Top 6 Secrets of a Former Flight Attendant

Shannon Kontalonis

I’m an events manager at WorldStrides, but before I joined the team, I was a flight attendant (and a kindergarten teacher before that!). My experience in the sky means I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve for when it comes to having a smooth flight. Here are six tips from a former flight attendant for your next adventure.

Mind your Ps and Qs

Treating all airport staff and airline crew members with respect will get you far! Crew members are only paid when the plane doors are closed (they hate delays, too), so it can take them two weeks to reach forty hours. Use good manners and kind words with airline employees and it could pay off in your favor – being nice might even get you free treats or upgrades!

Look To Your Flight Attendant During Turbulence

It is completely normal to have butterflies… or even bats… in your stomach during takeoff, turbulence, and landing. If you need some reassurance when you feel the plane jolt or you hear a funny noise, just peak in the aisle and find your friendly flight attendant. They will be calm, cool, and collected, because most likely, it is a normal moment of flight for them. I compare it to house noises, because we all know the usual creaks and groans of our own homes, so your flight crew is quite comfortable with them.

Wear layers – But Be TSA-Ready

Wearing layers for a flight is always advised as plane and airport temperatures can fluctuate. To ensure a smooth passage through security, wear layers – and shoes! – that can be easily removed and put back on. Consider putting layers like cardigans and scarfs in your bag until you pass through security and know that the TSA may pull you aside for additional screening if you wear something like a maxi dress or baggy pants, as banned items can easily be hid in them. Remember, too, to have documents such as your boarding pass, passport, and identification readily accessible. The TSA line can be busy – this helps everyone get through more efficiently.

Take Bottled Water

If you are going to consume water on a plane, make sure it comes from a bottle. That means coffee and tea are also out! An EPA study found that 1 in every 8 planes fails their standards for water safety. Pick up a bottle of water at the gate, or bring an empty water bottle with you, and fill it up once you pass through security.

Wipe down Your Tray Table

Honestly, the plane bathroom is likely cleaner than your tray table. Either bring along wipes to clean your tray, or ensure that nothing touches the surface. While you’re at it, wipe down those arm rests, too. Clorox wipes can usually be found in the travel section of any grocery store or retail store like Target or Walmart.

Reduce The Odds of Lost Luggage

Packing cubes are fabric containers that help sort and compact your travel items; What’s so great about these little squares? They help you pack MORE in LESS space! But that isn’t the best thing about them. By having all of your items neatly organized, you decrease your chances of additional TSA screenings. Travelers who take a carry on, this means you’ll spend less time in security. For those who check their bags, TSA might pull your suitcase from the pile to be scanned. Sometimes, if TSA has to scan a very full suitcase, it doesn’t make it to the plane in time, resulting in a lost piece of luggage. With packing cubes to keep everything organized, you reduce your chances of lost luggage.

In addition to my flight attendant secrets, WorldStrides makes packing easy with our packing lists! Find the packing list for your destination here.