This section will provide you with my list of essentials and must-carry items for every trip as well as some of the most important guidelines while being up in the air…
Rule No. 1: ALWAYS HYDRATE!
I cannot stress this point enough, as it is really important to understand that your body will need lots of extra fluids due to the extremely high risk of dehydration. Therefor, always carry your own big bottles of water and ask the flight attendants for a refill whenever necessary- they will be more than happy to do so! The same also applies to your skin, as the airplane environment can really dry you out easily. Also, try and avoid make up and use a hydrating face cream or mask instead. Your skin will thank you later!
Rule No. 2: AVOID ALCOHOL!
As tempting and comforting as it might sound, especially on those long-haul flights, staying hydrated does not include any form of alcoholic beverages. Drinking alcohol inflight can actually lead to severe dehydration and make you feel much more intoxicated due to the pressurized environment. Even little amounts might have an intense effect on your body and with motion sickness being increased, you’re much better off by staying away from the booze!
Rule No. 3: EAT HEALTHY!
I know it’s hard to avoid snacking while watching your favorite movies or indulging on free meals onboard, but you gotta know one thing: Flight attendants usually gain weight during their first few months of flying as a result of unhealthy food at irregular timings combined with an increased lack of sleep and work-outs. Especially if you are a frequent traveller try and bring your own pre-packed food options including light snacks and fruits. Some of the items I carry with me for example include the following:
- Unsalted nuts (less sodium and also less addictive)
- Fruits 🍎🍌🍇 (apples, bananas or berries)
- Porridge (easy to make and you can ask for hot water to prepare)
- Veggie wraps or Salads
- Carrots and Hummus
- Popcorn (much better than Potatoe Chips)
- Granola Bars
Avoid any kind of sugary or fizzy drinks and carbohydrates, as they will only leave you feeling bloated and please try and stay away from smelly food items such as eggs, meats, cheese or airport fast food (you will be surprised how many people board the plane with their McDonalds meals or take away pizza) as a courtesy to your fellow travelers!
Rule No. 4: STAY ACTIVE!
Knowing that there is only limited space and resources available onboard, it is essential to schedule work-outs before and after your trips, as it will leave you feeling much better and also helps with the jet lag. Inflight, you can do little in-seat-exercises like seated press-ups or other small movements to keep the blood flowing. Once the seat belt signs are off, feel free to get up for a little stretch. It is very important to avoid sitting down for an extended period of time without moving, as this may increase the risk of blood clots.
Rule No. 5: PACK LIGHTLY!
This rule applies mainly for your carry-on bag as there is only limited amount of space in the cabin. Also keep in mind that you are the one who has to carry all your stuff through busy airports halls, security screening as well as to lift up the bag into the overhead compartments onboard (No, it is not the Flight Attendants job!). Keeping your things organized and to a minimum will make your journey a lot easier and comfortable. Here are some of my personal must-carry items for every trip:
- Neck pillow (for better sleep and to avoid a stiff neck post flight/nap
- Headphones (on most low-cost airlines you will actually have to pay for headphones!
- Handsanitizer/Facemask (you have no idea how many germs there are on an airplane; short turn around timings with minimum time for cleaning and many people carrying all kinds of diseases from all around the world sharing a confined space- I highly recommend to wipe down your seat controls and try to stay away from the tray tables as much as possible)
- Book or Kindle (not all airlines offer inflight entertainment)
- Comfy socks (the onboard temperature is regulated and for hygienic and medical reasons usually kept at around 21degrees Celsius, also please don’t walk around barefoot)
- Ginger Chews and/or Chewing Gum (to avoid ear pain or motion sickness)
- Lip Balm and Hand Cream (to hydrate dry skin)
Rule No. 6: DRESSCODE!
Yes, there is actually something called a dress code aka flying etiquette. Being barefoot on an airplane for example is simply unacceptable and also very unhygienic. As a matter of respect to your fellow travelers, you should also apply the fundamental concept of body hygiene, which should not require any further explanation. Also remember, that despite the fact that you might embark the airplane from a tropical destination, where flip flops and shorts are acceptable, your island vibes will fade once you are stuck in a pressurized tube at 40,000 ft above the ground. So be sure to carry warm clothing and consider something comfy that you can change into. Some airlines actually have an official dress code for certain cabins, I advice you to familiarize yourself with those guidelines ahead of time. Always remember: You can never be overdressed, just underdressed.
Rule No. 7: BE NICE!
It sounds like a very simple rule everyone should always follow in general, but believe me for some people this concept does not seem to apply at altitude (altitude –> attitude!?). First of all, please understand that Flight Attendants are there mainly for your safety inflight. Part of our job is to ensure your compliance with the rules. Being rude or yelling won’t get you anywhere, especially not upgraded. Flying etiquette includes being polite, as we all share a confined space over an extended period of time with the same goal: to safely get from Point A to Point B. Always remember to treat others the way you want to be treated yourself…oh and it never hurts to bring some chocolates or other gifts for your flight attendants – I am sure they will appreciate it and treat you extra nicely 😉