What Airlines Offer You Free Drinks? (+ Discounts!) [2022]

For some people, getting free drinks during their flight is one of the major perks of traveling. This is especially true when you are crammed into an economy cabin and trying to pass time on a long flight.

But what type of airline tickets will hook you up with a free drink? And are there ways to get discounts on drinks?

In this article, we will break down the different ways passengers can receive free drinks when flying. We will take a look at each airline and break down their policy for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Different types of free drinks

Let’s take a quick overview on how to get free alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Getting free non-alcoholic drinks

For those of you who just want to sip on something it’s very common for airlines to offer free non-alcoholic drinks to economy passengers. This typically includes water, juices, tea, coffee, and sometimes soda.

A couple of quick thoughts based on my experience:

  • If they offer water bottles the bottles can be very small, so we usually buy a large bottle at the airport. They can be expensive but it’s worth staying hydrated.
  • We don’t usually order coffee or tea because we don’t necessarily trust the water on planes….

For those reasons, I usually go for sparkling water (club soda) or juice.

Mileage requirements

The biggest hurdle to getting a free drink in economy is often the minimum mileage requirement.

There simply is not enough time to serve an entire cabin drinks for shorter flights, so some airlines will not serve drinks on very short flights or they will limit their selection to only water.

Other times, when there is a little bit more distance on the route, they will serve drinks but only upon request so you will have to flag down a flight attendant.

Look for minimum mileage cut-offs to be around 175 to 350 miles.

Note: In First Class the mileage requirement for drink service may be lower.

Related: Can You Bring Alcohol (Mini-Liquor Bottles) on Planes & Through Airports?

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Club soda can delta first class
Staying hydrated with club soda can Delta first class.

Getting free alcoholic drinks

Business/first

Whenever you fly business or first class on a US airline, you can expect to receive free beer, wine, and liquor during your flight.

You’ll also get the added benefit of getting served up drinks even on very short flights.

For example, on a recent flight from Honolulu to Kauai, we were served drinks in first class and the route was only about 100 miles!

On short flights, you might want to order two drinks at once because that might be the only opportunity you get to order drinks. But be aware that some airlines do limit the number of alcoholic drinks you can order at once on flights.

Premium Economy

Premium economy cabins are usually only on long-haul flights and in these cabins you’ll find seats with extra width, legroom, and even foot rests.

When you book a ticket in this cabin you can usually choose your seat for free and you may also get served free alcoholic drinks.

Main cabin extra

If you pay to upgrade to something like main cabin extra which consist of economy seats with extra legroom, sometimes the airline will provide you with additional perks.

These perks can include things like priority boarding but they also can get you free alcoholic drinks. Just be sure you are aware of the mileage requirements to ensure that you can take advantage of a free drink.

Long-haul flights

Even if you are flying in economy, some airlines will provide you with free drinks on long-haul routes.

For example, if you were flying from the US to Europe or to Asia there’s a good chance that the airline you’re flying on may provide you with free beer and wine, and possibly even spirits.

This can make flying in economy a lot more tolerable for some people.

Discounts on drinks

If you have a co-branded airline credit card for the airline you’re flying on, you can often get about 20% to 25% off of your in-flight drink purchases. Some credit cards may even up that discount to 50%!

Just make sure that you use the airline’s credit card when you make the purchase so that you can trigger the statement credit as that is how it usually works.

Related: How Much It Costs to Choose Your Seats on Each Airline

Mai Tai on Hawaiian Airlines
Mai Tai on Hawaiian Airlines

Each airline’s policy

Below, I will highlight some of the details for each major airline.

I break each airline down by non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages where appropriate so you can easily view the difference in policies. I’ll also note the airlines that do NOT provide any free drinks to passengers.

Alaska Airlines

Non-alcoholic drinks

On Alaska Airlines, economy passengers and above can get free non-alcoholic beverages including: Boxed Water, Seltzer, Coke products, juices, and tonic water. Coffee and tea will also be available.

If you’re flying to or from Hawaii, you have the added privilege of ordering Passion Orange Guava Juice.

Alcoholic drinks

Alaska Airlines will offer free alcoholic drinks to:

  • First Class
  • Premium Class

Premium class is a sort of hybrid class between economy plus and premium economy that is unique to Alaska Airlines. When you book economy tickets with them, you can often upgrade to Premium Class by selecting those seats.

If you are in Main Cabin you can still purchase alcoholic drinks. Beer will cost $8 and wine and spirits will cost $9.

If your trip is under 350 miles, they may not be serving drinks.

With an Alaska Airlines credit card you can get 20% back on in-flight purchases such as drinks.

Find more details on Alaska’s website

American Airlines

Non-alcoholic drinks

Main Cabin economy passengers can get free non-alcoholic drinks upon request on flights of 250 miles or less. On flights over 250 miles, drinks will be served by flight attendants including: coffee, tea, juice, water and soft drinks.

Alcoholic drinks

American Airlines will offer free beer, wine, and spirits to:

Long-haul economy includes flights for Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, the Middle East and certain South America cities.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members also get a complimentary alcoholic drink and food menu item during their flight.

You’ll also get complimentary beverages, including beer, wine and spirits if you’re traveling to/from Hawaii on flights between:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Charlotte (CLT)

Use your Citi® / AAdvantage® card or AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® and get 25% savings on food and beverage purchases inflight.

Find more details on American’s website

drinks in American Airlines first class.
Free drinks in American Airlines first class.

