Posts in the category "Free Stuff":

Spas at O’Hare & free ice-cream for Virgin America passengers

Good news for anyone who finds themselves stuck at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

There are now full-service spas in the domestic terminals.


Terminal Getaway Spa, which already has a branch at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), has opened two branches at O’Hare: one in Terminal 1 near Gate B14 and another in Terminal 3 near Gate H1.

A third branch is scheduled to open this spring in the H/K Corridor, near the American Airlines Admirals Club.

Services on the menu include manicures, pedicures, massages and more.

And, if you’re flying on Virgin America out of San Francisco between March 4- June 30, you can get free ice-cream – on the ground.

VIrgin America Ice cream

As part of a roll-out for the new menu for first-class passengers on the airline’s long-haul business flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles to Newark, New York, Boston and Washington National Airport, the airline is offering travelers in any cabin a free scoop of Humphry Slocombe’s ice cream.

The San Francisco-based ice-cream maker has whipped up three ice cream flavors for Virgin American – Butter By Moodlight, Red-Hot Banana and Coconut Blond Ambition – and Virgin America is inviting the public to vote via Twitter on which should be the airline’s signature flavor served on board.

Free tastings took place at San Francisco International Airport on Feb. 20, but from March 4 – June 30, anyone showing a Virgin America boarding pass at either of the Humphry Slocombe’s two San Francisco locations (The Ferry Building & Mission) can get a free scoop.

In addition to the new first-class menu, Virgin America is also updating its First Class service settings with hot towel and linen table service available on all flights.

Free beer on two Alaska Airlines routes in Alaska

BEER on ALASKA AIRLINES_ Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Kleen Kanteen – full of Silver Gulch Beer – courtesy Alaska Airlines


While complimentary amenities for economy passengers continue to fade away, Alaska Airlines is bringing one of its most popular free treats to two routes in the northernmost state: free beer.

Starting March 3, when the airline’s sister carrier, Horizon Air, begins flying 76-passenger Bombardier Q400 planes between Anchorage and Fairbanks and Anchorage and Kodiak, complimentary Alaskan-made microbrew will be offered.

The beer—Old 55 Pale Ale—is made by Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling in Fox, Alaska, 10 miles north of Fairbanks, and “will be as fresh as can be,” said Lisa Luchau, Alaska Airlines’ director of onboard food and beverage.

“Silver Gulch will bring the beer down from Fairbanks to their facility at the Anchorage Airport and put it daily into environmentally friendly, stainless steel growlers called Kleen Kanteens, which our caterers will pick up and load onto the flights,” she said.

While cups of Silver Gulch beer will be served only as part of the new Horizon Air service in Alaska, complimentary Northwest wines and microbrews are served on most all Horizon Air flights longer than 40 minutes.

According to Luchau, Horizon Air, which flies to 39 cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico, updates the wines each quarter and the microbrews each month.

“The service is an important part of what we offer. And customers really enjoy it, as you can imagine,” she said.

Most Horizon flights are short, and Luchau said flight attendants are told to pour about 6½ ounces of the complimentary beverages into each 9 ounce glass. “Some flight attendants may be pouring more generously, but most passengers are just getting a sample,” said Luchau.

Although Luchau declined to say how much the airline spends on the beer and wine service, she said it remains “part of the brand … an expense built into the budget.”

Like Porter Airlines, a Canadian regional airline that serves complimentary beer from a brewery near the airline’s base airport in Toronto, Horizon’s beer and wine service “is a small signature touch that has a large impact on how passengers perceive their flight with the airline,” Raymond Kollau of Amsterdam-based said in an email.

“It also shows how a relatively small airline such as Horizon is rooted in the local communities it serves, while the airline’s relatively small scale allows local breweries to guarantee supply.”

Old 55 Pale Ale—described by Silver Gulch president Glenn Brady as “a really nice beer that has a broad appeal”—will likely be served on Horizon’s two Alaska routes for about two months and then swapped out for another Silver Gulch craft beer.

“We’ll see how Silver Gulch works as a partner and how the logistics of the Kleen Kanteens work out,” said Luchau.

In March, the Horizon Air high-speed, twin-engine Q400 turboprops will be begin flying in Alaska and be used for eight of nine daily flights between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The Q400 will also replace an Alaska 737 plane on one of two daily seasonal (October to April) round-trip flights between Anchorage and Kodiak.

(My story about complimentary microbrews being served on Alaska Airlines’ new Horizon Air service in Alaska first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior)

Delta rolls beverage carts into city streets

Not content with simply spicing up their in-flight safety video this holiday season, Delta Air Lines has made its beverage cart the star of a new music video in which flight attendants and pilots team up with musicians and performance artists for a tune that makes use of seatbelts, cups, spoons and other familiar, and usually less theatrical, in-flight items.

The airline is also taking the carts off planes and into city streets.

Through Dec. 21, Delta flight attendants and pilots will be bringing the “Cheer Carts” to popular locations in New York City, Seattle, Atlanta and Los Angeles, along with live music and complimentary treats, including coffee, those tasty Biscoff cookies and assorted giveaway items.

For exact locations and hours, check or follow @delta on Twitter.

Wine flies free on Alaska Airlines in OR & WA


Visiting wineries is a popular tourist activity in Oregon and Washington.

But taking home a case of a new favorite wine on the airplane can be a problem.

Now Alaska Airlines is working with wineries, wine boards and tourism groups in the region to allow travelers to fly their wine home for free.

The Oregon Wines Fly Free program starts September 10 and will enable domestic passengers on Alaska Airlines to check one case of Oregon wine free on a return flight out of four Oregon airports – Portland, Eugene, Medford and Redmond – as well as Walla Walla, Wash, through November 20, 2013.

Passengers showing their Alaska Airlines boarding passes within a week of their arrival in Oregon will also be eligible for free wine tastings at any of more than 180 participating Oregon wineries.

In Washington state, the Taste and Tote program, already underway, allows passengers to check one case of wine free from the Yakima, Tri Cities/Pasco or Walla Walla on Alaska Airlines. Wine tastings are free at participating wineries as well for those who show their in-bound boarding pass.
In Washington, the program began in September, 2012 and was designed as a minimum two year project.
Let’s hope it continues.

Souvenir Sunday: Free books at Sea-Tac Airport

Sunday is Souvenir Sunday here at, a day to take a look at some of the fun, inexpensive and local things you can buy while you’re waiting for your flight.

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday we spotted a few of these kiosks, sponsored by the King County Library System, and they were all stocked with – free! – books and magazines. What a great idea!


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