Welcome aboard, it’s your favorite flight attendant! Your insider into the airline industry and it’s quirks.
Flight Attendants see a lot during their work day. It’s air travel…it’s crazy! Being in a pressurized aluminum tube for a certain quantity of time just brings out the most interesting aspects of personalities. Whether flight attendants work one twelve hour flight, or five short hops up and down the coast, you’d be amazed at what we witness passengers doing. But this post isn’t about passenger shaming, it’s about what I’ve discovered is the key to an enjoyable flight for passengers.
Some of these may seem like no-brainers, but honestly, I’ve had way too many passengers on my flights not seem to understand these points so I’m going to put some of them out there even if they seem obvious to savvy travelers.
So here they are, the basics of air travel that every passenger forgets (but wants)! Remember these for a great flight!
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Tip 1. Never travel without headphones.
I think this is the most important key to a great flight. You NEVER know if you’re going to have a screaming baby next to you or behind you. Sometimes it happens and it’s no ones fault. Regular headphones will cancel out most of the noise, but if you have noise-cancelling, even better. Get lucky and there’s no crying baby? Headphones playing your favorite music can still set the tone for your flight, dictating whether you want to get pumped up to go once you land, or lull yourself into a restful sleep, blocking out the snoring passenger next to you. Want a sexy pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones? Yes, so do I. Maybe when I get my next royalty check 😉
Tip 2. You didn’t buy a neck pillow because it looks ridiculous.
No, you look ridiculous when you fall sleep and end up drooling on your neighbors shoulder. That’s right, you fell asleep upright, but now you’re slumped over against the person next to you, mouth completely ajar. I’m not joking or trying to poke fun, this happens all the time! A neck pillow won’t completely prevent slumping over onto your neighbor , but it does help! I recommend this one with memory foam. Buy it BEFORE you get to the airport because at the airport, I kid you not, it will be double the price. In most airports you can’t get a neck pillow for less than $30. That’s crazy! If you’re a backpacker, opt for a slightly less comfortable, inflatable one like this one instead to save room.
Tip 3. Have gum handy, it’s the two in one life saver on your flight.
Gum is great for two things, stinky breath of course, but also, it can help when you’re ears are popping. On long flights I make sure to have a tooth brush handy, and if you’re in first class, usually you’ll have an amenity kit with one inside, but sometimes, it’s hard to get to the bathroom for a good brush. Gum will tie you over because whether you had too many garlic rolls (speaking from personal experience obviously, thanks Delta One) or you haven’t eaten at all and have that icky stale mouth feeling, no one wants to feel gross. And don’t get your hopes up asking your flight attendant, we’re not allowed to chew gum so most of us just have mints.
Want to know what I have in my pocket at all times? It’s not gum (since we’re forbidden to chew) it’s…Listerine Strips. I honestly think that Listerine should recruit me as their spokesperson because not only does it keep me incredibly fresh (I’ll probably fail a Breathalyzer test some day because of it) but I’m always touting it’s benefits to everyone around me. My other half is a pilot and back when we first got together, I gave him an in-flight care package that included a supply of Listerine strips. After all, the cockpit is basically a tiny bubble and if someone farts or has bad breath…you’re in big trouble. This brings me to my next point…
Tip 4. When nature calls and you need to brave the airplane lavatory
What does every flight attendant carry in their bag? I’ll give you a hint, it’s because passengers are filthy…
It’s called Poopuri. No, that’s not a typo, I didn’t mean potpourri, the grandma’s solution to a fragrant room. I’m talking about Poopuri. It’s a squirt bottle (travel size of course) that you spray prior to going number two and no one will be none the wiser of your ill-timed deed aboard the aircraft. Picture it, you’ve got a line of people waiting for the lavatory, you’re doing something in the bathroom that you really didn’t want to do, the last thing you want to do now is make the walk of shame. Let me say this, no one plans on going number two on the airplane. And yet it happens all the time. Whether it’s the pressurization, too much coffee, eating something bad, or being hung over, people BLOW UP the lavatory. Don’t let it be you. Poopuri smells subtle, but amazing and I can tell you it works on the worst. Sometimes flight attendants will even squirt it into the bowl after an offending passenger walks out. The normal coffee filter pinned to the door trick only works for minor offenders.
Tip 5. Tip for my glamorous travelers, keep that hair lookin’ foxy
For my ladies (especially my fellow backpackers), Dry Shampoo is everything.
I keep this in my bag at all times as a flight attendant. The air in the plane will make your hair greasy. I’m not going to lie, I love to look foxy when I’m on the plane doing my thing, but if I get in late at night and I’m flying out in the morning at O’Dark Hundred, I’m probably not going to wash my hair and restyle for my passengers. Dry Shampoo to the rescue! Not only does it remove the grease from my hair, but it revives the soft curves I styled the day before. Winning! I’m also a female solo traveler when I’m not working and love to go backpacking. When I’m traveling light like this and staying in hostels, I’m going to be real honest, I shower as minimally as possible. Dry shampoo gets me through the in betweens. Sometimes you think you’re going to shower, and then you see that fateful gross shower at your Amsterdam hostel and you think…no way in hell. It’s dry shampoo time.