Delta Airlines

Non-alcoholic drinks

For flights over 250 miles, all passengers can receive free coffee, tea, and 8oz bottled water. Soft drinks will be available on flights of 500 miles or more.

Alcoholic drinks

On Flights of 251-499 miles, Delta Airlines will offer complimentary beer and wine to:

  • First Class
  • Delta Comfort+

Other beverages, including Coca-Cola mini cans, juices, and mixers will be available for First Class customers. 

On Flights of 500+ miles, American Airlines will offer complimentary beer and wine to:

  • First Class
  • Delta Comfort+

Customers in Main Cabin on these 500+ mile routes may purchase alcohol by using tap-to-pay. 

On long-haul international flights a full selection of beverage offerings, including beer, spirits, and a limited selection of wine will be available for economy passengers for free.

You can receive 20% off in the form of a statement credit after you use a qualifying Delta card on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.

Find more details on Delta’s website

water bottles on Delta
Free water bottles on Delta First.

Frontier

Since Frontier is an ultra low-cost carrier, it does NOT offer free drinks to passengers.

Here is what Frontier states:

We do offer food and beverages in-flight for purchase. These are not complimentary, as we would rather pass the cost-savings on to our customers by offering the lowest fares possible!

Expect to pay around $3 for a basic soft drinks. However, you also have additional menu options for alcoholic beverages including:

  • Redwood Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Stone Cellars Chardonnay
  • Bacardi Rum, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Fireball Whiskey, Tangueray Gin, Jack Daniels Whiskey, Tito’s Vodka
  • Buzzballz Mixed Drinks (Hazelnut Latte, Lotta Colada, Tequila Rita)

Hawaiian Airlines

Non-alcoholic drinks

Economy passengers can enjoy complimentary drinks such as juices, sodas, tea, and coffee.

Alcoholic drinks

Hawaiian Airlines will offer free alcoholic drinks to:

  • First Class
  • Select international economy routes

When flying economy you can get free alcoholic beverages on international routes except for Tahiti and America Samoa. If you are flying domestically in economy, you can ask about getting a free Mai Tai.

Pualani Platinum & Gold members with the Hawaiian Airlines® Bank of Hawaii World Elite Mastercard® are eligible to receive an in-flight purchase credit of $10 per day, up to $100 each account year.

Free drink in Hawaiian Airlines First Class.
Free drink in Hawaiian Airlines First Class.

JetBlue

Non-alcoholic drinks

For JetBlue, all passengers in economy and above can receive free coffee, tea, water, and soft drinks (Pepsi products).

Alcoholic drinks

JetBlue will offer free alcohol to:

  • Mint passengers
  • Economy passengers to Europe

JetBlue will offer free beer, wine, and liquor for economy passengers on flights between the U.S. and London. You can also get your first free alcoholic drink free if you book with JetBlue Vacations.

If you don’t receive any free alcoholic beverages you can purchase them at prices like $10 for wine, $8-$9 for beer, and $9-$10 for spirits.

Flights under 175 miles may not be serving beverages.

With a JetBlue credit card you can get a 50% in-flight savings on cocktails and food purchases. That’s one of the best in-flight discounts you can find with the credit card.

Find more details on JetBlue’s website

Southwest Airlines

Non-alcoholic drinks

Southwest offers free non-alcoholic drinks drinks for all passengers on flights traveling 176 miles or more. Flights traveling 175 miles or less only serve water.

Alcoholic drinks

Southwest does not offer unlimited free alcoholic drinks to any passengers.

If you are a Business Select customer you will be issued a free drink coupon at check-in which you can use on alcoholic beverages.

Sometimes you may be randomly issued free drink coupons through promotional materials, especially if you are an A-List member.

Related: 7 Tips for Getting Southwest Airlines Drink Coupons

With a Southwest credit card you can get 25% back on inflight purchases like drinks and WiFi.

Find more details on Southwest’s website

Spirit Airlines

Spirit states:

There is no complimentary beverage or snack service on Spirit flights. Doing this helps us to keep prices low for all of our passengers.

Expect to pay about $3 for soft drinks and other basic non-alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine, and liquor will run you about $7.

Get a 25% rebate on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you pay with your Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard®.

United Airlines

Non-alcoholic drinks

On flights within North America, the Caribbean and most of Latin America, customers traveling in United Economy can enjoy complimentary soft drinks (Coke products), juices, tea and freshly brewed illy coffee.

Alcoholic drinks

United Airlines will offer free alcoholic drinks to:

  • First Class
  • United Premium Plus
  • Select long-haul international economy flights

Wine and beer are complimentary in United Economy on long-haul international flights, and liquor/spirits is available for purchase.

Specifically, these long-haul international long-haul international fights include Trans-Atlantic flights, flights between the U.S. and Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and Trans-Pacific flights between the U.S. and Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Tahiti and Taiwan.

For economy passengers, alcoholic beverages are available for purchase on all flights traveling to or from the domestic U.S., Latin America and Canada.

Alcoholic beverages may not be served on flights under 300 miles.

With the right United Airlines credit card such as the Explorer card, you can get 25% back, in the form of a credit card account statement credit, on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi.

Find more details on United’s website

United First Class meal.
United First Class meal.

Final word

As long as you’re not on a very short flight, chances are you can get a free non-alcoholic beverage on your flight even when flying economy.

The main exception to that is when flying on ultra low-cost carriers.

If it is free alcoholic beverages you are after then flying first class, or some type of premium economy or upgraded economy, will often land you with free beverages.

Also, if you are flying on an international long-haul flight, there’s a good chance that you’ll have some type of free alcoholic beverage offered to you.

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