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Beverage service is one of the few in-flight amenities that domestic carriers have maintained throughout their on-going barrage of cost-cutting measures (such as baggage fees and reduced legroom). While these free beverages are usually limited to non-alcoholic drinks, there are still ways to get some comped booze on your flight, even if you’re flying coach. For example, earlier this month, United joined American in offering complimentary drinks to its most frequent flyers, regardless of their seats on the plane — including coach service.

Here’s a breakdown of the major American carriers’ beverage policies:

Airline

Prices

Who gets a free drink?

American

$7-9

  • Free for Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members
  • Free in Main Cabin on select international routes

Delta

$6-8

  • Free in Delta Comfort and above (Medallion members get complimentary upgrades)
  • Free in economy on select international routes

United

$7-16

  • Free for Premier 1k and Global Services passengers
  • Free in economy on select international routes

JetBlue

$6-9

  • Sometimes comped during month-long promos for Mosaic members
  • Often comped for Mosaic members on request

Southwest

$5

  • Free in Business Select
  • Free on select holidays (check online for details)

Virgin America

$6-8

  • Complimentary in Main Cabin Select and above

Even if you don’t have frequent flyer status or aren’t flying in a premium seat, there are still a few ways to get drinks that are independent of any specific airline. It seems there are no hard and fast rules for many of these tips, but here are some other possible ways to get comped/discounted drinks:

While enjoying free-flowing food and beverages in the pointy end of the plane is certainly nice, the vast majority of travelers are sitting in economy class — so even though airfare prices are supposedly falling, it’s still nice to save a bit on your in-flight drink(s).

Do you have any tips for getting a comped drink? Please share in the comments below!

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