flight attendant packing tips


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It’s a journey state of affairs we’re all accustomed to: You make it via the airport, board your airplane, settle into your seat, and…out of the blue notice you left one thing at dwelling. It might one thing replaceable like a cellphone charger or toothbrush, however it’s nonetheless extremely annoying to be caught within the air with out these necessities.

Whilst you can simply make a packing checklist (and examine it twice), there are nonetheless some fundamental objects that vacationers normally neglect to throw of their carry-on bags. However what are the issues individuals nearly at all times neglect to pack? To get some solutions, we reached out to some flight attendants with 26 years of mixed expertise. After a lot time within the sky, they’ve heard each grievance and handled each request, they usually had been gracious sufficient to share their information with us.

Learn on for his or her carry-on packing ideas, and remember to revisit this checklist earlier than your subsequent flight.

Water bottles

“Water bottles are probably the most helpful merchandise that passengers neglect or don’t suppose to carry,” says Sarah McWilliams-Guerra, who was a Delta Air Traces flight attendant for seven years earlier than launching her personal journey web site, Airplane Mode. “By bringing an empty water bottle via safety, passengers can replenish their bottle within the airport and never depend on anybody else in the event that they’re thirsty or want water.”

McWilliams-Guerra says that whereas flight attendants can normally accommodate requests for water, many price range airways don’t embody free drinks. To keep away from paying a hefty charge or having to attend to quench your thirst, carry your personal travel-friendly water bottle—you may even discover collapsible bottles that hardly take up any area in your bag.

Blankets & pillows

Ask any flight attendant they usually’ll let you know: It’s unimaginable to please everybody on the airplane. “One passenger might be sizzling and the opposite chilly,” says Steven Daniel, who has labored on SkyWest Airways for the previous two years. “It’s vital to carry your personal blankets and pillows to your consolation.”

You clearly don’t wish to replenish your carry-on with cumbersome bedding, so be sure to search for compact, travel-sized blankets and pillows. Many common journey blankets fold right down to a fraction of their full dimension, whereas the best pillows are light-weight whereas nonetheless offering ample neck assist.

Disinfecting wipes

If the previous few years have taught us something, it’s which you could by no means be too cautious with regards to germs—particularly on airplane armrests and tray tables. “Resulting from COVID, many passengers come on the airplane asking for Clorox wipes,” says Emily Kuhn, a Southwest Airways flight attendant with greater than eight years of expertise. “Most airways present small hand wipes, however by no means sufficient for a whole flight.”

She suggests packing a small quantity of disinfecting wipes in a Ziplock bag or shopping for a couple of individually wrapped wipes to your flight. Simply remember to use merchandise with at the very least 70% alcohol to actually eliminate germs, per the CDC’s advice.


“As a flight attendant, I by no means know what metropolis/state I could go to the subsequent day as my schedule is fast to vary,” says Daniel. “I at all times attempt to put together by bringing objects for every type of climate.” He typically hears passengers complain that they forgot their umbrellas or rain jackets after they land in a wet location—it’s finest to search for your vacation spot’s climate forecast earlier than your flight and pack accordingly.

A travel-sized umbrella doesn’t take up a lot area in your baggage, and also you’ll be glad you introduced one when you need to look ahead to a taxi within the rain. Certain, you should purchase an umbrella on the airport, however you higher consider these costs are going to be tremendous jacked up.

carry-on essentials heaphones
Shanti Hesse/Shutterstock

Wired headphones

“Passengers additionally don’t suppose to carry headphones with a plug,” says McWilliams-Guerra. “With the rise of wi-fi headphones and Air Pods, passengers don’t have headphones that plug into the [screen] when there’s leisure on board.” Word that this additionally applies to wired headphones that don’t have 3.5 mm audio plugs, like Apple gadgets with Lightning connectors—even these will want a Lightning to headphone jack adapter to work with airline screens, which is yet another tiny gadget to pack.

Whereas many airways promote headphones for a small charge or let passengers stream motion pictures from an app on their cellphone (that means you should utilize your traditional headphones), it’s finest to play it secure and produce your personal pair. You may spend money on a dependable model like Bose or Apple, however truthfully, a fundamental, cheap set of wired headphones will serve you simply nice on a flight.

Bluetooth adapters

After all, you might be a staunch wi-fi headphones loyalist—and that’s nice! Should you don’t wish to half together with your Bluetooth headphones for even a couple of hours, you should purchase an adapter to pair your headphones with the in-flight leisure system. Madison Vogelsang has been a flight attendant for Planet 9 for 9 years, and she or he personally recommends the 1Mii Bluetooth 5.2 Transmitter Receiver. “It’s my favourite and is appropriate with numerous gadgets comparable to Bose and Apple,” she says.

You merely plug the adapter into your seat’s aux jack (the place wired headphones would usually plug in), sync your system, and watch motion pictures to your coronary heart’s content material.

Transportable chargers

Whereas we’re on the subject of electronics, be sure you don’t get caught 35,000 ft within the air with a bunch of gadgets and no solution to cost them. Flight attendants checklist cellphone chargers as probably the most continuously forgotten objects amongst passengers, however you actually ought to be sure all of your devices are lined.

“I like to recommend packing at the very least one charger per every system you carry onboard,” says Vogelsang, “together with a transportable charger in case the USB slot at your seat is broken.” Many transportable energy banks can recharge your system three or 4 instances and are not any greater than a median smartphone—so there’s actually no excuse to not carry one alongside.

Passport & IDs

Whereas packing your passport and driver’s license could look like a given, Daniel says many passengers typically lose this stuff on the airplane or between connections. To keep away from this journey nightmare, maintain your vital paperwork secure and safe with a journey pockets or passport holder. Most have room for all of your IDs, plus different requirements like money and vaccination playing cards.


Lastly, practically each flight attendant we spoke to mentioned that the merchandise individuals most frequently neglect is…a pen. Yep, that easy. “You not often would add a pen to your packing checklist, however you’ll want one for paperwork for worldwide locations, or simply to do a crossword puzzle in {a magazine},” says Kuhn.

On a private notice, I can vouch that forgetting to pack a pen is a large ache (particularly as a author who loves in-flight crossword puzzles). Whereas I at all times attempt to throw a pair in my carry-on earlier than every journey, I discover it’s a lot better to maintain a little bit zip-up pencil pouch in my baggage with at the very least a couple of writing utensils—whereas I lose pens on a regular basis, I by no means lose the circumstances.

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