It seems we pay for almost everything connected to travel these days, certainly on most domestic flights; I’m talking about meals, checked-bags, sometimes even a glass of water (on Spirit).
But there are still a few bargains – and even a freebie or two.
Freebies for Fliers
Some are new, some have been around for a while, all can make a trip a little bit better.
- Free food: It’s not a meal but a snack is better than nothing and both Southwest and JetBlue are generous with choices. We also like United’s relatively new Stroopwafel and Delta’s longtime offering – Biscoff cookies.
- Free entertainment: American just announced free entertainment on most flights, joining Delta and to a lesser extent, United. All three freebies include Game of Thrones episodes.
- Free flirting: Virgin America’s Seat-to-Seat Delivery + Chat service gets you food when you want it (no waiting for meal carts but you do have to pay); it also allows communications between passengers. This could be handy should you wish to contact a co-worker seated far from you but the airline also suggests it could be useful contacting someone you’d like to get to know better.
- Free bags: Southwest still offers free carry-ons and free checked bags (two in fact). Spirit offers none but does allow a little bag for free (little as in small backpack). It must fit under a seat, though.
- Freebie for misplaced bags: The FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 says airlines must automatically refund baggage fees when a suitcase arrives 12 hours (or more) late after a domestic flight or 18 hours late for international travel.
- Bargain for late bags: If your bag takes longer than 20 minutes to get to the carousel, Alaska Airlines gives you a $25 voucher or points. Nice.
- Bargain security: TSA’s PreCheck lets you skip the long lines at security and at just $85 for a five year membership, it’s a bargain. Adult memberships also include children under twelve which means if you travel twice a year with two youngsters, it’s less than $6 per person per flight.