Flight attendants do far more than give out beverages and snacks. These crew members also have solid advice on air travel based upon their knowledge and experience. Below, three flight attendants pass along their best tips for fliers on how to travel smarter and better.
KNOW YOUR TICKET INCLUSIONS
Understand what you’re getting with your ticket. Flight attendant Reggie Dominique recommends checking up on what is—and what is not—offered within the pricing level of a flight. Some categories may not include full meal service, free check-in bag, or an assigned seat number. “Before you book the flight, it tells you what’s available on that flight—and what’s not,” Dominique said.
GET SITUATED BEFORE YOU’RE ON THE PLANE
Get your stuff situated beforehand. While waiting at the gate, Dominique says to organize everything you might want to access on board—from your headphones to your iPad—in your carry-on, for easy and quick assess. Standing in the aisle and searching through your items can slow down the boarding process.
Stay hydrated. On long flights, and often due to the cabin's low humidity levels, Dominique says flight attendants will do “water walks” to provide complimentary cups of water to passengers. He also recommends bringing some water on board. For example, take a refillable water bottle to the airport.
BRING YOUR OWN SNACKS
Consider bringing food on board, especially if your flight doesn’t include a meal. Flight attendant Lara Ketterman, who is also the cohost of the "Non-Rev Lounge" podcast, suggests bringing something that can be comfortably eaten on board. Oftentimes, flight attendants have to discontinue cabin service for safety, so be prepared. “If you have special dietary needs, please plan on taking care of those needs yourself.”
TAKE MORNING FLIGHTS
Fly out in the morning. Ketterman says her family was always encouraged to take the first possible flight. “That way if there are any problems, there is time in the day to rectify them. If they are delayed and worried about missing their connection, savvy travelers get online with the airline and look up alternative flights.”
USE THE SHERPA APP
Download the free Sherpa App. This app gives you the correct travel documentation for a particular country,” Ketterman said. “It will tell you the country's visa, vaccine, and health requirements.”
BE COURTEOUS WITH YOUR HEADPHONES
Take off your headphones, please. Briony Miller, a travel/lifestyle content creator and former flight attendant, recommends removing your headphones (or earbuds) when your flight attendant is approaching or trying to get your attention. Miller has found that passengers often have their headphones on when being asked if they would like something to drink or a snack, and then miss their opportunity to reply. “That happens a lot.”
DOWNLOAD YOUR AIRLINE’S APP
Download your airline’s app. Miller always advises customers to use their airline’s app, as they can use it for checking in and viewing important flight information, such as the gate number and seat assignment (if applicable).
Bring something warm to wear. The temperature within your plane’s cabin can get chilly, so Miller advises bringing a sweater or small blanket to keep warm. “A lot of people come on ready to go out when they land. But they don't think about how cold it's going to be on the plane.”