Free Stuff

Alaska Airlines’ secret weapon to reduce plastic use

Today Alaska Airlines kicks off a campaign aimed at reducing the use of single-use plastics.

The secret weapon in the plan? You.

The airline’s #FillBeforeYouFly initiative is asking passengers to pitch in to reduce the use of single-use plastics inflight by bring their own water bottle and filling it up at the airport before they board.

To kick off the campaign, today Alaska will be giving out complimentary reusable water bottles in all 7 Alaska Airlines’ lounges and on select flights leaving Seattle and San Francisco International Airports.

In addition, the airline says it will plant a tree for every passenger who brings a pre-filled water bottle onto their flight and posts a photo to social media tagging @AlaskaAir with the hashtag #FillBeforeYouFly.

“Our ultimate goal is to work together with our guests and employees to improve the health of our water by reducing plastic use,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of external relations. ““Land, water, and animals are incredibly special parts of the places we live and fly – and we’re in this for the long term.”

Alaska estimates that if just 10% of its passengers bring their own pre-filled water bottle when they fly and choose reusables, it could save more than 700,000 plastic water bottles and 4 million plastic cups per year.

This isn’t Alaska Airline’s first step towards helping to save the planet: in 2018, Alaska became the first airline to replace single-use, plastic stir straws and citrus picks with sustainable alternatives and the airline recently replaced bottled beer with aluminum cans, which are lighter and easier to recycle.

Friday freebies: Free admission to parks and museums nationwide

Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago

Museums are great, but admission fees can sometimes make you think twice about checking out the exhibitions.

That’s why we love free museum days such as the Museums on Us program sponsored by Bank of America.

The program offers free general admission at more than 225 museums nationwide during the first full weekend of each month to anyone with a Bank of America, Merill Lynch or U.S. Trust credit or debit card.

This weekend, the first full weekend in September, you can get free admission in Chicago at the Alder Planetarium and the Art Institute of Chicago; in Atlanta at the Atlanta History Center and the High Museum of Art; and in San Francisco at the de Young Museum.

Check out the full list of museums offering free admission this weekend here.

Another year-round free entry program to keep in mind is the Every Kid Outdoors Program.

The program provides fourth graders with free, multi-use vouchers to national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries, and forests and is a collaboration between the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Forest Service.

The bonus here is that because fourth graders aren’t likely to drive themselves to these sites, the vouchers not only provide free entry for fourth graders, but to all children under 16 in a group and up to three accompanying adults – or an entire car for drive-in parks.

Find details about getting the pass here. Vouchers are valid now through August 31, 2020.

Deals, discounts & treats for travelers + moms

Mother’s Day celebrations at airports

Airports across the country will be marking Mother’s Day with complimentary flowers, music and more.

Today between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the post-security Great Hall at Los Angeles International Airport, the Mother’s Day celebration will include a photo booth, complimentary wooden roses, and appearances by some of the pups from the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) program.

And, as they have for many years, this weekend volunteers at Florida’s Jacksonville International Airport will likely be handing out flowers to arriving moms and those waiting for their moms.

We’ll add more Mother’s Day activities as they roll in.

Delta Air Lines rolling out free in-flight WiFI

Starting May 13, Delta Air Lines is kicking off a much-welcome two-week pilot program to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi in all cabins on 55 short, media and long-haul flights.

The carrier says this is the first step towards offering complimentary Wi-Fi for everyone, all the time.

“Customers are accustomed to having access to free Wi-Fi during nearly every other aspect of their journey, and Delta believes it should be free when flying, too,” said Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Director of Onboard Product in a statement. “Testing will be key to getting this highly complex program right – this takes a lot more creativity, investment and planning to bring to life than a simple flip of a switch.”

The free Wi-Fi service won’t support content streaming, but will let passengers browse, email, shop, message, and engage with social media for free.

Delta’s Wi-Fi for purchase and free mobile messaging will remain available throughout the test.

