Travel hacks: What the cabin crew can advise you about flying
“THIS IS YOUR SEATBELT. To fasten, insert the metal tip into the buckle and tighten the belt by pulling on the buckle strap. To unfasten..”
The cabin crew’s roles are often overlooked because some passengers liken them to being “wait staff in the air”. Of course, their job scope is more than just serving you hot meals or getting you a glass of white wine and cleaning up after you.
They’re also trained to handle security issues (unruly passengers, bomb threats, hijacking) very seriously, are armed with first aid knowledge to attend to medical emergencies and help save lives if needed, on top of “waiting” on you and juggling their responsibilities for the welfare of the passengers, the aircraft and the crew.
So when it comes getting tips on making the most out of your flight, who better to ask than the people who fly day in, day out? From staying healthy to staying comfortable, we asked some cabin crew for some travel hacks to make your flying experience better.
Pick your seat
If you’re a light sleeper, it’s best to avoid sitting at the back of the plane as the ride could be a little bumpy. That having said, back row seats have more recline, is closer to the galley and therefore easier to get service, and people in the back row usually board the plane first so they get first dibs on the overhead compartment.
Pack a cabin luggage
Instead of trying to force everything into a large hand carry (backpack or handbag), consider dividing your belongings into a small hand carry and a cabin luggage. Not only will it open up more space in your seating area, it will also allow you travel a little lighter, in the sense that you won’t have to strain your shoulders lugging an overloaded hand carry around with you.
Avoid potential theft
And on that note, store your cabin luggage in the overhead compartment across from your seat instead of the one right above your head. This will keep your cabin luggage within view and allow you to keep an eye on your belongings so that it doesn’t get stolen.
Lounge in your jammies
If you’re going to pack a cabin luggage, this is easy to do. It’s useful to pack a spare set of comfortable clothing and change into them once you’re in the plane. Be sure to add your jammies or some loose-fitting clothes into your packing list. Throw in a cozy pair of socks or slippers, while you’re at it.
Ask and you shall receive
For full-service airlines, there’ll always be a first aid kit and other amenities on board. If you need a plaster, ear plugs, eye mask or sanitary products, don’t be too shy to ask. If you’ve got kids in tow, feel free to ask your cabin crew for activity books and crayons or mini board games to keep them occupied.
Fill up and drink up
The price of a bottle of water at the airport or on a low-cost airline can be pretty expensive. Although you can’t bring bottled water through the security checkpoint, a good alternative would be bringing an empty bottle then filling it up at a water fountain at the gate or when you’re in the plane. Flying dehydrates you so drink lots of water before, during and after a flight.
Long-haul flights can be a pain and it can take a toll on anyone, even frequent flyers. But it’s also the best time to treat yourself, so take the opportunity to catch up on your skincare regime and put on a face mask to help keep your skin hydrated.
Bring your own
If you happen to have mini bottles of alcohol lying around at home (you know, the hotel mini bar-sized ones), pack them in your hand carry. A tiny alcohol bottle is usually 1.7 ounces and travelers are allowed to bring as many 3.4 ounce bottles of liquid (including alcohol) that will fit in a quart-sized plastic bag. Just remember to be discreet about making and drinking your cocktail.
Get it tagged
Another under-the-radar benefit that you might not know about is the priority baggage tag. Ask for one at the check-in counter and you may be able to pick up your luggage earlier at the baggage claim as the tag tells baggage handlers to prioritize unloading and delivery.
Opt for transit
Flights with one or more transits are not only usually cheaper, but it can also take the stress (and the swollen feet and ankles) out of the long-haul journey. So get up during your stopover, stretch your legs, take a walk, or freshen up if you need to. Maybe connect to the airport WiFi to check in with your loved ones or social media, even?