Luckily, CNBC's John Carney was on this flight (he leaves the airline's identity a secret) to witness what he called a "quiet mutiny."
He writes that he first noticed what was going on when, after ordering a $10 chicken sandwich, the flight attendant "apologized" for the exorbitant price by giving him a free beer, followed by another gratis brew later.
And then when a woman in his aisle ordered a bottle of wine, the attendant wouldn't take her money, saying instead, "Happy birthday," and explaining that they were allowed to give out a freebie to birthday boys and girls (of legal drinking age, of course).
I started watching the attendants. I soon discovered that many passengers were getting free items. The attendants were conducting a quiet mutiny against the practice of charging for items that airline once gave away for free.We'd love to know — from either other travelers or from actual attendants — if this is indeed a growing trend. It would be easy to see why an attendant, tired of facing passengers angry about all the recently implemented fees, would start looking for loopholes to make the flight a little more pleasant.
This was just one flight, of course. Maybe I was just lucky to fly with really generous attendants. But I doubt it. It's more likely that this is happening on many flights and across all the big airlines.