Take the train

Amtrak, which also offers free Wi-Fi, has launched an Unconditional Love Flash Sale now through Monday, May 13.

The two-for-one ticket offer is valid for travel nationwide between June 1 and September 30. Use discount code C250.

Bonus: if you’re an Amtrak Guest Rewards member (or sign up to be) you can also earn double points if you travel by May 18

Free stuff from airlines? Look for it on the ground

Courtesy UW Digital Collections

Don’t throw out – or delete – your airline boarding pass once you tough down.

Here’s a story I recently put together for CNBC about all the hidden perks airline – and railroad – boarding passes can provide.

Bonuses for air travelers include everything from free ski lift tickets, to complimentary wine tastings and discounts on meals, ground transportation and adventures.

Some of the deals below are offered for limited times or only during certain seasons. Others can be used multiple times. Read the program details and, of course, don’t be too quick to delete your boarding pass image from your phone or crumple up that paper pass after your trip.

Ski free

Skiers can score a free lift ticket and, in some cases, free or discounted gear rental by showing an Alaska Airlines boarding pass at a dozen ski resorts in Alaska, California, Canada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Utah. Most of the deals invite travelers to hit the slopes on the days they arrive or depart and can represent a savings of up to $200.

At some resorts, such as Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in North Lake Tahoe, California, guests who show a same-day boarding pass from any commercial airline receive a complimentary lift ticket for the day they arrive.

Sip and ship wine for free

In Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of California, an Alaska Airlines boarding pass is a win-win for fans of wine.

Through the airline’s “Wine Flies Free” program, members of the airline’s Mileage Plan frequent flyer plan may check a case (12 bottles) of wine for free when flying domestically on Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and SkyWest flights from 29 west coast cities, including San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Boise, ID.

In the wine regions of both Oregon and Washington, hundreds of participating wineries also offer complimentary tastings to anyone showing an in-bound Alaska Airlines boarding pass and proof of Mileage Plan membership.

And as part of Washington’s Taste and Tote program with Alaska, the drop-off fee will be waived for one-way Hertz rental cars picked up in Yakima, Pasco/Tri-Cities or Walla Walla and returned at one of the other two cities in the program.

Boarding pass deals from international carriers

Turkish Airlines passengers with layovers of between six and 24 hours in Istanbul can show their boarding passes at the Hotel Desk and join a free highlight tour of the city.

Korean Air’s Excellent Boarding Pass program offers a full week of perks in Korea to passengers who hold onto their international boarding pass from an overseas region. Passengers traveling from Korea to an international destination can take advantage of boarding pass offers for a full month.

In Korea, the perks include discounts on everything from meals, attractions and cultural performances to cell phone rentals, rail tickets and medical services. Worldwide, the perks range from discounts at outlet malls in the United States and 30 percent off single visits to the aquarium, zoo and other attractions in Sydney, Australia. 

Singapore Airlines’ Boarding Pass Privileges program offers Singapore Airlines and SilkAir passengers a full month of discounts on hotel stays, car rentals, meals, purchases and attractions, including the Gardens by Bay, the Singapore Flyer, and the Singapore Zoo. Deals are updated every six months and include discounts on shopping, dining and spa services inside Changi Airport as well.

The Magic Boarding Pass program from Asiana Airlines offers passengers discounts on tours, transportation, hotels, restaurants, shopping, theater and attractions around the world for up to a month after a flight. In Korea, the perks include discounts at Seoul’s Lotte World Aquarium and JeJu’s Teddy Bear Museum. In the U.S., Asiana Airlines passengers get a discount when riding the Hawaii’s Waikiki Trolley. And in Rome, pass holders gets a free gift with purchase at the Hard Rock Café.

Train travelers get boarding pass perks too

The boarding pass perks aren’t limited to air travelers. Amtrak and Eurostar riders get bonuses too.

