9 Simple Ways to Make Your Flying Experience Smoother, According to Flight Attendants

The pros say these simple things will make flying a breeze.

Hopping on an airplane should always be a happy occasion. After all, it likely means you’re heading somewhere new. However, there are a few stressors that can put a damper on all that joy: Did you pack the right things? Is your carry-on overweight? Will you arrive at the airport on time? But don't fret — there some ways to make your flying experience a bit smoother.

To help you make the most of every journey, we turned to the people who know best — flight attendants who work on some of the world’s best airlines. Here are nine essential tips that cabin crew members say will make your flying experience all the better. 

Flight attendant pushing service cart and serve to customer on the airplane during flight

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Do your homework on the aircraft before boarding.

Duygu Eren Tosya, cabin chief for Turkish Airlines, thinks every traveler should do a little research on their plane before takeoff. This, Eren Tosya said, will help them set expectations.  

“When traveling by air, take a look at the type of aircraft you’re expected to fly with, as it can make a difference in terms of overall flight experience,” Eren Tosya shared, adding that it can also help you get to know the different cabin classes so you can make the right seat selection for you and your wallet. “Flying business class on Turkish Airlines’ brand-new 787-9 Dreamliner wide-body aircraft will make it an unforgettable journey on long-haul routes.” 

Research luggage requirements.

When looking up those airplane specs, Eren Tosya added, take a peek at the plane’s checked and carry-on luggage rules so you don’t accidentally overpack and end up overspending at the airport. 

“We recommend double checking the airline’s baggage policies every time you fly to make sure you pack accordingly and don’t exceed the size and weight of checked and carry-on bags,” Eren Tosya said. 

Pack with purpose, especially with a carry-on.

Speaking of packing tips, Salt Lake City-based Delta Air Lines flight attendant Tifsit Teferra had some wise words to share about packing bulkier items in a carry-on bag. 

“If you want to carry on your luggage, but are packing clothes that are bulky, like jackets, try laying them flat right on top of each other at the very bottom of your suitcase. For lighter items like tees, try rolling them,” Teferra said. “Packing cubes are an easy way to help you organize your clothes by function and item, and you can use the same [ones] to separate your dirty clothes.” 

As for those pesky charging cables, Teferra had one more tip: “A small toiletry bag does the trick — just fold cords and then use Velcro tape to secure them.” 

Invest in the right luggage.

Sure, you may know how to pack, but as Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines flight attendant Katie Trebendis shared, you should also ensure you’re investing in the right luggage that comes with every bell and whistle you may need. 

“While style is important, travelers should look for durable luggage that makes the travel experience easier. Features like weight indicators, spinner wheels, and padded handles can enhance your travel experience and make it more seamless,” Trebendis said. “I always recommend using hard-shell luggage, whether you’re planning to check your bag or carry it on. Hard-shell bags retain their shape and help compress clothes, meaning you can fit more items without worrying about bulging luggage not fitting in the overhead bins. I recommend using hard-shell luggage to protect whatever you’ve packed and to make it easier to clean your bag.”

Trebendis also suggested packing cubes, but takes it a step further with personal items. 

“If you plan to carry on a personal item along with your luggage, I always look for bags with a trolley sleeve to make the walk through the airport easier,” Trebendis said. “Smaller pockets on the outside for things like headphones, charger cables, and books allow those items to be easily accessible when you make it to your seat.”

Stay hydrated throughout your trip.

You’ve booked your tickets, packed the right items, and found the best luggage. Now, Boston-based JetBlue in-flight crew member Jorge Gutierrez added, it’s time to get your body right, too. 

“Knowing that flying at high altitudes can be dehydrating, I always start my day by prepping my body for the flight so that I am not left feeling tired, but reenergized and ready to go once I've arrived at my destination,” Gutierrez said. “Even on my busy travel days, I make sure to start my day with a healthy, antioxidant-rich breakfast and try my best to avoid sugar and salt to combat dehydration. During the flight, it’s important to make sure you drink water on the hour (about 8 oz.) to keep your body hydrated. It might sound like a simple thing, but drinking enough water and preparing your body for high altitudes can help set your entire travel day up for success, making any flight a bit easier on the traveler.”

And hydrate your skin, too.

While drinking enough water will help keep your skin hydrated, Emirates cabin crew member Alexandra Johnson said it’s also key to not forget a few products. 

“Don’t forget the skin. Skin may dry up during long flights due to long periods of high altitude and pressurization,” Johnson said. “ I recommend keeping a travel-sized moisturizer on hand and applying every hour or two.” As a bonus, Johnson added, if you're traveling in business or first class on Emirates, amenity kits come stocked with Bvlgari Le Gemme body lotion and lip balm that will do the trick. 

“Another hack for long-haul skin hydration and something to do before you doze off is apply lotion to your feet and then add a pair of socks on top before going to bed,” Johnson said.

Download the airline’s app. 

Want to breeze through airport security and your flight? Make sure to download the airline’s app, according to Johnson.

For example, the Emirates app is a valuable resource for our customers, enabling them to book and change flights, download a digital boarding pass, preplan meals, book a chauffeur service, and even preselect and plan movies to watch via the Ice in-flight entertainment,” Johnson said. The same is true for many other airlines, and some even include in-flight entertainment options on the app too.  

If you can, drop your bags off the night before. 

Airports are quite busy these days, and the lines at both check-in and security can get long. That’s why Johnson recommends dropping off your luggage the night before you travel to save time. 

“From making sure you have everything with a last-minute hotel sweep to the unexpected traffic on the way to the airport, factoring in the right amount of time needed before takeoff can be chaotic and stressful,” Johnson said. She added, if you’re flying Emirates out of Dubai, you can check in and drop your bags a full 24 hours prior to departure. The service is also available on select EasyJet flights out of London Gatwick and Bristol airports for passengers with early morning flights. Check with your airline to see how early you can drop off your bags before heading to the airport. 

Make your luggage easy to spot. 

Finally, Johnson reminds everyone to not forget the last leg of the journey: baggage pickup. 

“Make your luggage easily Identifiable,” Johnson said. “After a long flight, the last thing you want is to miss your suitcase in baggage claim or...leave with the wrong piece. If you have a common luggage color that’s hard to identify, like black or brown, make it easier on yourself by attaching a distinctive bag tag or knotting a colorful ribbon to the handle before checking it in.” 

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