Airline Tips from a Flight Attendant

Airplane Tips from a Flight Attendant

***Flight attendants are on the plane primarily for your safety and to maybe try to make you laugh. We are not your maids.***


We will begin by starting as if we’re getting ready for a trip together, going back to the basics. Where are you headed and for how long? What will the temperature be like? What are the main activities you are planning on doing?


1. Packing:


If you don’t get to travel very often, chances are you’re going to want to bring souvenirs back for friends and family. Maybe you’ll acquire some memorabilia to get nostalgic about one day.   Whatever the case may be, you’re going to want a little extra space in your suitcase. My opinion might not matter, but pictures are the most important thing to me, items and materialistic things just get put into closets and eventually thrown out; use your time and money wisely.

Unless you are planning on a month long vacation, you do not need anything more than a travel size suitcase and a purse/backpack. I promise you, you can and will be able to fit everything you’ll need into your carry-ons. Even if you will be gone for a long time, I’m sure you can find a washer/Laundromat somewhere on your adventures.

      Plan, plan, plan. Plan out outfits according to your list of activities, and of course, the weather. You’ll find that the simpler the outfit seems, the better it will be when you’re on vacation. Solid colors, stripes, and neutrals should be immediate go to’s.   If you are a bubbly person and like pops of color, then do it, but it small ways. For instance, a versatile yellow scarf to wear in your hair with a black dress one day and around your neck with a white v neck the next day.  

Bringing along neutrals with small, lightweight accessories allows for multiple outfit opportunities. Let’s be real, how many of the same people are going to notice that you re-wore the same shoes? Rock it.


  Only pack your necessities.This ties back into planning. If you roughly have an idea about what you want to do on vacay then you should have an idea about what type of clothing and other items you will need.

Some staple necessities:

-a small travel umbrella (one that folds up relatively small).

-a small first aid kit (at least antibiotic and Band-Aids)

-toothbrush/toothpaste/deodorant -brush/comb and a few hair ties

-a pen (please know that if you travel to a foreign country you will have to fill out paperwork, be prepared).

-the medications/vitamins you take on a daily basis




-1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of shorts, a couple tops, 1 workout outfit, 1 dress, 1 outfit to sleep in, 1 bathing suit, a couple socks and underwear

-1 pair of sneakers and 1 pair of sandals


Other things to consider but are not necessities:

-a fold up travel blanket

-a nicer camera (if you enjoy taking pictures and already have one)

-a fold up travel yoga mat (if you do yoga on the daily and want to continue your practices)

-travel dry-brush and tongue scraper to keep up with Ayurveda practices.

-packaged food if you have dietary restrictions (fresh, home-cooked food if you’re not going out of the country and it’s not a liquid will still be allowed through security).

-a going out outfit

-makeup/other toiletries

-a reusable water bottle (the airports have water fountains where you can fill up and won’t have to pay $7 for one bottle of water).


All of these items will fit in your carry on suitcase. I know, because I do it nearly every day. Chances are you’re not going to a third world country and will have accessible pharmacies, grocery stores, and clothing stores. If you forget something you feel like you need, I’m sure you will be able to find it. Do not stress about not having enough, you will. 


Remember: if you pack it, you stow it.


***Flight attendants are on the plane primarily for your safety and to maybe try to make you laugh. We are not your maids.***



Can you imagine a flight attendant lifting over 150-passenger bags overhead within 30 minutes at least once to three times a day? That’s not a part of our job description. Contrary to popular belief, we actually are not supposed to lift your bagsdue to many injuries (because people over packed).


3. Pack what you can carry. 


Also, please follow the rules and only place one bag in the overhead and one under the seat in front of you. I can almost guarantee that you would be angry at me if I made you check your bag because someone threw both their bags up there and didn’t leave any space for you. Do not be that person. We will know who you are.


4. Now on to my favorite topic: Human Decency


I truly believe that all people are innately good humans. Yet sometimes they just decide not to show it. FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ARE PEOPLE, TOO. 


If you work in any customer service related job I’m sure you understand what I mean here. With exploiting on social media and news stories, I find people want to take advantage of us and get everything out of us that they can. Hence, rude comments, throwing fits, causing a fuss to try to get something free, the list goes on and on. 


