Tips from Flight Attendants on How to Better Enjoy Your Vacation and Save Money

Flying can be a pretty tricky ordeal. For some of us, it’s even a gut-wrenching and anxiety-ridden one too! Ask anyone who has flown before, and they will tell you how much of a hassle it is. There’s getting to the airport on time, then making sure your bags are packed correctly. You have to understand all the security procedures, and then you enter the maze of terminals that are sometimes extremely long and treacherous. By the time you get to your terminal, you realize that you still didn’t drink your coffee, yet, your back hurts and boarding has already begun. Then you load up on the plane, you’re hungry, tired, grumpy, and your seat ends up being right next to the bathroom! Despite the struggle, flying doesn’t have to be so hard.

We gathered some flight crew travel tips that can take your travels the extra mile! Scroll through to see all the tips and secrets that make traveling easier for flight attendants, and tips they have for you to enjoy the flight.

Freebies

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The flight service industry has many different types of free service perks that you need to know about before taking off for the first time. The first thing is, get yourself a “Mile’s” credit card. Then every purchase you make will add frequent flyer miles to your ticket, and then you will be eligible for bumping up to business class. Also never feel too ashamed to ask for food on the flight, even between meals. Long haul flights usually serve free drinks and sandwiches. But they don’t tell you. All you have to do is ask!

Frequent Flyer Ratings

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Just like airlines get reviewed, so do frequent flyers. So be on your best behavior during the flight.  It takes a lot of chutzpah to be blacklisted from flying, but it does not mean you’re not going to get a bad review. If you don’t behave well on the flight and treat attendants in respect, they will make note of it, and on the next flight, you will feel the difference.

Get the Upgrade Early

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A first-class ticket on a plane is no cheap expense. Some tickets can cost north of 7,000 dollars. One secret that airlines won’t tell you is that they don’t actually make money from selling first-class airfares. Airlines make money from frequent flyer miles. They make strategic partnerships with credit card companies and make a lot more money than we can dream of on your simple daily purchases. The trade-off for the airline is worth it. Airlines make billions of dollars a year from frequent flyer credit cards. Your trade-off is the fact that you can get to the airport and only add a couple hundred bucks to upgrade to first.

Seats to Avoid

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After you buy your ticket online, don’t log off immediately. The most critical step after purchasing your ticket is doing online check-in.  Scroll down your online receipt and you will see a link to pick your flight seat. In 2019, everyone does this, and if you don’t, you will end up on a seat in the plane you are sure to not enjoy. Two types of seats on jumbo jets that everyone avoids are next to the bathroom or on the bulkhead. There is no reason to explain, just don’t do it!

Cheap Upgrades

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A cheap upgrade comes in many forms. There are different tricks to getting one. The first one we discussed already, and that’s buying with your miles card and showing up to the airport packed with points on it. But there are some other tricks, too! If you get a connecting flight that is from a major airport, on a busy day, chances are the economy class may be full on your next flight. So the airline will be forced to bump you to business. This last one is ill-advised, but you can also get to your flight late, hope it’s full, and get yourself a free business class seat.

Before Boarding

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A day in the airport consists of thousands of steps and sometimes hours of standing time and even heavy lifting of bags and luggage. When using up this much energy, you need to hydrate throughout your time in the airport, because once you enter the cabin, you will notice the air is cold and very dry. You will be thirsty for the next hour until the flight crew gets together the food and drinks service. People have been known to faint during this time.

Getting Through Customs Fast

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Do some research on the customs process of both your arrival and departure airports to understand how you can dodge the lines, and get out on time. Some times there is no way to get out of it fast unless you get there first. So, if you find that you’re flying internationally and customs only has a couple of kiosks open at your destination, you know to make a run for it. Some airports around the world and all airports in the US have an automated customs system where you do it yourself at a kiosk, and get a stamp at the door.

The Neck Pillow

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A neck pillow may look funny if you haven’t tried one before. But it’s worth it. The plane shakes around during turbulence, and if you’re sleeping, it can sprain your neck pretty bad without one. Also, it’s fun when you’re awake too to not have to hold up your chin for ten hours.

Rolling Cloths Up

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Most people choose to take their folded clothes and put them folded into the suitcase. It’s actually better to take the time to tightly roll your clothes up and set them neatly one by one. You will quickly find that you saved space and even have room for more!

Getting Off  Your Tushy

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Studies show that when people fly for the first time, they can be overly complacent and anxious about doing the wrong thing on the plane and getting in trouble. This translates to people leaving their seatbelts on and staying seated the whole way there. Flight Attendants actually encourage you to get up stretch and walk around a bit. Especially on long haul flights!