My favorites are Morrocon Oil Dry Shampoo (usually purchased right after I get paid), it smells amazing & the cheaper Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo (for when I’ve spent all my money on travel). Don’t forget, unless you’re checking your bag, travel size to get through TSA is 3.4 ounces.
Tip 6. Bring a pen
This is such a no-brainer, but I get at least one person a flight ask me for one. International flights, make that twenty-plus. The previous airline I flew for did not stock pens, even on international flights, so the flight attendants did not have any to give out. Most airlines will at least have a few for international flights, but not enough for an aircraft full of hundreds of passengers. The plane that I usually work carries 175 people and we may have ten pens in our international packets. You DO NOT want to be that person filling out their customs/immigration info at the last minute while everyone gets in front of you in the already long lines. Also for my ladies, pens make a great emergency hair pin. If you’re a major traveler, having a pen and travel journal is a must! Keep track of cool people you meet, where you stay, or amazing walks you found that your guidebook didn’t know about!
Tip 7. Bring an external charger for your electronic devices
Most planes have charging ports for each seat, but not every airline and not every aircraft. Say you’re flying Delta Airlines, and you remember from your last flight that you had a charger at your seat in coach. But now you get to your seat, expecting a similar plane, but you find there’s no charging port! Halfway through your flight your devices are dead. No one wants to land and not have a cell phone, ect. I recommend traveling with an external charger, whether it’s for a flight or if your traveling as a backpacker. I know that I use my cell phone a lot for pictures, ect so I don’t want my battery going dead while I’m halfway across the faerie pools in the middle of nowhere, Scotland in the most amazingly beautiful place I’ve ever been. Disclaimer: DO NOT purchase a cheap or aftermarket external charger because these have been known to catch fire during flight. It’s getting so bad these days with batteries catching fire that even the Samsung 7 phone is required by the FAA for flight attendants to make a PA that the phone can not be powered on during air travel. Lithium Ion batteries are very dangerous to have on planes and never leave them in a checked bag.
Tip 8. If you get motion sick, here’s what you need to do
Travel with Alkaseltzer or Dramamine. I personally prefer Alkaseltzer and bonus, it’s also good for hangover. Not that flight crew get together and drink way too much on layovers, that doesn’t happen. 😉 If you don’t have either of those things with you, but find that you’re still feeling air sick, don’t hesitate to ring your call button and let you flight attendant know. Ask for a glass of ice chips because chewing on the cold ice will make you feel much better without putting too much in your stomach. Make sure to tell your flight attendant that you’re not feeling well and she might have extra suggestions or things on board to make you feel more comfortable. Also, if you know you’re a traveler that gets air sick, try to plan your seat in advance to seat over the wings. The back of the aircraft is the worst place to sit because it gets the most movement. Instead, sit over the wings where the wings are designed to flex and take the movement upon themselves to ensure a more stable ride.
But the tip that most people forget is… wait for it…
The most important tip is…
Tip 9. For a guaranteed great flight, remember that the flight attendant is your best friend!
Your flight attendant can console you if you’re sad, reassure you if you’re scared or nervous, feed you if you’re hungry, bring you a drink when your thirsty and give you a memorable flight. When passengers have shared a part of their life with me, I have done my part to become part of their story they tell when they land.
Are you flying to start your honeymoon? Tell the flight attendants when you first board so that we can order you champagne because we may or may not have it onboard.
Traveling to someplace for the first time and finally crossing a destination off your travel bucket list? I’ve made an announcement before in that situation and asked any locals or return visitors to jot down their must-dos for that travelers visit. I passed out cards and pens and told them to hand them to the flight attendant before the flight was done. By the time we landed, that passenger had a stack of unique ideas from his fellow fliers. He was so grateful and it’s an experience he said he won’t forget.
Not everyone travelers for happy things. If you’re on your way to a funeral and not in a good frame of mind, it might be helpful to let your flight attendant know. Whether you need a stiff drink to cope, or just a little extra patience during the flight, your flight attendant is there to help you through that flight.
Don’t forget that flying can be fun! Flying can be glamorous! And if you’re scared of flying, don’t forget, you’re flight attendant’s are there for you. If something does go wrong, your flight crew, the flight attendants and the pilots, are extremely well trained. Please always remember that flight attendants are not just on the airplane to serve peanuts. We are the last line of defense, but also we’re your friend, your nurse, whatever you need us to be to make your flight the best it can be.
Have any questions about flying? Don’t be shy and leave them in the comments. I promise to get back to ya.
The Luv Aviatrix
Like these tips? Pin this image for the next time you fly.