Your selfless, wonderful being that I know you are, should not disappear as soon as you walk into the airport. The check-in staff is just following the rules and doing their job, do not get angry, if you have a big bag I’m sure you already were aware that they were going to have you check it. 


Going through security is always a bit chaotic so I understand the stress here, but do not lose your patience. The TSA agents are protecting your safety, making sure that no one around you is bringing anything restricted inside. So, the next time you head through security and you get a random screening, all you have to do is step aside, take a deep breath, let them search through your bag, and then thank them for keeping you safe. Then whallahhh! All finished! Now you can head to your gate.


***Flight attendants are on the plane primarily for your safety and to maybe try to make you laugh. We are not your maids.***



I know traveling seems stressful and airports really get under some peoples skin, but it doesn’t have to be. Trust me, I’m not shaming you, I absolutely see why It can cause a ruckus sometimes, I even have to remind myself to keep my cool a lot, but let’s try to have the perspective that we’re all in this together


When you reach your gate take a seat, grab a snack, fill up your water bottle, read a book, search the web, literally anything to keep you satisfied. When you see the gate agent walk up, they are just walking up to that job. They will not have your answers until they log in to the computer look through everything, sign the crew in and get settled. Please do not bombard them with questions because they will tell you to sit back down. Instead, give them a few minutes and if you ask them at the appropriate time I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you.


5. Boarding:


If you’re scanning your boarding pass and they ask you to check your bag, please comply. They most likely received a call from the flight crew asking them to start checking bags because there is no more space. Neither the gate agents nor the flight attendants designed the aircraft and made the bins so small. Please do not place your anger on us. We cannot control the aircraft size; we are just doing what our job requires us to do. Honestly, it’s nothing personal, just check your bag for free and then pick it up when you land. Easy Peasy. 




Yes, I know I’m still on the human decency topic, but I feel like it still applies to all these categories. I’m not calling you out, Karen, but some people seem to check their brain at the door when they check in for their flight. So yes, human decency is my topic for boarding and during the flight. 


WOOHOOO! The boarding door closed, you’re in your seat awaiting this wonderful tour through the sky. You have free reign to check out and do whatever you feel like now right? EHHH WRONGGG. You still have lovely flight attendants telling you what to do. 


***Flight attendants are on the plane primarily for your safety and to maybe try to make you laugh. We are not your maids.***


6. During the flight:


We all know the best thing to do on a plane is sleep. Honestly, flight attendants love it when you sleep the whole time because it’s one less person to deal with. So do it. Sleep. The. Entire. Time. Please. I say this from the kindness of my heart because I do not want you to be grouchy on your vacation. I care about you.


Ok, Ok. Sarcasm aside, I really do care about others and I love human interaction. However, flight attendants are primarily there for your safety. If there weren’t so many safety issues with traveling, our jobs wouldn’t even exist. Can you imagine no one serving you drinks and snacks?? What ever would you do? (maybe you might consider packing your own). 


One more thing about ensuring you have the proper food and medications on board. If you or someone you’re traveling with has a dietary restriction, such as gluten free, diabetes, asthma, vegan, etc. please make sure you bring items that you or this person can consume. If you rely on the flight staff you will be disappointed. Short flights do not even carry fresh food and long flights only have a couple of options. 


Perspective, people.There is so much that goes on behind the scenesto make sure everything is boarded on the flight. We have caterers going from plane to plane loading the correct food for that specific aircraft. It doesn’t just magically appear in thin air. I beg you not to become frustrated while we’re flying 35,000 feet in the air at 500mph that your gluten free, vegan, keto meal was not boarded. When delays happen and/or we’re short on caterers’ mistakes happen, we’re all only human.



Side note: Plane food is terrible for you, health-wise. It is full of sodium and preservatives to keep it lasting in the air. Most flight attendants won’t even eat it. 


***Flight attendants are on the plane primarily for your safety and to maybe try to make you laugh. We are not your maids.***


7. Things Not to Do on an Airplane:



-Do not leave your headphones in while we try to communicate with you. For one, it’s disrespectful; we’re trying to take care of you. Secondly, it’s a guarantee that you will not hear us. The plane is loud enough without headphones in your ear. If I go through the entire list of drinks to the person next to you, and you know we’re going to ask you next, but you still ask me what we have, you can best believe you will be receiving a sarcastic smile as I go through everything again. 