In California, Amtrak has a discount offer on Disneyland Resort theme park tickets for passengers with reservations on the Pacific Surfliner. Many transit providers along the route also provide free bus or shuttle rides to passengers who show their Pacific Surfliner ticket. Train passengers may also purchase discounted day passes for the Los Angeles Metro and San Diego MTS buses and trolleys in the Surfliner’s Café Car.

A “Car Free” promotion in Santa Barbara  offers discounts on tours, attractions and meals to Amtrak ticket holders as well.

And Eurostar boarding passes entitle passengers to 2-for-1 tickets on entry and special paid exhibitions at museums in destination cities including London, Brussels, Paris and Lille, France.

Have you found a hidden perk in your boarding pass? Let us know!

Free meals for active military at airports on Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day active-duty military members will be able to get a free meal at airports in restaurants (listed below) operated by Delaware North.

Traveling on Thanksgiving day but not active militiary? Your meal won’t be free, but you’ll find many airport restaurants have turkey and Thanksgiving-themed meals on (traditional and not) on their menus.

 

On Thanksgiving Day, active-duty military members who show their military ID will receive one free entrée item and a free non-alcoholic beverage at more than 150 participating restaurants in 18 airports where Delaware North operates food and beverage outlets.

Participating locations include venues in airports in Atlanta, Austin, Nashville, Boston and many other airports listed below.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

40/40 Club (Concourse D)

Argo Tea (Concourse T)

Atlanta Stillhouse (Concourse T)

Bojangle’s (Concourse T)

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Concourse D and T)

Einstein Bros. Bagels (Concourse D)

FabYo (Concourse D)

Famous Famiglia (Concourse D)

The Market by Food & Wine (Concourse D)

Freshen’s (Concourse D)

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill (Concourse D)

Grindhouse Killer Burgers (Concourse D and T)

Harvest & Grounds (Concourse D)

Jamba Juice (Concourse T)

Mustard Seed (Concourse D)

Subway (Concourse T)

Terrapin Cigar and Smoke Lounge (Concourse D)

Uncle Maddio’s Pizza (Concourse T)

Wolfgang Puck Express (Concourse D)

 

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)

Annie’s Café & Bar (West Terminal)

Austin Java Coffee House (West Terminal)

Juice Land (Food Court)

Peached Tortilla (Food Court)

Salt Lick BBQ (Central Terminal)

iVini (West Terminal)

 

Nashville International Airport (BNA)

La Hacienda (Concourse A)

O’Charley’s (Concourse C)

Tootsie’s (Concourse C)

Whitt’s/Swett’s (Concourse C)

 

Boston Logan Airport (BOS)

Pei Wei (Terminal B)

WPizza (Terminal B)

 

Boise Airport (BOI)

13th Street Grille & Pub (pre-security)

Bardenay (Food Court)

Cross Grain Brewhouse (Concourse B)

Einstein Bros. Bagels (Food Court)

Harvest & Grounds (Concourse C)

Parilla (Concourse C)

River City Café (Concourse B)

Smashburger (Concourse B)

 

Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)

Anchor Bar

Blue Zone

Checkers

Coffee Beanery

Lake Erie Grille

Queen City Kitchen

Tim Horton’s

Villa Pizza

Which Wich?

 

Charleston International Airport (CHS)

Burger King (Central Hall)

Caviar & Banana’s (Central Hall)

Charleston Beer Works (Concourse A)

DeSano’s Pizza Kitchen (Concourse B)

Harvest & Grounds (pre-security and Central Hall)

Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Grill (Central Hall)

 

Denver International Airport (DEN)

Boulder Beer Tap House (Jeppensen Terminal West)

Denver Central Market (Concourse A)

Red Rocks Bar & BBQ (Jeppensen Terminal East)

 

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

360 Burrito (Terminal D)

Einstein Bros. Bagels (Terminal D)

Fuddruckers (Terminal D)

Railhead BBQ (Terminal D)

Salt Lick BBQ (Terminal A)

Twisted Root (Terminal A)

 

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (baggage claim)

Harvest & Grounds (McNamara Terminal C)

