9 Tips That Will Perfect Your Flying Experience, According to Flight Attendants
There are many factors to take into account when you fly — from how to get some sleep to how to pack and even how to keep yourself entertained for hours — and luckily, there are countless products and hacks to help you.
But to determine the absolute best things you can do before and during a flight, Travel + Leisure turned to the experts: the flight attendants who spend their careers in the skies.
We reached out to flight attendants from all over the world and without fail their No. 1 tip was to stay hydrated. Several hours in an airplane can leave you extremely dehydrated, so counteracting that effect is paramount — whether by drinking plenty of water or paying extra attention to your skin.
While hydration may be the ultimate key to flying comfortably, the flight attendants we spoke to also understood that comfort was key. From making sure you have the proper headphones to keeping yourself up to date on the latest movies to bringing a hot water bottle to help you relax, these cabin crew members know how to make your flying experience the best it can be.
These tips come from flight attendants who jet set across the world every day, and to keep it simple, we’ve edited them for clarity.
Treat yourself while you’re on board
Alison Chandler, a British Airways Cabin Crew member for 31 years
“Some of my favorite tips are about how to look and feel fresh and healthy while flying. For instance, if you plan to nap, take advantage of being off your feet for a while and treat yourself to a mini-pedicure. Slather your feet in a high-quality moisturizer, put on a thick pair of socks (the pair from our amenity kits are perfect!), and you’ll wake up to wonderfully soft and smooth feet!
Also, do drink plenty of water. Hot drinks such as tea and coffee, and alcoholic drinks can be quite dehydrating. And along with the dry cabin atmosphere, they can have a pronounced effect on your comfort level. Two glasses an hour is recommended.”
To buy: GEHWOL® Foot Care Cream; nordstrom.com, $34
Use these products to stay hydrated
Jason Firth, a Qantas Customer Service Manager, (or lead flight attendant)
“On a long-haul flight like the ones Qantas operates between the U.S. and Australia, the most important thing is to keep hydrated — inside and out. My advice is to drink water constantly throughout the flight. I also recommend Bio Oil to keep skin repaired and hydrated, as well as lip balm and [moisturizer]. I’d also tell our customers to make sure they’re wearing something comfortable.”
To buy: Bio Oil; amazon.com, $9
Drink more water than you think you need
Kristen Jefferis, a United Airlines flight attendant for three years
“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! It’s important to drink more water than we normally would when we fly because the air is drier on a plane. If you compound that with the energy we have expended walking through the airport just to get to the aircraft, we could become dehydrated by the time we’ve landed at the destination, so it’s important to remain hydrated when you fly. It also helps to reduce the [effects] of jet lag.”
Bring your own water bottle on board
Carly J Navin, a Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew member for 12 years
“Bring on board your own empty bottle or container and we will happily keep you hydrated by topping up the bottle with water throughout the flight. Also, it’s important to remember that alcohol can be really dehydrating, so have a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage you have!
Regardless of if I’m [traveling as] a passenger or working as crew, I always carry a hot water bottle without fail! It can get cold sitting still in your seat not moving or ... in the middle of the night when you’re tired and it’s quiet, so my hot water bottle really comes in handy! You’ll be surprised how comforting it can be when you’re a passenger curled up in your seat watching a movie with your hot water bottle, and as crew we will happily fill it up for you.”
To buy: Hydroflask; amazon.com, $45
Invest in hydrating products for your skin
Shannon Dewitt, Spirit Airlines flight attendant for 13 years
“Always drink 8 fluid ounces of water per flight hour and use the best skin care products. The skincare brand I prefer for hydration protection for my face is Kiehl’s. It does not leak under pressure and has the perfect travel size!”
To buy: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream; nordstrom.com, from $18
Be nice and don’t stress
Mandi Fleishman, American Airlines flight attendant for seven years
“The No. 1 inflight travel tip is to be nice to your crew and fellow passengers because you don’t know [the] reason they are traveling or what they have going on in their lives. Secondly, always give yourself extra time to get to the airport! You don’t want to be stressed and frazzled before your trip even begins.”
Don’t neglect your skin in the air
George Carrasquillo, JetBlue inflight crewmember for two years
“Hydration is essential in the air! I don’t leave on a trip without my hydrating spa mist with sparkling mineral water by Innisfree for my face and Ultra Repair Cream by First Aid Beauty for my hands and face. They’re both TSA compliant and fit perfectly in any bag!”
To buy: Innisfree Hydrating Mist; amazon.com, $9
Be smart about what you put in your carry-on
Monyetta Nation, Norwegian Air flight attendant for two years
“Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on bag in case of an inflight accident. Pack a scarf––no matter what time of the year, it always comes in handy. Wet wipes are your friend! Wipe face, hands, and whatever else that needs refreshing. Always wear shoes in the lavatory, the water on the floor may not only be water.
To buy: White + Warren Travel Wrap; shopbop.com, $315
Keep your valuables close at hand
Michelle Simon, American Airlines flight attendant for 36 years
“I carry a wallet in my flight bag designated only for air travel with my ID, passport, and two credit cards. My ID and passport never leave this wallet, and the wallet never leaves my flight bag when I’m at home. When I get to my room, in whatever country I’m in, I put the wallet in the safe and carry one credit card with me at all times with a very small amount of cash in a purse that I keep close to me at all times. This way, if something happens (which unfortunately can when you travel), I only lose a minimal amount of time, cash, and pride.”
To buy: Cuyana Small Leather Zip-around Wallet; cuyana.com, $115