By Andrea Romano
October 03, 2019

In a world where airlines are increasingly itemizing and charging for every little service — from choosing your own seat to simply bringing your carry-on bag — getting a perk for nothing seems like a thing of the past.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, especially when it comes to getting a free cocktail on a flight.

According to SFGate, there is actually a way to get a free drink the next time you fly and you don’t even have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get it.

Ex-flight attendant Shawn Kathleen, who now runs the Passenger Shaming Instagram account, told SFGate the key to getting a nice Bloody Mary or Gin & Tonic on your flight. The secret? Just be nice and polite. And if all else fails, share some candy.

“One thing I like to tell people, it's so rudimentary, is just saying 'Hello, are you having a good day?' If you're acknowledging [the flight attendants’] existence, I swear to God, you'll be like George Clooney,” Kathleen told SFGate. She added that she would sometimes tally up the number of people who would barely notice that flight attendants are there, smiling, and saying, “How are you today?” before their flights. She didn’t reveal the average number of people doing this, but you can guess that it’s pretty common.

After all, flights are stressful and tiring, so the majority of people boarding are just focused on getting into their seats and claiming their overhead bin space.

Robert Alexander/Getty Images

But there’s no reason not to be respectful or even say a “hello” and “how do you do?” to your flight attendant. More often than not, it’ll actually make your flight better.

Kathleen also told SFGate that if you truly want to get into your flight attendant’s good graces, a tiny gift also goes a long way.

“Bring them chocolate. Bring them candy. It's a few bucks just to say thanks,” she said to SFGate. “A lot of people send me images where they'll have them sitting out on their tray table and I always think that's awesome. I guarantee you'll get free drinks with that. One hundred percent.”

SFGate tried out these techniques and actually found them to be very effective. Think about it this way: You would tip your bartender, your waitress, your Uber driver, and your pizza delivery guy, so why not tip your flight attendant? But instead of a monetary tip, it’s more like a kind gesture or sign of appreciation and thoughtfulness.

It’s still important to note that sometimes this technique might always work in getting you free stuff, though being nice and friendly will still be appreciated by your cabin crew regardless.

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