Galley Gossip: How to get free beer in flight

Recently I read an article on about a passenger who stole a few cans of beer from a beverage cart and then tried to flush the evidence – the empty cans, not the liquid – on an Air Canada Jazz flight. The pilot diverted the plane and the nameless thief, 23, was arrested for causing a disturbance on an aircraft. Like most airlines, Air Canada Jazz has zero tolerance for unruly behavior.

It did not come as a surprise to read about the passenger who had been caught stealing liquor, because I’ve come across quite a few sticky fingers myself over the years squatting in front of an unmanned cart or walking out of the galley with minis hanging out of their pockets. Yes, I made them put it back! What shocked me about the whole thing was the fact that the passenger actually tried to flush those aluminum cans down the toilet! Seriously, that’s crazy!

Once, years ago, on a Sun Jet International flight, a passenger decided an hour before landing that a fire extinguisher would make a wonderful souvenir. Somehow, I don’t know how, she managed to stuff the large red bottle inside a duffel bag and hide it under the seat in front of her, and she did it without anyone seeing her do so. The extinguisher only found its way back into the metal brackets behind the last row of coach after we, the crew, made several PA’s threatening to search every bag on board the airplane, which happened after we made a few other PA’s about not allowing anyone deplane until the fire extinguisher was returned – no questions asked. Not too long ago a passenger lo and behold “found” an egg McMuffin just sitting on my jump seat and figured it was for the taking. If the guilty one had not already bitten into my breakfast sandwich I would have snatched it back. I can’t even tell you the number of times my magazines and books have disappeared right out of my tote bag. People do crazy things on airplanes.

Now back to the beer-drinking-aluminum-can flushing idiot who didn’t have to steal the liquor which resulted in an arrest and probably a fine that was much higher than the price of an adult beverage. Really, there are ways to get free alcohol without causing an in flight disturbance, ya know. Oh sure it depends on the crew and the airline and what’s going on that day, but here are a few ways to increase your chances…


  1. Switch seats. When the family with small children scattered all over the airplane asks if you mind switching your aisle seat for a middle seat, do it! Just make sure the flight attendants are watching.
  2. Assist. It’s seconds before departure and you see a flight attendant struggling to get those last bins shut, give her a hand. She’ll remember who you are.
  3. Speak up. The jerk in the last row is going on and on about his miserable day and now he’s taking it out on the crew. They can’t say anything, but you can, and they’ll be glad you did.
  4. Lie. Tell the flight attendants they’re doing a wonderful job and this is the best flight you’ve ever been on. Thank them for making your day.
  5. Brag. Let it be known just how many miles you’ve flown on the airline and then tell the crew why, exactly, you’ve flown so many miles and why, exactly, you’ll continue to fly those miles.
  6. Be Polite. Saying please and thank you and making eye contact actually goes a long way
  7. Don’t ask! Even if you think you deserve it.

Stories of booze gone bad in the skies