Offer passengers more food vouchers and onboard freebies
Wouldn't it be nice if after the gate agent told you the next flight to Omaha wasn't leaving for nine hours, he then offered you a nice warm cookie? Of course it would. Contrary to what you might have heard, the airlines aren't legally required to give you a voucher for food or drinks in many delay situations, but as one international pilot told us, "It would really go a long way."
In fact, many pilots agreed that going a step further -- and providing more than than just a can of soda and free pretzels on each flight -- would do a lot to improve the passenger experience. Said one commercial pilot: "They need to offer a small meal on flights over four hours again."
We did learn one little-known secret that you should absolutely tuck away: "We as pilots have the authority to tell the FAs to give free [alcoholic] drinks and TV if we have a delay that causes an inconvenience. We don't let the passengers know about the drinks though, we just don't charge them when they order -- otherwise, we'd have a plane full of belligerent people."
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Matt Meltzer is a staff writer at Thrillist who is ordering a drink on every delayed flight he has from now on. Follow him on Instagram: @meltrez1.