If you travel frequently, then you might have a lot of tips and tricks to share with people who do not fly very often. But there is no better group of people to ask for tips then flight attendants.
Flight attendants spend over 80 hours in the skies each month. With that much experience under their belt, flying has become second nature to many flight attendants. Chances are, they know tricks that even the savviest of flyers have never thought of. In fact, their inside knowledge of how the airline industry works is second to none.
These tips and hacks range from the best way to pack to how to beat jet lag once you reach your destination. Here is a list of hacks that flight attendants around the world use when traveling on a daily basis.
1) Get Free Stuff
When flying, keep in mind that flight attendants are usually the easiest way to access free stuff when things go wrong on your flight. They can offer free drinks and meals, as well as have the ability to give passengers a free upgrade or even more frequent flyer points. Keep in mind that airlines track all of this free stuff. So, chances are they know if you take advantage of the system.
2) Frequent Flyer Accounts Have Notes
In the same vein as the previous slide, frequent flyer accounts do have notes attached to them. So, if you are a good tipper or are generally easy to work with, you will probably get the benefit of the doubt more often. Difficult frequent fliers, on the other hand, will not get the same response from a flight attendant.
3) Don’t Miss Out on First-Class Upgrades
When traveling, some fliers like to try and get upgrades to first-class for cheap. Just keep in mind when doing so that some carriers require a certain dress code to fly in first-class. And even though airlines have relaxed their dress code, make sure to check so that you don’t miss out on flying first-class because you are underdressed.
4) Avoid Sitting by the Bulkhead
Unless you have long legs, it is best to avoid sitting in the bulkhead row. Passengers who sit in the bulkhead have to place all of their belongings in the overhead compartment, have extra responsibilities, and usually have smaller in-seat entertainment systems.
5) Get Cheaper Upgrades
If you arrive early at the airport the day of your flight, you might be able to get some deals on upgrades. Airlines usually offer reduced-price upgrades to passengers on the day of their flight, including first-class seating.
6) Drink Water Before Boarding
With humidity on an airline flight getting as low as 10 percent, passengers who fly often tend to get dehydrated easily. To keep from getting dehydrated, make sure to drink a bottle of water before boarding your flight. You should also visit the restroom before boarding just in case your flight is delayed on the runway.
7) How to Get Through Customs Fast
To save time going through customs when flying back into the United States, many flight attendants recommend the Global Entry program. This program routes members through automatic kiosks making the whole re-entry process faster and easier.
8) Bring a Neck Massager
If you have a tiny neck massager, bring it with you. Using this massager, along with regular stretching, you can relieve some of the stress and tension associated with flying. Best of all, you can use the massager right in your seat during your flight.
9) Use the Clothes-Roll Technique When Packing
A great way to save space in your suitcase is to roll your clothes as opposed to folding them. And while you can generally fit about the same amount of clothing using both methods, rolling your clothes gives you more space up top which you can use for other items.
10) Get Up and Walk on Longer Flights
If you have a longer flight then you should take some time while in the air to get up and stretch your legs. Sitting for too long can lead to muscle cramping and in even blood clots in some extreme cases. When moving about the cabin, stay out of the way of the flight crew and take your seat when asked.
11) Pack Less by Taking Detergent for Washing
If you know that the hotel you are going to be staying at has a washer and dryer available, take less clothing. Instead, take a couple of dryer sheets and detergent packs in a Ziploc bag and eliminate some of the clothing you plan on taking with you.
12) Ask Flight Attendants for Destination Tips
If the opportunity presents itself, ask your flight attendants if they have any travel tips for the destination you are traveling to. This information can include the best restaurants to eat at, the best bars, and if they know of any local points of interest.
13) Do Not Check a Bag by Packing Lightly
When packing for traveling try to limit yourself to exactly what you need while on your trip. Other than some extra underwear, many travelers would be surprised at how much they can get away with not packing when they travel.
14) Bring Your Own In-Flight Entertainment
Always bring alternate entertainment with you when flying. This could include a book, a tablet, or even some paperwork that you need to get done. You never know when the entertainment options provided by the airline might not be working.
15) Fight Jet Lag
Most flight attendants will tell you that the best way to fight jet lag is to have a bedtime ritual. This ritual should include no electronics an hour before bed, drinking a cup of tea, and reading a bit before lying down to sleep.
16) Switch The Time on Your Devices
If you frequently t5ake long haul flights, then you know how bad jet lag can get. To fight jet lag, try switching your watch to the time zone of your destination the day you leave. Also, upon arrival, get some sun and take a short nap to refresh yourself.
17) Avoid Seats Near Babies
Unless you absolutely adore children, you should avoid sitting next to them on a flight. The easiest way to avoid this potential headache is to sit as far away from the bulkheads as possible. The bulkheads are the only place on the plane where parents can secure a bassinet.
18) Ask for a Doggie Bag at Your Hotel
If you have an early flight and will be leaving your hotel before breakfast is served, ask if they can give you a doggie bag instead. This allows you to take your breakfast on the plane with you and avoid having to spend money on food on the flight.
19) Don’t Fly With a Cold
If you have a severe cold, you should avoid flying if possible. Not only can you damage your eardrums from the pressure of the high altitudes, you could lose your hearing, at least for a short time. Chances are the pressure differences will also hurt like the dickens during the flight.
20) Carry a Spare Charger
When traveling, always carry a spare charger. You never know when you might misplace yours or it might get broken. If you misplace it at your hotel, you can always check with the lost and found. And while they might not have found yours, they probably have one somebody else left behind that you can use.
21) Keep Your Hotel Room Dark
When traveling, take some clips with you in your carryon luggage. This will allow you to clip the curtains in your hotel room together to keep out any unwanted light. This in turn makes it easier to sleep and get the rest you need.
22) Carry a Pareo
A pareo is an oversized scarf that has a wide variety of uses when traveling. You can place it over your head when flying to give you a little privacy, can serve as an impromptu picnic blanket, and be used as a cover for use pool side.
23) Look for Creases
Avoid sleeping on hotel sheets that have no creases. Creases signify a fresh set of sheets. On the other hand, sheets that have no creases have been used before, possibly by multiple hotel guests.
24) Carry a One-Piece Black Swimsuit
If you are a woman, then a one-piece black swimming suit is a crucial piece of clothing to take with you when you travel. It can give you an extra layer on a chilly day, can serve as a makeshift shape wear under a dress, and allows you to slip it on for a late night dip.
25) Use a Flat Iron to Iron Clothes
If you are in a pinch for a clothes iron, use a flat iron instead. The heated surface of the flat iron is similar enough to a regular clothes iron to remove creases from your clothing. Just make sure to clean any product off of it before using it in this way.
26) Get in a Good Workout Before and After Flying
Some experts recommend working out both before and after a flight. Exercising is a great way to get your body acclimated to a new time zone, and will help you get back into your daily routine once you return home.
27) Sit at the Back of the Plane for the Best Service
Sitting at the back of the plane just might give you the best service when flying. Most flight attendants is more apt to respond to a call at the back of the plane, as opposed to the front. This is because by the time a flight attendant reaches the front, many items have already been taken.
28) Book a Seat on the Left Side of the Plane
To get off the plane quicker, book a seat on the left side of the plane. This is because the jet way system attaches to the left side of the plane, meaning that the aisles will start exiting from that side first.
29) Plan Meals
Flight attendants even go so far as to suggest that passengers bring their own snacks on the flight. Not only is bringing your own food smart, but it can also be sweet, such as a romantic partner bringing cheese and crackers, and buying two glasses of wine while onboard.
30) Wear Flats Through Airport Security
Your best bet when traveling through security is to wear easy to remove shoes to make the screening process faster. This means wearing a pair of flats for women as they are easy to remove and put back on once they are finished.
31) Choose Your Seat Wisely
Most of the time, you are able to pick the seat you want when purchasing your airline ticket. Take advantage of this to get the seat or seats that you want. The sooner you can buy your tickets, the more choice you will have as to where you want to sit. Keep in mind that not all airlines let you pick your seat.
32) Research the Airport Layout Before Your Flight
Either before you leave home or while waiting on a connecting flight, get a good idea of the layout of the airports you plan on traveling through. This allows you to have an idea of where to go once you get there, especially if you only have a short amount of time to catch the next flight.
33) Say No to Seat Pockets
According to flight attendants, the little pocket on the back of the seat in the airplane is the worst possible place to put your items. People have left, books, makeup, phones, and even laptops. When finished with your items, the best place to put them is back in your bag.
34) Keep Must-Have Items Within Easy Reach
In order to make getting through security and customs at the airport that much easier, keep important documents, such as your ID, passport, and other documents in an easy to reach location. This can include in a laptop bag, the front pocket of your carryon bag, or a briefcase.
35) Keep Your Shoes On
While many passengers like to remove their shoes for longer flights, make sure to put them back on before leaving your seat. This is especially important in the airplane bathroom, as they are a cesspool of germs and worse.
36) Download the Mobile App for Your Airline
In order to keep up to date on your flight and any changes that might occur, download the app for the airline you are flying with. You can also use the airlines app to find out how long security checkpoint times are and to find the airline lounge location upon arriving at the airport.
37) Wear Layers
Many flight attendants speak of the importance of wearing layers when flying. Aircraft, by their very nature, can get uncomfortably cold. By wearing layers, you can take off and put on clothing as the temperature changes throughout the flight.
38) Do Not Travel Through Security With Wrapped Gifts
To avoid any delays going through security do not try to go through with wrapped gifts. If the gift raises any red flags the TSA will unwrap it. Your best bet is to follow all TSA guidelines when taking items on a plane in your carryon and wrap the present once you reach your destination.
39) Take Care of Your Self While Flying
One big drawback to flying is the havoc it plays on your skin, drying it out and leaving behind unsightly breakouts. One way to keep your skin looking fresh while flying is to pamper yourself on your flight. Drink some vitamin C infused sparkling water and use a refreshing face spray.
40) Avoid Wearing Items With Built-in Metal
Another big no-no for going through airport security is to wear articles of clothing with built-in metal. This will only prolong the process and probably lead to additional screening.
41) Look Up to Navigate Through the Airport
The easiest way to navigate through an airport is to look up as you travel down the concourse. Almost all airports have signage overhead which can direct you to various gates and sections of the airport.
42) Bring Along Earplugs or Headphones for Privacy
For the ultimate in privacy while flying, bring along your own headphones, ear buds, or earplugs. If music or an audio book is not your think, battery-operated noise-cancelling headphones can give you the peace and quiet you seek.
43) Allow Adequate Time Between Flights
When buying your tickets, give yourself adequate time to make any connecting flights. This can be difficult if you have a layover in a bigger airport. Give yourself at least 45 minutes or longer to make your connecting flight to account for delays.
44) Bring Your Own Sleeping Gear
If you think you might take a nap mid-flight, bring your own sleeping gear. This includes a mask to go over your eyes, a neck pillow, and either ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones.
45) Remain Aware While in the Airport
While onboard the plane, or even in the airport, be aware of others around you. Nothing is more annoying than a passenger who insists on unnecessarily blocking the aisle when you are trying to get to your seat. At least wait until everyone is seated if you must dig around in your bag or move off to the side when you need to stop on the airport concourse.
46) Shift Your Sleep Schedule
Another great way to fight jet lag is to change your sleep schedule to fit the new hours at your destination. You can start doing this a couple of days before your flight. When you do get up at your destination, immediately get some sunshine upon waking up.
47) Don’t Drink the Water on the Plane
If you plan on drinking water on the plane, make sure it is not the tap water available on the plane itself. While you would think the water on the plane would be safe, you never know how clean the tanks onboard really are. Your best bet is to bring your own.
48) Wear Bulky Items, Such as Coats, on Flight Instead of Packing Them
Flight attendants recommend wearing bulky items, such as coats instead of packing them. This allows you to save space in your luggage. Just make sure not to overdo it, as you could end up overheating.
49) Disinfect the Air Vent Above Your Seat
Before turning on the air vent above your seat, disinfect it with an alcohol wipe. In addition, point the vent toward your lap opposed to pointing it toward your face. Doing so can help prevent you from catching a cold from the previous seat occupant.
50) Consider Using TSA PreCheck if You Fly Frequently
If you are a frequent flyer you should seriously consider applying for the TSA PreCheck program. While it costs money, the amount of time it can save you when going through security at the airport virtually pays for itself over time.
51) Disinfect the Tray Table
In addition to disinfecting the air vent above your seat, you should disinfect the tray in front of you. You have no way of knowing who touched it last and failing to disinfect it by at least wiping it down could lead to you getting sick.
52) Never Use the Bathroom During Beverage Service
If you must use the plane bathroom, make sure to do so either before or after the beverage service. Once the beverage cart rolls out, it could be up to 20 minutes or more before you will be able to get back to your seat.
53) Do Not Exchange Currency at the Airport
If you must exchange currency during your trip wait until you are out of the airport or at the very least try to exchange it before you get to the airport. Currency exchanges within the airport are known for having some of the worst rates out there.
54) In-Flight Internet is the Worst During the Morning on Weekdays
Many flight attendants will tell you that the worst time to use an airplane’s in-flight internet is during the morning on a weekday. This is due to the large number of business travelers who fly at this time and need to use the internet at that time.
55) Plan a Packing Routine
If you travel a lot you should consider setting up a packing routine. With a packing routine, you use the same bags every time. In each bag, every item you pack has a specific place. To facilitate this you can purchase packing cubes and even have a toiletry bag, with all of your essentials, ready to go at all times.
56) Get a Membership at a Nationwide Gym
Another great thing to do if you are a traveler and like to work out is to get a membership at a national gym. That way, when you find yourself away from home, you can go to the local gym for the chain you are a member of.
57) Be Polite to Airline Staff
When dealing with airline staff be polite. It doesn’t take anything extra and can go a long way toward getting something done if things go wrong. Keep in mind that the airline staff, especially the ones who check you in, can play a big part in how good of a trip you have.
58) Get Some Sunlight After Your Flight
Upon arriving at your destination, try to spend some time outside in the sunlight. Not only does this give your body a boost of vitamin D, but it can also improve your mood after a long day of flying, often in cramped quarters.
59) Avoid Using Airline Blankets not Wrapped in Plastic
If you must use a blanket from the airline while on a flight, make sure it is one that is wrapped in plastic. The same goes for pillows. Unwrapped blankets and pillows have probably been used by who knows how many people before you touched it.