Flight attendant shares ‘only’ item elderly can get for free

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Flight attendant Miguel Muñoz revealed the one thing that can be offered on the plane for free, but only to the elderly passengers who request it. He explained that travellers can “ask for a glass of water” if they “need to take medication” and added: “Don’t be afraid!”

The crew member said that most airlines, especially low-cost carriers in Europe, don’t offer free water and charge around £2 for a bottle of still or sparkling water.

However, if travellers need to take medication, such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen, they can ask for a glass of water and the flight attendant will offer one free of charge.

Although anyone who actually needs a glass of water can ask for this, it is normally elderly passengers who request it.

According to Miguel, who used to work for low-cost airline Ryanair, “that’s the only thing they can get for free” on the plane.

Former flight attendant Helena Afroughi agreed and added that any passenger can get things for free if they ask “nicely”.

The crew member explained: “If someone asks me nicely or any crew, you must be really a bad person to say no. Unless there’s a senior manager right next to you and you say no.

“But I always go back and give them a meal or what they asked for and I’m like ‘Shhh’!

“With that being said, I mean I’m not gonna give them whiskey Coke because they asked nicely. But some Coke or juice whatever.

“Especially the elderly, they are more fragile etc so yeah I would be more accommodating if I was asked nicely.

“I would suggest going to the crew who looks the nicest (maybe is smiling more or looks happier). Don’t go and ask the b***-looking ones,” she recommended.

A passenger who recently flew to Australia with Emirates complained to the airline after the flight attendants refused to give her water during the flight.

She explained: “I was so thirsty, but not allowed even a cup of water. Surely that’s illegal?” However, airlines are not required to supply free water or free food on a flight.

A spokesperson from the Department of Infrastructure explained: “There are currently no Australian Government requirements specifically relating to the supply of free drinking water on aircraft.

“The food and beverage options offered by an airline as part of in-flight services is a customer service issue and a commercial matter for the airline concerned.

“The Government expects airlines to apply appropriate discretion to prioritise passenger welfare, for example in circumstances where drinking water would help manage a medical issue.”

A Jetstar spokesperson commented: “Apart from obviously offering bottled spring water for purchase through our in-flight menu, passengers can also request a glass of water from our cabin crew at no cost.”

Flight attendant Miguel added that if elderly travellers are not feeling well, they should press the call button above their head straight away. “That’s what it is for! Not to ask for another gin and tonic, but to let us know when you feel unwell.”

Former cabin crew member Helena added that “not many people know this, but if you are travelling (especially on longer flights) and you are elderly, it would be helpful to let someone in the crew know about any underlying health conditions. Like if you’ve recently had a stroke or heart attack”.

“Because in the rare case that something like that goes to happen again on the aircraft, at least they will know what is going on a lot quicker instead of taking all possible scenarios into account before giving you first aid,” she explained.

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