Hockeytown Café (North Terminal)

Le Petit Bistro (North Terminal)

Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen (McNamara Terminal)

Subway (McNamara Terminal A and C)

TGI Friday’s (North Terminal)

The Robert Mondavi Experience (McNamara Terminal C)

 

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

Blue Bar (Terminal 3F)

Burger King (Terminal 4G East)

Casavana Restaurant (Terminal 4G)

Chili’s Restaurant (Terminal 3)

Cross Grain Brewhouse (Terminal 4)

DeSano’s Pizza Kitchen (Terminal 4G)

Einstein Bros. Bagels (Terminal 3F)

Espresso Bar (Terminal 3F)

Food and Wine (Terminal 3F)

Harvest & Grounds (Terminal E-6 and Terminal 4)

Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Grill (Terminal 3E)

Kafe Kalik (Terminal 4G East)

Pei Wei (Terminal 3F)

Plane Box Food Company & Bar (Terminal 4G)

Steak ‘n Shake Signature (Terminal 3F)

Zona Fresca (Terminal 4G)

Casa Noble (Terminal 4G)

PIE Pizza Kiosk (Terminal 3 Las Olas)

Café Sienna (Terminal 3 Las Olas)

Cucina and Co. (Terminal 3 Las Olas)

 

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (pre-security and Terminal 5)

Earthbar (Terminal 6)

L.A. Farmers Market (Terminal 5)

Skewers by Morimoto (Terminal 5)

The Habit Burger (Terminal 6)

Wahoo Fish Tacos (Terminal 6)

Wolfgang Puck Express (Terminal 7)

Wpizza (Tom Bradley Terminal – pre-security)

 

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)

Angel Food Bakery (Concourse E)

Smack Shack (Mall)

Twin’s Grill (Concourse C)

 

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)

Air Meals (Concourse B)

Café Roux (Concourse B)

Café Roux Express (Concourse C)

Copeland’s Gourmet Kitchen (Concourse C)

Dooky Chase (pre-security)

French Market Cafe and Bar (Concourse B)

Le Petit Bistro (Concourse B)

PJ’s Coffee (Concourse C and D)

Taco Lab (Concourse B)

West Beignet (West Lobby)

Wow Cafe & Bar (Concourse D)

Ye Olde College Inn (Concourse D)

 

Will Rogers World Airport (Oklahoma City) (OKC)

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (East Concourse)

Cross Grain Brewhouse (East Concourse)

Moe’s Southwest Grill (East Concourse)

Oklahoma Station Bakery (East Concourse)

Rout 66 Bar (West Concourse)

Tuckers Onion Burgers (East Concourse)

Route 66 Grille (West Concourse)

Cinnabon (East Concourse)

Schlotsky’s (East Concourse)

Cool Greens (West Concourse)

Café 66 (pre-security)

 

Ontario International Airport (ONT)

Auto Club Speedway Café (Terminal 4)

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Terminal 4)

El Paseo Mexican Café (Terminal 2)

Schlotsky’s Deli (Terminal 4)

Wpizza (Terminal 2)

Rock & Brews (Terminal 4)

Einstein Bros. Bagels (Terminal 4)

Wahoo’s Fish Tacos (Terminal 4)

Cross Grain Brewhouse (Terminal 2)

Harvest & Grounds (Terminal 2)

 

Richmond International Airport (RIC)

Applebee’s (Atrium)

Caribou Coffee (Terminal A and B; Atrium)

Club Level Grille (Terminal B)

Cross Grain Brewhouse (Terminal A)

Cheeburger Cheeburger (Terminal B)

 

Tampa International Airport (TPA)

Auntie Anne’s (Terminal A)

Chick-fil-A (Main Terminal)

Four Green Fields (Terminal E)

Panda Express (Terminal E)

Café by Mise en Place (Terminal F)

PDQ (Terminal C)

NYNY Pizza (Terminal A)

RumFish Grill (Terminal C)