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Flying with kids 14 things you get for free on the plane

Flying with children is expensive; and even the tickets of low-cost airlines are, thanks to numerous extra items, quite a bit more expensive than the advertising promises. How fortunate that there are still quite a few things you can get for free on a plane with kids. Just ask!

If you ask, you get – often free extras!!

(There are still no restraint systems for children on board – too expensive, unfortunately).)

But even in these stingy times, you’ll still get a whole host of amenities on board for free! You just need to know what to ask for.

And of course it pays off if you get in good with the friendly ladies and gentlemen of the cabin crew right at boarding – they are more generous than you might think.

If you’re thirsty, have a headache, or fear a diaper emergency on your next flight, you know who to ask.

These 14 things you get for free on the plane

Another seat

Selecting a particular seat today unfortunately costs an extra fee even for families with children. With more than three fellow travelers, the final cost is almost higher than the bargain ticket price.

While all airlines assure you they will never seat children separately from their parents, even at check-in without a seat reservation. In our personal experience, however, they do.

Did you forget to make a reservation or was it too expensive and now you are sitting at different ends of the cabin? If you’re not the last passenger to board, flight attendants are often willing to help you switch seats. It is best to ask for their help during boarding and give them time until all other passengers have taken their seats. If flight schedules are tight, you may have to wait until after takeoff!

They can’t force anyone, but passengers traveling alone are usually willing to change seats with you or your child after a friendly request from a stewardess.

The whole can

The food looks great in business class. But also in the Economy you get a lot of things

Given the admonitions that you should drink more rather than less when flying, you really have nothing to be ashamed of if this is not enough for you. A polite request for the complete water bottle, Coke can, etc. will most likely not be denied to you. On the contrary: the stewardesses prefer that than if you ask for a new cup several times.

Sometimes it just doesn’t fit – because the landing approach is imminent or there is no opportunity to replenish supplies after landing. But then the flight attendant will surely offer you to come to your seat again and at least refill it.

Fill up your water bottle

The flight crew prefers it even more if you take care of your own supplies. Your empty water bottle will be refilled with water or tea if you ask nicely.

And if you have a toddler (guideline: under 3 years old) with you, the water bottle may also be taken through security unemptied.

Standard medication and bandages

Small aches and pains occur more often than you think on board an aircraft – because not only passengers, but also flight attendants and of course the pilots sometimes have a headache, an upset stomach or a small injury.

That’s why the crews are equipped for all eventualities. And most of them are generous enough to give you some of it on request. Painkillers, medicines against heartburn and plasters are always available. Flight attendants are also skilled at improvising cold packs, either from plastic bags or the barf bags.

Different food

The children’s menu doesn’t taste good, even though it’s decorated with your favorite comic book characters? You ordered a vegetarian meal and forgot that you hate mushrooms? If you want to exchange a special menu for a "normal" airplane meal, this is usually possible.

Even on a completely full plane, there are always a few more menus because passengers often have a choice between two alternatives. If you are satisfied with the unpopular one (chicken beats fish almost always), you have a good chance.

On the other hand, it might be more difficult: That’s because the special menus, which are served about 30 minutes earlier, are exactly counted out.

Eat later

You want to sleep through your long-haul flight and not be woken up in the middle of it for a bland tasting breakfast?

No problem: Many airlines offer small tags, stickers or similar that you can attach to your seat to signal that you do not want to be woken up for food or duty-free shopping. Your food will not be reheated and will be served fresh later on.

It is different if you decide to continue sleeping only when you see your meal: Once a meal has been reheated, it cannot be served to you again.

Request a refill

If the sandwich or the bag of chips did not fill you up? If your airline offers complimentary snacks or meals, you are free to ask for a second helping. You will only be denied this request if there is really nothing left after all passengers have been served.

Departure time gives you an indication of how likely seconds are: if you take off late in the evening, many passengers will decline their meal or snack, which will then be served in the middle of the night. On daytime flights or even in vacation planes, on the other hand, you will have a hard time with your request.

Hot water/microwave

Even on a cheap plane you can still get some things for free

On long-haul flights, you will most likely even be offered porridge jars; you can find out whether the brand in stock suits your taste by calling the customer hotline before departure.

Babysitting (for a while)

Parents flying alone with babies or toddlers need to go to the bathroom like everyone else – or need five minutes to themselves to quickly grab a bite to eat, change a spit-up shirt or just take a breath.

In every flight crew, there are at least a few employees who are more than happy to spend a few minutes with a cute baby and help mom or dad out. Don’t be surprised if the stewardess takes your seat for this: For safety reasons, flight personnel should not stand in the aisle when holding a baby.

Cockpit visit

A tour through the cockpit? But with pleasure!

The best time for such a visit is before takeoff or after landing (if there is enough time until the next "turn"). If you are the first passenger to board, or if you are seated far forward and are the first to disembark, you can politely ask the flight attendants for a look into the cockpit (don’t just knock on the cockpit door)!).

Wet wipes

Even frequent flyers are hardly aware of how many people operate the armrests, trays and buttons of the seat remote control one after the other, without a thorough cleaning being done. These often touched places are true breeding grounds for germs.

Especially during the cold season and when flying with explorative toddlers in the oral phase, it is a good idea to ask the cabin crew for some hygiene wipes. They are almost always in stock, although hardly any passengers ask for them.

Oh yes: On the airplane toilet you can and should use these cloths with pleasure too!


How many diapers to take only? The question is essential for parents of babies before a flight. It really doesn’t have to be a whole pack of Pampers. In the (not uncommon) event that your supply runs out earlier than planned, the crews will be happy to help you out.

In vacation planes and airliners, less often in budget airlines, at least diapers in size 2 and 3 are available, which should not fit only the very small and very large babies. And of course they will be happy to provide you with it if it can avoid an odor disaster for all the other passengers!

By the way, small packs of wet wipes and even butt creams are often included.


If you have only flown with charter airlines or even low cost carriers, you don’t know what treasures scheduled airlines have on board on medium and long haul routes. Usually all children are given a toy set at boarding to keep them occupied for a while.

If you are forgotten when handing out the toys, or if your child can’t do anything with his or her toy, no one will take your head off if you ask again if there are more or different toys on board.

Medical assistance

Almost all airline crews are trained for medical emergencies on board. Not only that: usually an announcement is then made asking for a doctor among the passengers. Even though the Hippocratic oath requires them to help anyway, some airlines even give doctors extra bonus miles if they identify themselves as such before takeoff.

So if you or your kids are feeling bad or a real emergency arises, you’re in good hands.

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