Let's face it: Flying can be a hassle, not to mention uncomfortable. The good news? There are ways to make your flight a little more enjoyable. Here are a few insider tips from seasoned flight attendants.
Trust in Them
Flight attendants don't just have your salty snacks; they also have your back. Each gets extensive training in emergency response. Before takeoff, Virgin Atlantic quizzes the cabin crew on safety. "If anyone fails to answer correctly, they can be off-loaded and sent home," says Jo Darwel-Taylor, a flight service manager. Most airlines require attendants to be able to push 250 pounds (the weight of a loaded bar cart).
Bag Jet Lag
Just like you, flight attendants are vulnerable to jet lag. Some pro tips to help you cope: When flying east, adjust your internal clock by wearing sunglasses or an eye mask to block daylight until about 10 a.m. on the morning you arrive. Get on your destination's local time ASAP — or even before you leave home, if possible. And if you absolutely must nap, sleep no more than three hours.
Keep Yourself Comfy
1. If you chill easily, remember that window seats are colder than those on the aisle. Wherever you sit, though, you should bring a sweater onboard. And never, ever walk around an airplane in your bare feet. Eew! No one is mopping the lavatory floors mid-flight.
2. Speaking of feet, attendants prize forgiving footwear. Like nurses, many favor the "cloggy but comfortable" Dansko brand, as one attendant told us. There's also a European maker called Skypro that makes shoes specifically for flight crews. And sturdy Clarks are another favorite among attendants.
3. Because dry air and high cabin pressure can dull passengers' sense of taste, airline food is often loaded with sodium. For healthy treats on short flights, pack your own veggies, nuts and fruit. With long flights, consider preordering a special meal such as low-sodium, kosher or vegetarian.