Flight attendants share their best travel hacks

Travelling can be fraught with stress and upheaval.

There’s the early starts, the worries about missing connections, fears over delays and uncomfortable seating arrangements, and of course the packing.

But travelling is still part of your trip, and therefore we should try to make it feel as calm, relaxing and fun as possible.

If you do it right – getting from A to B doesn’t have to be a drama or a slog. People who do it all the time know exactly how to make the best of their time in transit – so we thought we would ask them.

Former flight attendants and cabin crew have kindly shared their most useful travel hacks to help you have the best possible journey – and you might even unlock some secret perks along the way.

How to get upgraded on a flight

‘As far as travel tips are concerned, my number one tip for those looking to get upgraded (and treated like royalty) on a flight is to be lovely to the cabin crew,’ says Hannah Murphey, former flight attendant and director of Globe Fit Ltd.

‘A smile and eye contact upon boarding goes a long way. Chat to the crew and ask them about their job. I used to love it when passengers showed an interest in me and were kind opposed to demanding. I wanted to then go out of my way to ensure that they have the very best flight, so I would move their seats if there was a better one available – and I would give them extra drinks etc. purely because they had showed me kindness.

‘When passengers are rude and expectant it has the opposite effect.’ 

So, a little kindness really does go a long way.

Daisy White, another former flight attendant – now a crime fiction writer – agrees.

‘If you are super nice to the cabin crew most airlines do overbook, so you may get shunted into an upper class cabin,’ Daisy tells Metro.co.uk.

‘It’s less likely to happen if you are travelling with kids unfortunately.’

Book the best tickets

When booking flights, you want to make sure you get the best price, the best flying experience, and the most direct option possible – but ticking all those boxes can be tough.

Daisy says you need to be a bit savvy about where you’re making your bookings – and when.

‘I always book tickets at the last moment,’ she says. ‘And I use the last-minute websites or travel councilors to get better deals and upgrades.

‘So many professionals are doing private travel deals now, as long as it is someone you trust, or with a group like TC, you can get epic deals – even on family trips with the kids.’

Choose the best seats

If you’re in a position to choose where you’re sitting on the plane – make sure you think about that decision.

‘Go for a seat just forward of the wing for a comfier flight and don’t sit near the toilets or galleys – because it can be smelly and noisy,’ suggests Daisy.

Think about the needs of your specific trip. Are you flying with kids who might need to go to the toilet a lot? Is it a shorter flight, where you would appreciate the peace of a window seat? Each time you fly you might have slightly different requirements.

But in terms of getting a better meal in economy, Daisy says it doesn’t happen often.

‘It is rare the aircraft is over-catered in an upper class cabin, (and if it is the crew will make sure nothing is wasted),’ she explains.

‘So, if you are travelling economy, you will need to make do with what’s on offer. I personally would preorder a veggie meal, as often these can be more appealing than a standard meal, or take your own picnic.

‘You can fill up water bottles airside before you board, and I always take some healthy picnic food, including protein bars and raw veg sticks.’

What to bring in your hand-luggage

Once you’ve nailed your hold packing, you need to make sure you have everything you need with you in the cabin to make your flight as comfortable as possible.

‘Layer clothing for travel,’ suggests Daisy.

‘I take a thin pair of cotton socks, plus a cashmere pair to put over the top for night flights. A big soft wrap makes a great blanket, and I take a blow-up neck pillow for every family member.

‘As a writer, I will often work on a long flight if I don’t have my family with me, so I make sure I take a bag big enough to contain my in-flight essentials, plus my MacBook and Kindle.

‘Lip balm and hand cream are my top two inflight beauty products.’

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