Taking Laundry Detergent

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Why take laundry detergent on a trip? Most hotels won’t tell you this, but they actually give washing and drying serves to guests for their personal items. If you don’t bring your own detergent, they will make you pay a hefty price to use theirs. Also, you will be able to save a day’s worth of clothes on packing.

The Concierge

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Airline attendants have to go through tests before they join different flight crews, and one of the tests they need to pass is facts about the destination. So, don’t hesitate to ask the flight attendants for travel advice. They are trained and will be able to answer most of your questions, regarding bus fares, best routs, good hotels, and even events.  

Luggage Tips

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Luggage rules can be tough to understand. It used to be very simple where people would take one carry-on bag with them and two suitcases. The rules have since and actually became unique and different for every airline. Make sure you read up on all the rules for luggage and carry-ons as they go down to tiny details. If you are unprepared, you’ll end up paying a pretty big surcharge on them.

Bring Some of Your Own Entertainment

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In the world of modern technology, it’s pretty surprising that airlines still don’t give you a tablet. Inflight entertainment is not an airline guarantee, and during busy seasons of flying, you may be put on an old jet with no screen on it. And even if there is entertainment on the flight, who’s to say you’ll be interested in it!

Fight the Urge!

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If it’s the first time you fly long distance, you may want to read up on jet lag. Jet lag is when the time difference in your destination is entirely different from the one in your origin. The result is your eyes may be seeing a beautiful new place, but your brain still thinks its time to go to sleep. Fight the urge to sleep right away after the flight, and hold out as long as you can so you can sleep through the night. That way, you can wake up feeling like a local.

Time Difference

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If you’re flying for business purposes, make sure to set up two different watches: one for your destination, and another one of your origin. Make sure to mark these watches too, so you don’t get mixed up. This is a helpful trick if you want to stay on time with phone calls and meetings.

Stay Away from Babies (Only in Flights..)

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Flying is a terrible experience for babies, and an even worse experience if you’re sitting next to one! Babies tend to have more ear pain on a flight and are also very anxious about the change of scenery and the turbulence. Because of this, babies tend to always cry on the plane. There’s not much you can do to stop them without breaking the law. So, make sure you stay away from the front row seat unless you can avoid buying the whole row to yourself.

Doggy Bag

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If it is your last night of vacation, you don’t need to plan an early sleep before the flight. Most people skip the fun of the previous night because they want to wake up early and have breakfast at the hotel before leaving. Why not do the opposite and ask the hotel for a to-go box and take that breakfast with you on the go?

Don’t Fly Sick

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Airlines are not that strict about sick flyers, and will not be likely to turn you away if you’re showing signs of being sick. But many airports turn you away at check-in even if you’re showing signs of sickness. Some airports also turn you back to your origin if they suspect you’re carrying germs that don’t exist in their country. So, try and stay healthy before a flight. Wash your hands a lo, and eat food you made at home to avoid getting sick.

Take Charge

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One out of every two people flying will tend to lose something either on their flight or during their vacation. One of the most common things lost during vacations is a charger. You either leave it on the plane or in the hotel and sometimes in the hotel lobby or cafes. Make sure to bring two chargers with you so you never get stuck without one.

Bring Clips

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Hotel curtains sometimes don’t close all the way and end up waking you up too early. Hotels actually do this on purpose to get you out of the room. You can hurdle this by bringing a couple of clips with you on the flight, and clipping that curtain together. Chances are, you worked very hard to afford that vacation and you should be able to sleep in if you want!

Bring a Scarf

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Okay so this tip seems a bit redundant, but it’s not just a scarf you should bring. It’s actually a Pareo which is a huge version of a scarf that has some good uses other than keeping your neck warm. You can use it as an extra blanket on the flight or as a picnic blanket if you’re on the go!

Keep an Eye on the Sheets

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When picking a hotel, make sure to always read the bad reviews. Some may be fake so don’t be quick to judge just by the star ratings. Really read them when you check. A common lousy hotel review is dirty sheets or sheets that have stains on them. When you get to your room, take the time to examine your sheets, and see that they are clean and not itchy either!

One Piece

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For women, a good thing to pack is a black one-piece swimsuit. The reason for the piece and the color is it’s something to be able to wear throughout the day and be able to go for a swim whenever the chance comes up.

Bring a Flat Iron

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Having ironed shirts can mean the difference between closing a deal or not during important business meetings. And if you have multiple meetings lined up and don’t want to have to schlep tons of ironed shirts with you on the flight, then you can bring a flat iron with you and use it to iron and re-use clothing.

