14 Insider Travel Tips From Flight Attendants

Flying in this day and age is no easy feat; especially with an increase in bag check fees, the removal of complimentary meals and shrinking legroom. If you’re looking to optimize your flight experience, take advice from the folks who are up in the clouds all the time: flight attendants. They’ve become experts at dealing with common travel woes and we’re so ready for them to drop some knowledge. We asked flight attendants to share their best travel hacks and we scoured the Internet for a few more. Ready to take on your next flight like a pro?

GETTING THE BEST SEAT

“During online check in, understand the aircraft layout and select your seats accordingly. Bulkhead seats will usually have an infant and can be noisy. Seats near toilet can be noisy or even smelly. The best seats are closer to the galley where the flight attendant can give you maximum attention.”
– Shreyas P, worked for 5 major airlines (Quora)

Airplane Seat

AVOIDING GERMS

“Don't eat directly off the tray table. People change their kids' diapers on them. Bring alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer on a tissue to disinfect yours.”
-Jennifer P, works for a major US-based airline

“Don’t walk around without shoes. Every bodily fluid has been on the floor. I would carry a pair of disposable slippers for in-flight use.”
-Mark F., worked as a flight attendant for 10 years

 

WHAT TO EAT

“Airline meals are extremely unhealthy. Typically, food is prepared more than 12 hours before and can be filled with many preservatives. This is the main reason crew prefer to get their own food rater then eating airplane food. I typically bring my own food: light sandwiches or pasta salad”
– Amber B, works for a major US-based airline

"Coffee. Don’t drink the coffee on airplanes. It’s the same potable water that goes through the bathroom system. We recently had a test for E. coli in our water and it didn’t pass, and then maintenance came on and hit a couple buttons and it passed. So, avoid any hot water or tea. Bottled and ice is fine, of course."
-Betty, works for major American carrier (Vice) 

Airplane Food

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

“If you’re traveling overseas, you should bring a pen to fill out the immigration forms. Flight attendants have a few to spare, but not 100!”
-Rhonda M, worked as a flight attendant for 6 years

“Buy travel insurance and just don't rely on your credit card insurance. Shop around in the city for money exchange and do not exchange at the hotel or airport.”
– Shreyas P, worked for 5 major airlines (Quora)

 Always Bring a Pen

DEALING WITH LONG FLIGHTS

"To fight the dry cabin air at around 35,000 feet, drink water, shove some moisturizer in your carry-on, bring eye drops and medicated lip balm."
-Betty, works for major American carrier (Vice)

"Do not remain seated for more then 2/3 hours in the same position. Get up often and try to stretch in between the flight. I have seen people suffer with deep vein thrombosis so even if cannot get up from seat then try to stretch while remain seated."
– Shreyas P, worked for 5 major airlines (Quora)

“Don’t forget compression socks!”
-Ashlee M, worked for major US airlines

 

SLEEP AND JETLAG

“I try my best to ‘think’ in the arriving time zone. Try to tweak your sleep schedule a day or two in advance (even just by an hour), and set the clock on your phone to the time at your destination before takeoff.”
Steve F (Well + Good)

“I must, must, must have an eye mask, a neck pillow, and noise-canceling headsets or earplugs. I also like to have a relaxation playlist to ease me into sleep.” 
Kelly (Well + Good)

I use a lavender body lotion and spray a little bit of lavender essential oil onto my pillow so I know it’s time for bed.
-Rhea B., worked as a flight attendant for 6 years

 Sleep

PACKING EFFICIENTLY

“Plan color coordinating outfits with pieces that can be mixed and matched. Wear layers for temperature comfort.”
-Jordan S, works for major American carrier

 

 

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