-Do not go barefoot anywhere on the plane. And I meananywhere. Lavatories? Nope. That is not water on the floor that you see. It is definitely urine.Yes, now you’re stepping on puddles and puddles of urine. Do not even go barefoot at your seat. If it’s a long flight, I get it, it’s way more comfortable to take your shoes off. However, if you do, put socks or slippers on immediately afterward. Also, if you only have socks on, I recommend putting your shoes back on before heading to the bathroom.  The planes do get cleaned, but I’m sure a number of people have thrown up on the floor of where you’re sitting. Just wear shoes. 


-Do not drink a ton of alcoholWater is now your best friend. If you’re delayed, do not go get rounds of drinks to take the pain away that it’s cutting into your vacation. Being drunk/hung-over on a plane is ten times worse than it feels on the ground. You will feel miserable the entire time and we will not feel sorry for you. Not to mention that if you seem very intoxicated, we have the ability to not let you board the flight, because we know it’ll hit you harder in the air. The plane also dehydrates you waaaaayyy more than you think. So please, for everyone’s sake, drink as much water as you can. 


***Flight attendants are on the plane primarily for your safety and to maybe try to make you laugh. We are not your maids.***



-Do not treat the plane as if it’s your home. For some reason people think because we’re thousands of feet up that all rules can be broken. This is far from the truth. It is still a mode of transportation. Think about the ways you act on a train/metro, cab/car, and bus. Would you let your child run all around? Would you get up and do yoga in front of everyone? Would you yell at your cab driver because he doesn’t have a meal awaiting your arrival? We do want you to feel as comfortable as possible, but keep in mind that you’re in a public place. Also, please do not hand us a dirty diaper when we’re picking up trash. That is just unsanitary on all levels. I know you’re comfortable with your child, but I’m not. Dispose of it in a sick bag in one of the trashcans in the lavatories. 


-Do not take the seat belt sign lightly. It is there for your safety. Once again, majority of the things we ask of you are for your safetyYou’re a human as well. We want to make sure we get you from point A to point B as safely as possible. Respect the sign. You may have not experienced bad turbulence and you do not realize how bad it can be. I was once that naïve as well. But it can get really bad. Sometimes it will be bad enough to fly you up to the ceiling if you’re not buckled in. Multiple flight attendants have had to have surgeries from turbulence (broken necks, backs, etc). Do not risk you or your family’s life by thinking the seat belt sign is a joke. 


The thing that really shocks me is when parents take their kids to the bathroom when the seatbelt sign comes on and it starts to get bumpy. We, as flight attendants, are required to tell you to sit back down, the seat belt sign is on, and that this is at your own risk. Most parents just say, “I know, but my kid is going to pee his pants” or “my kid is going to get sick”.  Fine. But think of it this way: would you rather have your kid pee in his pants/ throw up on the floor or in a sick bag? Or would you rather your child be up and about during an extreme batch of turbulence and be thrown to the ceiling and wind up with a broken spine? I’ll let you think about that. 


Most of the time turbulence does not end up that bad, thankfully. However, do not think you’re invincible and take your life for granted. It can get really serious sometimes. It only takes one moment to change your life forever. So, please, leave your seatbelt on.


Lastly, Just a few things to remember:


-Put your positive panties on when you start your day.


-You’re going on a trip! Carry that enthusiasm on your flight and smile a lot!


-Try to be patient during a delay. Whether it’s from air traffic, maintenance, or weather, it is better safe than sorry.


-If you’re boarding the aircraft and the overhead bins are closed, THEY ARE FULL. Do not open them and expect your bag to fit. Find an empty one. There are no assigned overhead bin spaces. It is first come first serve.


-The lavatory doors tell you how to open them, with words and sometimes with pictures. Most are push in, but some are pull, and some even have a knob like at home. If you struggle, we will help at you. And then we most likely will laugh because it never fails to happen.


-If this post sounded harsh to you, you’re probably one of the good ones. There really are only a handful of people that like to make things complicated, most understand.