Getting free drinks on Southwest

When I have to fly, it’s a guarantee that I am going to want a beverage or two in-flight (unless it’s 6:00 am and I am on my way to work).  If I have a preference, I’ll pay for as few of those as possible.   More often than not, I don’t have to pay for a single drink.  In fact, I haven’t paid for a single one this year.  I attribute this to a variety of factors and your success will vary, but I wanted to share a few tips with you today.

Remember, whether you order a Fat Tire, chardonnay, or cocktail, the price is always the same.  Take advantage of that.

Business Select

As I have mentioned before, those flying on Business Select, get a free drink ticket with each flight segment.  Use this in flight and you’ve got yourself a free drink.  The ticket is for use only on that flight and has the date of the flight on it.  It’s not uncommon for you to have Business Select on your flight first thing in the morning to see your client though.  Obviously, you don’t want a drink then.  So what do you do with that unused drink ticket?  Use it on your next flight when you don’t have a drink ticket.  I have found that even though they say “valid drink coupons with an expiration date” on them, they will take your old unused drink tickets.  In fact, I have never had them reject an expired coupon ever.  If you printed your boarding pass and drink ticket on your printer at home, do the flight attendant a favor and tear it out before they get to you.

Rapid Rewards

If you are a member of Rapid Rewards, and you should be if you have been following my advice, you also get drink coupons in the mail periodically.  For every five paid round-trips, Southwest will send you four drink coupons in the mail.  These have an expiration date on them as well.  More than likely they will take them even if they are expired.  The reason, they mention expiration dates so much is that under the old Rapid Rewards program, the drink coupons didn’t have an expiration date.  If you still have some of those lying around, there is no chance they will ever take those any more.

Delayed Flights

When you have a flight that is severely delayed, like an hour or more.  I have found that the flight attendants rarely ask you for payment when you order a drink.  They do this as a way to make you a bit happier about your delay.  I don’t know if this is a universal rule, but it’s generally the case.  When your flight is delayed, sure you might be frustrated, but your best route is kindness and concern about your flight crew.  After all, when your flight is delayed, their nine hour day can easily turn into a twelve hour day.  Show some concern for them, and they might just repay the favor with a free drink.

Free drink days

Southwest has a number of days per quarter in which drinks are free for everyone.  The most recent day was Valentine’s day with the next one being Saint Patrick’s day.  You can see when these days are by pulling out the in-flight service brochure in your seat pocket.

Kindness Kills

I’ve reminded you about this in many of my posts so far.  Although, I’ve never actually confirmed it, I believe flight attendants on Southwest have a little bit of leeway when it comes to handing out free drinks.  Show concern about the flight crew, ask them about their day, be kind, switch seats so a family can sit together, or help out another passenger and you might just have a free drink coming your way.

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