Exercise

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Experts say it’s essential to get in a day of exercise the day before and after a flight. The reason for this is because exercise releases endorphins in the body. Endorphins are a natural boost of energy that is much stronger than any coffee or energy drink you will buy and help keep you calm and happy during your vacation.

The Back vs. the Front

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If you’re like me, then you come on the flight really hungry and get excited to see what surprise you’ll get in the in-flight meal. If you’re even more like me, you will want to use the flight attendants throughout their flight and get the most bang for your buck. That’s why sitting in the middle of the plane is good because it’s a balance of getting your food early and being close to the flight crew to get more drinks and food. The crew usually starts their meal service from the first row of the plane and works their way back, so if you’re too far back, you may not have choices of what to eat.

Be a Lefty

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The majority of people may be right-handed and that comes with the natural instinct of buying a ticket on the right side of the plane. But if you don’t like the long wait getting off the plane, then you should get a seat on the left side of the plane, airline doors always open on the left, and the people on the left side tend to move off the plane a bit faster.

BYOM (“Bring Your Own Meal”)

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Airline food is gross sometimes and depending on the airline you take, it may be virtually inedible. It’s fun and exciting to bring your own meal and take it out instead of sitting idly hungry waiting for the staff to bring you food. I like to buy a tray of sushi in the terminal and munch away the second the plane has taken off! Maybe you’ll get some dirty looks but they’re just jealous they didn’t think of it too!

Leave Shoes in Your Bag

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Many people who have only flown a few times in their life tend to repeat the mistake of wearing shoes during check-in. It’s better to bring a pair of sandals, or flats that are easier to take off during the security clearance. If you are worried about your feet getting cold, or the long walk in the terminal, then pack shoes in your bag, and you’ll always have them on hand.

More About Seat Choice

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Let’s talk now about what seat is the most preferred. Aisle seats are great fun because you never have to make anyone get up so you can go to the bathroom, but if you fall asleep with your foot out, you may get run over or stepped on. The middle seat is just as terrible, and the window seat is fun for looking out into the sky, but watch out! Recent studies show that people who are seated at the window get exposed to radiation from the sun. So, bring sunscreen!

Airport Layout

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When going on websites that offer cheap tickets on connection flights, make sure to pay attention to the time between the first and second flight, and cross-reference that time with the airport layout.  There are many instances of people not knowing how long it would take to make it through the airport to their second flight, and end up not making it. You’re also not guaranteed on getting another flight that day.

Seat Pocket Tips

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Seat pockets can be your best friend on a flight or your worst enemy! You can put an empty bag inside and store trash in it so you can put your tray up after a meal. Or you may leave something important inside and forget it. In many flights, people often leave phones, passports, and even wallets in their seat pocket.

What to Keep Safe

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There are many items considered to be must-have items that you should keep safe throughout your flight. Make sure to bring a pouch with you on the plane that is easy to store in your personal handbag. Put cash in an envelope and put that in the pouch along with your passport and credit cards. Once you reach the hotel, you can reorganize your belongings more comfortably.

Airline Apps

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Nowadays, each Airline company has its own online apps you can use, and they are accommodating! Some airlines have their inflight entertainment on their app as well, so if you get stuck on a flight without a screen, don’t worry! Just watch the movies on your phone or tablet!

Layer Up

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The summer may be hot, but Airlines tend to turn that air conditioning on high once you’re high up in the sky, even though it’s a sunny day on the ground. The cabin temp gets very chilly, and you’ll want to have a sweatshirt to wear. The reason airlines actually keep the plane so cold is to prevent patrons from being too needy and tire them down like lobsters in ice.

What to Say to the TSA?

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In many international flights, you may have to go through two or even three different security screenings before you make it to the plane, and another screening when you get off too. Make sure to keep in mind that airport security does not like it when you have items that were gifted to you by anyone, so make sure to tell them that nothing was a gift, and you packed everything yourself!

Pamper Up

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Flights can be long and boring, so bring some pampering products to bide the time and use the time off to your advantage. Maybe bring a face mask to put on the flight to flush out pores and a good magazine. Make it fun, make it for you, and enjoy the fact that for the next few hours, all you have to do is sit!

Conclusion

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Flying may not be so comfortable, and security may be annoying, but everyone is doing their best to keep the atmosphere as pleasant as humanly possible. If you follow these tips, you can go the extra mile, and enjoy the whole ordeal much more, and maybe even miss it when it’s over. I’ll repeat this again as it is my personal mantra, and it always works when I get stressed. Once I’m on the plane, nothing is expected from me but sitting down and relaxing. To me, that is a privilege that not everyone can afford.

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