As a flight attendant I see people come on the plane and are underprepared for the flight. Picture your plane ride like a TSA approved road trip. I’m going to list everything I think you need to make your life easier at 32,000 feet. I’m going to show you how I fit the below items in a bag small enough bag to fit under your seat!
- Important travel documents & medication. Just in case your bag ever gets checked, make sure all important documents and medication are in your small carry on item, such as copies of all your travel documents, passports (A PEN for customs forms ), boarding passes, etc. There are some really adorable wallets that can hold your passport, your boarding passes, your credit cards, and they have the RIFD technology. What is RIFD you ask? It’s just an extra layer of security, making it more difficult for someone to steal your credit card info.
- A change of clothes. This one becomes more difficult if you have kids or if you are going into a cold destination. But I think it is always a good idea to have in case something happens to your bag, which has been known to happen from time to time.
- An empty water bottle. Yes, I know TSA doesn’t allow full water bottles, but an empty one is totally okay. And I would say a vast majority of airports if not all have a water fountain. Look, I mean this in the most loving way but I get a little annoyed when passengers come on and immediately ask for water. Were you not out in the terminal for goodness knows how long? Do you not see us trying to deal with catering, the pilots going in and out to check on the plane, your luggage, and all while trying to greet y’all with a smile? This is a simple solution to make everybody’s lives easier. On that note…
- Hydrate. More than just water, your skin gets so dry when you are in the air. My fix for this is lotion, facial mists, and chapstick. Facial mists just are a spritz of hydration to your face; I’m using one by Eau Thermale Avène at the moment and I love it. My go to chapsticks are Burt’s Bees, but just be sure to research before you buy to make sure you are getting a quality brand. And you can get all these products in a TSA approved size!
- Warmth. News flash people but it gets cold on planes! So please bring a small blanket, a jacket, or my favorite an oversized shawl. I love the multi-function of a shawl! Yes, I know, Im sorry we do not have blankets for your hour and half flight!
- Earphones. Even if there is no entertainment system on your flight, earphones are a good idea. They help block noises, such as a baby crying, or the two moms on their first girl trip since the kids who won’t stop talking, or maybe my lovely important announcements. Every plane is different, so please don’t assume your flight attendant has earphones for you. And that brings me to…
- Entertainment. Look we are flying at 32,000 feet, sometimes the wifi and entertainment system goes down, and no your flight attendant is not a technician and cannot magically fix it. All we can do typically is press reset and that is about all we can do. Especially if you have kids please bring their favorite small toy, or a coloring book, or cards. Some entertainment suggestions are downloading a movie or shows onto your iPad, a great book (I will be writing an article about my favorite travel books later), and a portable charger.
- Snacks. I’ll be the first to admit that I divulge more than I should in airplane food, but the simple fact is, airplane food is not good for you. It tends to be loaded with preservatives and sodium, so just bring some snacks. Some examples of approved food are fruit, a wrapped sandwich, pretzels, granola bars. However, if you are going to an international destination be sure to finish all fresh food before you arrive.
- Misc. Some of my favorite miscellanies items include eye masks, some tea to help calm me and hopefully put me to sleep (my favorite is Yogi’s Bedtime Tea) , and ear plugs. Especially if you are making a long international flight.
- The end stretch. Whether it is a two hour flight or an twenty hour flight by the end you will need to freshen up a little. I recommend some mints or the disposable toothbrushes (such as the Colgate Wisps), a hairbrush, deodorant, a touch up on your makeup, and depending on where you are flying into a change of clothes. I love how much lipstick can make you look put together, when really you’re actually being a walking zombie.
Respect & Manners. Ladies and Gentlemen you are flying at 32,000 ft in a metal tube, this is not your home, and yes its going to be a little cramped. So please be courteous not only to your fellow passengers but also your flight attendants. There is a good chance someone around you is fighting a battle you can’t see, so just always be kind and patient. Some people walk onto the airplane and it is as if no one ever taught them any manners. There are a couple of routes that are worse than others. But to tell you a secret I just smile and say Bless Their Heart. And on a final note please don’t take your frustrations on delays and mechanicals out on a flight attendant, trust me when we say we don’t want any of you to miss your connection or event, but we can’t control delays or mechanical any more than you can control the weather. Just remember kindness and respect. Okay now you are ready for your flight!
**Every airline is slightly different, so although I tried to make it a neutral article, some airlines might have different resources and policies than those that I listed. Happy flying!