The entire process of flying seems to become more expensive with each takeoff. Complimentary headsets and unlimited mini wine bottles are quickly becoming a thing of flights past – a frightening turn of events for a frugal traveler’s credit card. As you pre-pack your airplane snacks and restrain yourself from buying a mediocre $15 omelet, scan this list for a few freebies you can take advantage of on route. Here are our Top 5 favourite airport freebies!
1. Food & Drinks
First up: snacks and coffee. Whether these airports are motivated by limiting passengers with the ‘hungry grumps’, or are simply being generous, the pre or post flight pick me up is a welcome delight!
- If flying into Fort Wayne, Indiana (USA), be sure to keep an eye out for volunteers handing out free cookies to arriving passengers in the baggage claim area!
- Try to schedule flights into the Canadian Prairies for Friday afternoons. At Grand Prairie airport in Alberta, they hand out complimentary popcorn from 12:30pm to 4pm.
- Flying Emirates via Dubai? Passengers with layovers of over 4 hours are entitled to a free meal voucher! To collect the voucher, swing by the Transfer Desk at H2.
- In Munich’s Terminal 2 security area, Lufthansa occasionally provides complimentary coffee and tea to passengers, in addition to a daily newspaper.
Almost equally as valued as food are a few minutes of complimentary internet. These airports graciously save a traveler a few –or more accurately, a dozen – dollars by providing free internet access to passengers.
- While many airports now offer time-limited use of WiFi, Abu Dhabi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Dublin, Helsinki, Singapore Changi, Toronto, and Vancouver all offer UNLIMITED free Wi-Fi (and internet kiosks) to all passengers.
- Should you find yourself in Tallinn, Estonia be sure to hop into the first ever Skype booth to quickly call home. Wi-Fi is also unlimited and free here.
3. Power to Charge Our Gadgets
Of course, all that unlimited free Wi-Fi isn’t of much use if your smartphone has died. Rather than scouring the terminal for a plug and pitching up on the floor beside it, more airports are starting to install free power towers designed with passengers in mind.
- Thanks to United Airlines, nearly all major airports in America will soon have these stations at United gates. Each tower will have six outlets and two USB ports, for all your charging needs.
- A few airports, including Toronto Pearson and Buffalo, have taken things a step further and installed free workstations throughout the airport, where you receive a plug, a desk and a chair!
- Keep an eye out for PowerKiss tables in Europe. Piloted in Helsinki, passengers using this free service only need to pick up a ‘ring’ at the main desk, attach it to their phone, and then drop their phone on any PowerKiss-enabled table located throughout restaurants and cafes. Convenient and free – not bad!
Now, when arriving after a particularly long flight, few things feel better than a quick shower. Rather than entering a new country with that post-flight look, these airports offer up a free shower to arriving and transit passengers. Just double-check beforehand whether the service includes the option to rent a towel – curiously, a few airports require you to bring your own.
- Perhaps in recognition of their isolated location, most free showers exist in airports throughout Australasia in the international arrivals halls. Be sure to keep an eye out for them in Sydney, Christchurch, Brisbane and Auckland.
- Outside of Australasia, a few other airports offer up a refreshing shower to arriving and transit passengers. These airports include: London Stansted, Taipei and Dubai.
5. A Place to Nap
When stuck with a long layover, a free snooze chair is the icing on the cake. While things get a bit competitive when vying for one of these chairs, those who score one are in for a treat.
- Changi Singapore has a series of free rest areas throughout the airport, with specially designed reclining leather snooze chairs for transit passengers.
- While African airports are typically not something to write home about, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia lines the departures terminal with delightful snooze chairs. As a continental transit hub, these are much appreciated!
- Charles de Gaulle in Paris opened the S4 – a satellite terminal at 2E. International passengers here and in 2E can stretch their legs on colourful reclining snooze chairs before their departure.
- A number of other airports are jumping on the snooze-chair train, including Seoul Incheon, London Heathrow, Doha, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.
Surprisingly enough, the freebies do not end here! Many airports offer free things to do during your layover. Check out “Airport Activities: 10 (Surprising) Ways to Enjoy Your Airport Layover” for a list of activities. We’d love to hear about more perks scored by our readers in the comments!