bloody mary to get through the pain.
2. A second meal
Full disclosure: an airline’s ability to offer you another meal is dependent on various factors, including if it’s an economy carrier and how many hungry passengers are onboard. That being said, it’s not just JetBlue that will kindly let you have another snack if you ask politely for it. To make sure they’re stocked with anything that might happen while 35,000 feet in the sky, most aircrafts have more than enough extras. So the lesson? It never hurts to ask, as long as you're not on an uber-budget carrier. Just don’t forget to be polite in the process.
3. Help with your kiddos
If you’re a parent who braves flying with infants, toddlers, or kids, you’ve likely been on many Google frenzies, figuring out how to handle your most precious cargo while onboard. There are many amenities that most airlines offer for kids, including coloring pages, special tot-friendly meals and even an attachable bassinet. Some airlines though, go a step further, according to Around-the-World-With-Kids.com, and will actually look after your child for when you need to use the restroom or just want to stretch out. Gulf Air and Etihad are among the carriers that sometimes have trained nannies, too. If you’re taking a longer flight, say to the Middle East, Emirates has a "Fly With Me Monsters" gift for kids that includes blankets, a backpack and a magazine full of puzzles, coloring pages, and cartoons.
4. A doctorThough it’s rare (and can be tragic, in the recent case of Carrie Fisher), sometimes emergencies happen when you’re miles above ground and you need assistance, fast. If you’ve ever wondered how someone would come to your side, rest assured that all cabin crews are trained to call for a doctor in urgent matters. From a heart attack to a seizure, there is likely at least one health professional on your flight who can lend their expertise — as happened with Fisher. And some airlines, like Lufthansa, have a program that awards doctors frequent-flyer points if they identify themselves as an M.D.
5. Sanitizing wipesEspecially at the busiest airports in the world, there is not a lot time from when a plane lands to when the next sea of passengers rushes in to take off. While cleaning crews are always deployed to do a fast sweep, you might still have a little OCD when you set in your seat and notice a sticky armrest. No worries: Ask your flight attendant for sanitizing wipes. Most airlines carry them for this reason exactly, and it never helps to be extra-clean. Especially because the dirtiest places on airplanes may not even be the most obvious ones.
6. Water bottle refillIf you have a strong bladder and an aisle seat, consider BYOWB on your next flight: bring your own water bottle. When asked nicely, most flight attendants will fill (or at least partially fill) your own container for you with water. Since flying will dry out your skin and can leave you feeling dehydrated, extra H2O is never a bad idea. That said, you've been well warned about drinking water on airplanes here and here.
7. A will (gulp)Caution: If you have a fear of flying or dying on an aircraft, you might want to skip this freebie. Or maybe, face your fear and feel rest assured that if something happens to you, your pilot can be your last will-and-testament. As you prepare to croak, whatever you say to the pilot can actually serve as your dying words and can stand up in court.
8. A birthday cake
One way to make your bestie, parent, sibling, or partner feel super ridiculously special? Pre-order a birthday cake to surprise them with while they’re flying. Two airlines currently offer this amenity — Emirates and Singapore Air — but you only need to notify them at least 24 hours in advance to make it happen. Best birthday ever? We think so! (Now if only their wish to move up to first class would come true…)
9. Wine tasting
While this perk is really only for those who can afford to sit in business or first class (womp, womp), it’s pretty cool to ask for: a wine tasting! Sommeliers onboard Singapore Airlines can do a wine tasting with you to find the best fit for your palette and on your meal choice. Talk about flying high class.
10. Bloody MarysWhat better way to have brunch (or really, any meal) than with a free cocktail? Believe it or not, British Airways doesn’t just offer the typical freebies for their guests, the carrier also adds in a few alcoholic additions, too. When boarding a longer flight, you’ll be given headphones, a dental kit (no one likes to nap on a redeye and wake up with that morning breath, right?), eyemask, and socks to keep your feet warm on a freezing plane. And hey, if you ask for it, they’ll add in an bloody mary, since they often carry tomato juice and tabasco sauce.
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