On a recent flight, I sat next to an off-duty flight attendant. Her professionalism, comfort in her surroundings, and larger-than-life personality intrigued me. After hearing some of her travel stories, I couldn’t resist asking her for her air travel tips. Here’s what she shared:

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Pay attention to who and what is around you.

Even though she wasn’t working during the flight, she was paying attention – not only to who she could rely on in an emergency, but who she could help make more comfortable.

Make Yourself Comfortable

Take every opportunity you can to be comfortable and relaxed.

She took off her jacket, stowed her bag under the seat, and kicked off her heels as soon as she sat down.  

Travel with the Right Bag

Having the right equipment makes everything easier.

She carried a structured, zippered bag on board that fit easily under the seat and didn’t fall over or spill out contents. She quickly and easily found everything she was looking for during the flight, when most people were digging around in their bags for what they were looking for.


Bring your own food.

Airplane food doesn’t always come as early as we want, and it isn’t always what we want. She travels with her own high-protein and low-calorie snacks.

Use Your Expertise to Help

Share your unique wisdom to help put others at ease. 

“Clouds make descending fun,” she said with a warm smile, to a young boy who was frightened by turbulence.  

Her In-the-Moment Tip: Don’t Bring Fish on Board

Be thoughtful of the people near you.

A man sitting near us brought a shrimp salad on the flight. Shrimp is high-protein but it’s also quite malodourous in a confined space with recycled air. He woke people from their naps, made babies cry, and had a few people (including the flight attendant next to me) complaining.

We all want a great pilot to get us to our destination safely, but like nurses, flight attendants do a lot of the heavy lifting to make us comfortable and keep us safe.