Flying is expensive, so these airports will give you goodies for free

Share

Travel

Flying is expensive, so these airports will give you goodies for free

Flying during the holiday season can be stressful and expensive once all the costs are added up. Those include items like car service (or long-term parking), ticket prices, baggage fees, food and drinks before your flight.

With that in mind, many airports in the U.S. and abroad offer a wide variety of free amenities. Some are available year-round, while others may be tied to a certain season or event. CNBC recently took a look at a few travelers can take advantage of as they gear up for the Christmas travel season:

Free phone calls

  • In case you forgot your cellphone (or it ran out of juice), airports in Denver and Washington, D.C. let travelers make free phone calls year-round.

    In Dulles and Washington Reagan airports, local and long distance calls are free anywhere within the 48 contiguous United States for the first five minutes. The airports provide marked courtesy phones located in the main terminal, and each concourse. Denver International has 233 phones where travelers can make unlimited free local and national calls. International calls are free for the first 10 minutes.

    Align your chakra

    Courtesy local, long-distance phone calls in Washington, D.C.
    Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
  • A handful of airports around the country, including San Francisco International, Chicago's O'Hare and Midway, Miami International and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airports, let flyers make use of yoga rooms for free. Most have complimentary loaner mats available as well.

    Spit-shine

    Passengers are welcome to use the yoga room at Miami International Airport.
    Miami International Airport
  • At Los Angeles International Airport, Denver International Airport and Missouri's Kansas City International Airport travelers can set their own price, or simply leave a tip when getting a complimentary shoe or boot shine at an airport stand.

    Take in a movie

    A sign advertises complimentary shoe shine services at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado.
    Source: Denver International Airport
  • Free movies by local filmmakers are offered to travelers in the 17-seat Hollywood Theatre micro-cinema at Oregon's Portland International Airport, the Video Arts room at San Francisco International Airport and the film screening room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Free first run films are offered at two 24-hour movie theaters at Singapore's Changi Airport.

    Free personal shopper

    Customers line up outside the Hollywood Theatre at PDX airport in Portland, Oregon.
    Harriet Baskas | CNBC
  • Passengers traveling through London's Heathrow Airport can book ahead to tap the complimentary services of the airport's team of personal shoppers. They don't make commissions, but they make it their point to know the all the latest trends and the current stock available in all the shops. There is no minimum spend and consultations take place in a private lounge, where free champagne is served.

    Free art and history and games

    Complimentary personal shopping at London Heathrow Airport.
    Harriet Baskas | CNBC
  • San Francisco's SFO Museum offers no fewer than 20 free exhibitions inside the airport at any one time. Meanwhile, aiports in Miami, Albany, NY, Minneapolis, Portland, St. Louis and elsewhere offer a rotating schedule of free museum-quality art and history exhibits throughout the year.

    Austin-Bergstrom International and Seattle-Tacoma International airports each present more than 20 free music performances each week and, at Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport, passengers can play ping pong for free.

    Free water: bring your own bottle

    An object on display at the 'American Folk Art - An Enduring Legacy' exhibition at SFO Airport.
    Source: SFO Museum
  • Buying a bottle of branded water can set a traveler back $5 in many post-security airport shops, but travelers who bring their own empty bottles can fill them up for free at complimentary refill stations now located in airports in San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, among others.

    Free city tours, or a ride through the city

    Free bottle refill stations.
    Source: Seattle Tacoma International Airport
  • Passengers with layovers of two hours or more at Salt Lake City International Airport can get a free shuttle ride to and from Temple Square, where they can join in a free tour of the thirty-five acre historic site. Free city tours are also available to travelers with varying lengths of layovers at hubs that include Singapore, South Korea, Tokyo, Qatar and Istanbul.

    Travelers who land at Boston Logan International can ride the Silver Line bus from the airport into the city for free. The bus picks up at every BOS terminal and offers free connections to the Red Line once in town. (Rides from the city back out to the airport, however, are not free.)

    Free CPR training

    Heavy traffic on a Thursday in Boston, Massachusetts.
    Jim Davis | The Boston Globe | Getty Images
  • At a growing list of airports, passengers can learn to save a life while waiting for their flight by taking a free course on an interactive hands-only CPR kiosk. A "how-to" video is followed by a practice session on a rubber manikin and a 30-second CPR test.

    Airports offering the training include Chicago's O'Hare, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Orlando and Dallas-Fort Worth.

    Free trading cards

    Hands-only CPR training kiosks are free at 14 airports.
    Source: American Heart Association
  • They look like sports trading cards, but at more than 60 airports throughout the country, passengers can stop by information booths and tourism booth to pick up a free, collectible, airport-themed trading cards.

    Animal encounters

    Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport is among a growing list of airports that hand out trading card.
    Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport
  • Dozens of airports now have specially-trained therapy animals that mingle with passengers in the terminals and help them beat stress. Most airports use, but San Francisco International has a pig on its team, Denver has a cat, and miniature therapy horses visit the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport twice a month.

    Free travel item

    Miniature horses visit with passengers at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport twice a month.
    Source: CVG Airport
  • Customers of Google's Project Fi can use their phone to get one free item a week from Project Fi vending machines located in airports in Baltimore, LaGuardia, Chicago's Midway and O'Hare, and Philadelphia, among others. Free items include bottled water, playing cards, fuzzy socks, eye masks and luggage tags.

    Google launches new wireless service Project Fi.
    Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images