How to get a free drink on a flight.

You say "tomato", I say "in-flight magic".

You say \”tomato\”, I say \”in-flight magic\”.

In real life I don’t drink tomato juice or tomato-based cocktails, but on airplanes for some reason the idea of a technicolour and salty drink in a tiny cup is enticing. Here’s how to score a free tomato-based cocktail on a flight, as I did on my way home from LA.

1. First, forget what your drink of choice is called. This helps erase any doubt in the flight attendant’s mind that you might not be a total idiot. You are, and you can prove it when you ask for a Tomato Screwdriver, a Bleeding Maria, or a Clamaitor.

2. The flight attendant will be confused but eventually prompt, “Perhaps you’d like a Bloody Mary, miss?” Your enthusiastic nodding will be met with his mental note to keep an eye on you, and followed by his slightly reluctant offer of a can of tomato juice and a gnome-sized bottle of vodka. (Skyy vodka, because we’re midair! HA HA!)

3. Accept these offerings with good-natured and self-depricating laughter. “BLOODY MAAARY!!! HA HA YES THAT IS WHAT I MEANT!!”

4. Turn back to your laptop.

5. Put your earplug back in. Ignore everybody.

6. After an uncomfortable pause, the flight attendant will helplessly gesture to the nice lady beside you who will poke you so you remove your earplug again, all innocent confusion.

7. “Six dollars, ma’am,” the flight attendant will say.

8. “OH! A TRANSACTION! HA HA HA!! YES, I DO!!” will be your inexplicable reply, and then you should lean down, trying to wedge your huge head with its attendant cloud of unkempt curls under your table tray, the better to rummage around for your wallet.

9. Now this next step is the key to the whole operation: blithely knock your cup of ice onto your (thankfully closed) laptop, where it will slide around merrily like butter on a skillet before raining into your lap.

10. Dribble out a little more of your trademark good-natured and self-depricating laughter, (“HA HA! I HAVE SPILLED THE ICE ONTO MY LAPTOP AND LAP!!! OH NO!!! SO COLD!!!! ALSO WET!!! HA HA HAHA!!”, etc.) Intersperse this clever commentary with assorted yelping as the ice manouvres itself into the small hole you tore in the crotch of your jeans earlier today in a different but equally-amusing travel mishap.

11. Use the now-empty tiny cup to scoop the ice out of your crotchtal region (NB: the ice will certainly not fit back into the cup, although it was all neatly contained by the cup mere seconds before), then move to place the ice cup it on your laptop again.

12. The nice lady beside you will predict the repeating element of this particular pattern and offer to hold the cup to keep it off your laptop, or maybe to hold the laptop away from the carnage that is your obvious lack of coordination and good sense.

13. Let her hold the cup while you rummage for four minutes in your wallet and emerge with some crumpled ones and a fistful of quarters.

14. The flight attendant will by this point be praying for early retirement while handing you a fresh cup of ice because he and the nice lady coordinated the disposal of the old cup of ice, like kindly attendants in a home of some type.

15. He will also hand you a plushily folded bundle of ginormous absorbent pads that would not look out of place in the bed of a senior citizen, toddler, or travelling sea mammal, while delicately suggesting, “Ma’am, these should help you clean up a little.”

16. The flight attendant will also look at your dripping little paw clutched around its pathetic wad of dampened cash- cash that has clearly done its time in the seedier garters of Los Angeles and emerged the worse for wear and now wet to boot, and mildly remark, “Ma’am, you’ve obviously had a rough day. The drink’s on me.”


18. Make a mental note to do just that as the other passengers subtly edge away from you.


Moar!  Here’s a funny story about that time I brought caramel-coated bacon to a Jewish dinner party.


6 Responses to How to get a free drink on a flight.

  1. marjorie says:

    But alas, I need not try to be a clutz.

  2. carlyjay says:

    I love you.

  3. Alison says:

    Oh, that old trick. I do that all the time.

  4. Low T says:

    I second that – I love you too!

  5. vee says:

    unfortunately my flight attendants are never *that* good-natured, but I suppose it’s always worth a try!

  6. Jessica Elle says:

    THIS IS ULTIMATE SUCCESS. I plan on using your free drink tactic when I fly to Portland in a few days! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: