Travel Tips From Flight Attendants That Will Change the Way You Fly
Traveling can be incredibly stressful. You stand in lines non-stop, everything costs an arm and a leg, and when you finally board your plane, you don’t really have space to kick back and relax.
Fortunately, the best tips and tricks recommended by flight attendants can make every flight a million times better. From what to order during beverage service to where to sit, flight attendants know exactly what you need to do to travel like a pro.
Frequent Flier Accounts Have Notes Attached
Be sure to be kind to every employee you interact with at the airport. From the gate agent to the flight attendant, they all have access to your frequent flier account notes. Think of your frequent flier account like a permanent record — a record that can actually have negative consequences.
Back of the Plane Gets Better Service
Customer service is better in the back of the plane. Flight attendants can quickly grab whatever you need in the back of the aircraft. Need another drink or a pillow? Most items that are commonly requested are stored in the back of the plane, mainly because flight attendants do most of their work in the back. It’s where food and drinks are prepped and other tasks are carried out.
Don't Exchange Currency at the Airport
You might think the airport is the most convenient place to exchange your money — and maybe it is — but even though it’s an easy stop after getting off the plane, the exchange rates are terrible at the airport. Rates always fluctuate, but you can always count on paying more inside the terminal.
Only Plastic-Wrapped Blankets Are Germ-Free
The only way to ensure your blanket is germ-free is to get a plastic-wrapped pack. Another passenger has likely used any loose blanket that you might find on the plane, and you don't know if they were sick or what they did with that blanket. It's not sanitary to use it.
Fly at Night
Flying at night is the best option for many reasons. Parents are less likely to take their children on the red-eye, allowing you to avoid crying babies on your journey. Additionally, other people are less likely to fly at night, leaving the plane less crowded.
Get the Vegetarian Meal
Specialty meals, such as vegetarian meals, are passed out first. Even if you don't adhere to a vegetarian diet, this dining option will get your food out faster. You could be enjoying your meal before most people on the plane even get to choose chicken or fish.
Take Your Refillable Water Bottle
Save money by carrying your refillable water bottle. After you make it through security, you can fill your water bottle up for free instead of spending big bucks on a small bottle. Airports charge a lot for simple items, so it's best to save as much as you can before reaching your destination.
Head Toward the Left at Security
Most people are right-handed and tend to favor that side when given an option. If you want to experience shorter lines, avoid your instinct and choose the left-hand side at security. People also tend to jump in the closest line, so try to move away from the entrance to find the shortest line possible. You'll be surprised at how fast your line moves on the left side of security.
Don't Take the Voucher
If the gate agent starts trying to persuade fliers to trade their seats on an overbooked flight for a voucher, stand your ground and don't accept it. If no one takes the bait, the agents eventually have to offer even better deals to persuade passengers to take another flight.
Don't Take the First Offer
Having said the previous, when the gate agent starts offering money to give up your seat on an overbooked flight, don't take the first offer. They obviously want to pay as little as possible and start low. The longer you wait, the more money you could receive for the inconvenience. Keep in mind that airlines can pay up to $1,350 for a flight!
Window Seats Are the Coldest
If you're always cold while flying, avoid the window seat. These seats provide some cool views at certain points but are more chilly than other positions on the plane. If you’re particularly sensitive to chilly temperatures, the aisle seats are the warmest on the plane.
Join the Frequent Flier Program
There are typically a lot of benefits to joining a frequent flier program. Each airline offers different perks, such as free Wi-Fi or free checked bags. If you have a favorite airline, it's definitely worth your time to sign up for the company’s frequent flier program. Signing up is typically free, and it increases your chances of getting upgraded on your flights.
Wipe Down Everything
The first thing you should do when you sit down in your seat is wipe everything down with an antibacterial wipe. Most people focus on the trays, but you should also be sure to wipe down the air vent and the armrests. Always carry wipes with you for this reason.
Don't Use the Seat Pockets
Don't use the seat pocket unless you're okay with losing whatever you put in it. No, it’s not a secret vortex that ejects your items from the plane, but you’re likely to forget whatever you put in it because it’s not visible. Books, Kindles and iPads (Ouch!) have all been lost to seat pockets on planes. Think of it as a black hole for forgotten items.
Planes are warm when you first board, but they get incredibly chilly throughout the flight. To maintain a comfortable temperature throughout your flight, wear lots of layers. This allows you to remove clothing when you get warm and then put layers back on when you start to get cold. This trick particularly comes in handy when you're traveling far away.
Wear Compression Socks
Walking around on the plane isn’t always an option, especially if you're stuck next to the window. Be sure to wear compression socks to help with blood circulation throughout the flight. These socks are snug and keep your blood flowing right, even when you're not up and moving around.
Take Extra Entertainment
If you don’t want to be bored, assume your airplane won’t have any entertainment. All too often, the movies or internet access breaks down on flights, leaving passengers staring at blank screens until they reach their destinations. Be sure to plan for lots of non-internet entertainment.
Ask Your Flight Attendants for Recommendations
Flight attendants get to see a lot of cities, and that makes them a great resource if you're traveling to a new place. Ask your flight attendant for any cool recommendations for your destination. If the one you ask doesn’t know, maybe one of the other attendants can help you out.
Don't Drink the Water
Obviously, there isn't any plumbing in the sky. Water is available on the plane, thanks to a large tank. Believe it or not, the tank is not cleaned as frequently as you would like. In fact, it's notorious for not being clean. That's not to say you can't drink the water, but you can safely assume it’s not a great choice.
Don't Wear Flip-Flops
Planes are among the dirtiest places because they are used so frequently by so many people, but cleaned so infrequently. Avoid wearing flip-flops on the plane if you want to keep your feet clean. (Security frowns upon this footwear as well.) The carpet on a plane is one of the least cleaned places in the sky.
Don't Forget Your Sleeping Mask
Sleeping masks are great for planes. They can help you stick to your sleep schedule after a long trip, take a much needed nap or just prevent your next-seat neighbor from talking your ear off the entire flight. Be sure to remember to pack your sleep mask before heading to the airport because they can be expensive onsite.
Avoid the Call Button
Some people use the call button to summon a flight attendant for every little thing. They're cold, or they need to throw something away or tattle on another passenger. Don't be that passenger. Flight attendants don't like running down the aisle constantly for simple requests that could have waited.
A Letter to the Airline Is Worth More Than Any Tip
Some people try to tip their flight attendants, which is entirely okay, but there's a better gift than money. If you had a fantastic experience and want to thank your flight attendant, reach out directly to the airline.
Show Up Early for an Upgrade
Don't spend an arm and a leg upgrading your seat when you first buy your ticket. Just remember to show up early to the airport to speak to the gate agent before your flight. Ask if upgrades are available. Better seats are the cheapest right before the flight.
Avoid Bulkheads and Babies
Bulkheads are the seats right behind the partitions in planes. Families typically book these seats because of the extra legroom. If you want to avoid any crying babies, be sure to book a seat as far away from those seats as possible.
Work Out Before You Fly
A great way to ensure you enjoy a relaxing flight is to get your workout in before going to the airport. If you have a long flight, working out right before going to the airport can wear you out and help you sleep on the flight. Additionally, workouts ensure your body stays primed and ready for the wear and tear of air travel.
Roll Your Clothes for Packing
One great packing tip is to roll up your clothes. By rolling them instead of folding them, you decrease the number of wrinkles and save space in your luggage. Just roll the clothes up like a piece of sushi. You can even roll outfits up together to make the matching process much easier when you get ready to unpack on arrival.
Drink Water Before the Flight
The changes in altitude and the recycled air can result in faster than normal dehydration. The best way to avoid getting dehydrated is to drink a bottle of water before boarding the plane. Of course, also be sure to hit up the bathroom before getting on the plane to avoid a trip to the bathroom mid-flight (hopefully).
Don't Use the Bathroom During Drink Service
When you gotta go, you gotta go — but you might want to wait until after drink service is complete. Passengers who get up while the giant cart is rolling down the aisle can get stuck in front of it or behind it. Being next to the drink cart can be dangerous if the plane hits some turbulence. If you're in front, the cart could roll into you. If you're behind it, you could have a flight attendant bump into you.
Take Your Own Snacks
Much like items in the airport, airplane snacks are expensive. No one wants to pay $20 for some crackers and fake cheese, but most people don't realize they can take their own food on the plane. Airport security allows food to pass through security — within reason. It’s not a good idea to try to get a four-course meal through the scanners.