Flight Attendants Stage Mini Mutiny, Give Away Free Booze On Flight

No one — aside from airline shareholders — is a big fan of the numerous ancillary fees airlines continue to nickel-and-dime travelers with, not even the flight attendants. And at least on one recent flight, some attendants decided they were going to quietly flip the middle finger to their overlords by giving out a bunch of free stuff.

Luckily, CNBC’s John Carney was on this flight (he leaves the airline’s identity a secret) to witness what he called a “quiet mutiny.”

He writes that he first noticed what was going on when, after ordering a $10 chicken sandwich, the flight attendant “apologized” for the exorbitant price by giving him a free beer, followed by another gratis brew later.

And then when a woman in his aisle ordered a bottle of wine, the attendant wouldn’t take her money, saying instead, “Happy birthday,” and explaining that they were allowed to give out a freebie to birthday boys and girls (of legal drinking age, of course).

Writes Carney:

I started watching the attendants. I soon discovered that many passengers were getting free items. The attendants were conducting a quiet mutiny against the practice of charging for items that airline once gave away for free.

This was just one flight, of course. Maybe I was just lucky to fly with really generous attendants. But I doubt it. It’s more likely that this is happening on many flights and across all the big airlines.

We’d love to know — from either other travelers or from actual attendants — if this is indeed a growing trend. It would be easy to see why an attendant, tired of facing passengers angry about all the recently implemented fees, would start looking for loopholes to make the flight a little more pleasant.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.