Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Faking it like a Flight Attendant

Traveling can be a pain, especially during the holiday season. I should know, I'm a flight attendant and for the past five years it's been part of my job to spend time in airports and up in the sky. While I can't do anything about that dreaded back row seat by the bathroom that won't recline or the guy taking up your armrest, I can offer some advice on how flight attendants navigate the world of airline travel. Follow these tips and you'll have us guessing which airline do YOU work for?

1. Pack like the pros - Everything I need for four days must fit in one suitcase which requires me to pack small and light. I've learned through my job it's OK to wear an outfit more than once (no one cares trust me) and you really only need one or two pairs of shoes. A good rule of thumb is if you can't lift your bag up and put it on top of your fridge, there's no way you will be able to put it in the overhead bin.

2. Take it all off - There's a reason flight attendants get to cut ahead in the security line - it's because we are faster than you. We know to leave our jewelry, cell phones, coats, belts, loose change and anything else in our bags until we are past security. Notice how we all wear slip on shoes as well.

3. Pack your lunch - Peanut butter sandwiches, cut up fruit, vegetables, candy bars, you name it we bring it and it saves us money and time. Contrary to popular belief you DON'T have to eat at the airport unless you like spending $10 on a turkey sandwich.

4. Bring an empty water bottle with you - Yes you can bring empty water containers through security, and guess what you can fill them up at the various water fountains around the airport. On the plane we aren't allowed to give away big bottles of water (0r even take them for ourselves!) but we can fill up your bottle (and ours) and we will happily do it for you. Ditto goes for coffee.

5. A little bribery never hurt anyone - When we fly it's on a space available basis so we know sometimes a little extra kindness is required. A bag of chocolates for the gate agent or a variety of tabloid magazines for flight attendants can ensure you'll be treated like royalty. It's a small way to say thank you for those working so hard to get you on your way as safely as possible. Trust me, it's hard to say no to the passenger who wants to change seats when we know that person just gave us a handful of treats!

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