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HomeWorld NewsHere's what flight attendants need you to find out about flying

Here’s what flight attendants need you to find out about flying

(CNN) — It feels just like the summer season of journey chaos solely simply subsided, however the vacation journey season is now upon us.

Navigating the world of airports and airplanes presently may be nerve-racking, but when anybody’s an knowledgeable in vacation journey, it is flight attendants.

Intrigued to search out out their ideas and methods, CNN Travel spoke to 2 veteran cabin crew, British flight attendant Kris Major and American Allie Malis, to get their takes on a number of the key journey questions.

What’s one of the best time for flying?

Some locations supply a number of flights all through the day, so is it greatest to go early or go away it late?

Malis votes for very first thing within the morning when she’s making private journeys.

“That’s my trick,” she says. “I don’t know if I should actually be telling everyone. Otherwise, they’re going to take all my morning flights.”

Malis’ logic is climate is much less prone to disrupt flying very first thing, even when there have been delays the day earlier than, the system has normally reset in a single day.

When it involves vacation journey, Malis — who can be the federal government affairs consultant on the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, a union representing American Airlines air crew — suggests leaving some buffer time in case you’re in a position to.

For occasion, flying on the day earlier than Christmas Eve, slightly than on the twenty fourth, offers you a little bit of leeway.

What can I do if my flight is delayed?

Travelers at Denver International Airport on November 22, 2022. 4.5 million Americans are set to journey by air over the Thanksgiving vacation.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Delays occur and Malis reminds passengers that flight attendants and passengers are “on the same team.”

Fellow flight attendant, Major, who’s labored lengthy haul and brief haul over his profession, and in addition serves as chair of the European Transport Workers Federation’s Joint Aircrew Committee, representing European flight attendants and pilots, echoes this.

“If we can’t go, we can’t go,” he says. “We will be doing everything we can in our power to go — because it’s in our interest to.”

And opposite to what some passengers may assume, flight attendants do not disguise info from passengers. “There’s no point,” says Major.

So in case you’re sitting on a delayed flight, stressing about missed connections, do not hesitate to ask your flight attendant for all the knowledge you possibly can. Major says he’ll direct passengers to the best desk to rebook a flight, and allow them to know “the questions you need to ask.”

How do you beat jet lag?

If you are crossing time zones, Major is a giant believer in an influence nap upon arrival — with one caveat: maintain it brief, after which keep up till night time falls.

“Don’t just go to sleep and just sleep your way through, because you’re staying on your own time, you’re not helping your own body clock to readjust your circadian rhythm,” he says.

That mentioned, generally flight attendants are solely in a vacation spot for twenty-four hours. If that is the case, Major says they’re going to normally keep of their house time zone. And Malis reckons some vacationers may discover that useful through the vacation season.

“You might only be traveling for a few days, it’s going to be jet lag when you adjust to the new time zone and jet lag when you get back a few days later, so possibly staying on your home timezone might be helpful,” she says.

Malis additionally stresses the significance of “hydration, eating nutritious food, and exercise.” And “staying in sync with your body as best you can.”

“Really the only way I’ve made it this far in my career as a flight attendant, is by prioritizing rest,” she says.

“Being tired can affect everything, the holidays can be stressful, so give yourself the best chance of proper rest to enjoy the holiday season in the most positive and celebratory ways.”

Do you ever improve passengers on board?

It’s the state of affairs most fliers dream of, being shifted out of your crowded financial system seat to one thing extra luxurious.

Malis explains upgrades are presupposed to occur on the bottom, not on board, however there are exceptions, and generally a floor agent will let flight attendants know sure vacationers may be upgraded.

“But there’s a list,” she says. “And there’s a method to the madness, the way that the list is ordered and prioritized.”

Sometimes flight attendants can even transfer passengers in order that households can sit collectively, or to resolve a seat duplicate scenario.

But as soon as the flight is within the air, passengers will solely be moved in distinctive conditions — similar to if one passenger is making one other uncomfortable.

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Can passengers swap seats?

“If a passenger wants to ask another passenger, we can’t stop them,” says Major, who says that in his expertise, vacationers are sometimes joyful to swap to permit mother and father to sit down with youngsters.

Flight attendants assist this type of switching about, however will attempt to not intrude except there are points.

“It’s in our interest to get people together, because you don’t want the grief of people being separated,” he says.

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Malis says she additionally strives to verify mother and father and youngsters are collectively, however suggests these conditions ought to be resolved earlier than boarding if attainable.

“It puts a lot of pressure on us to ask favors of passengers to switch around and it’s a very time-sensitive part of flight when we’re boarding,” she says.

People transferring seats can be controversial in the event that they’re transferring to an space of the airplane the place different passengers have paid extra to sit down there.

“From a practical standpoint, I understand…If you have three people crammed in one seat and an empty row up there, shouldn’t everyone just be able to spread out? What a treat that is when the flight allows you to,” says Malis. “But then also respecting that there’s people who have paid extra to be there and that someone hasn’t and that’s unfair.”

Malis additionally thinks it is a bit ironic that the emergency exit rows are generally marketed as premium seating, with a free drink included.

“People that are asked to be willing and able to assist in the event of an emergency are maybe more likely to have a couple of drinks if they’re sitting there. But that’s how it is, that’s how those seats are marketed,” says Malis. “Thankfully, we don’t have a lot of emergency evacuations.”

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Who has the best to the center armrest?

Major jokingly describes the scramble for the center armrest as a “brutal fight,” however comes down firmly on the place that the particular person within the center ought to take it.

Malis agrees: “It’s not written down anywhere as far as I’m aware, but I think the unspoken courtesy is that the person in the center seat, in the middle seat, gets the armrest.”

Should window blinds be saved closed or open?

Some folks need them up, some folks need them down. Major says window blinds generally is a contentious subject, significantly on long-haul flights, however the reply is commonly fairly clear.

“If it’s a night flight, close them,” says Major. “Just one person opening the blinds, the light comes in and keeps people awake and it can really have an impact on people. You understand it though — people want to have a look down. If you’re flying over the Himalayas, you want to have a look at Mount Everest. Why would you not?”

Blinds additionally have to be open upon arrival on account of security rules, a lot to the annoyance of some sleepy passengers. Major says if vacationers push again, he’ll attempt to clarify that the crew wants to have the ability to see out to regulate to the sunshine in case there are any issues.

“I think I think people deal with an explanation an awful lot better than an order,” he says. “An explanation — it gives some mutual respect.”

How do you deal with being in your ft all day?

Working as a flight attendant involves a lot of walking and standing.

Working as a flight attendant includes a whole lot of strolling and standing.

Matt Hunt/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Working as a flight attendant is a bodily demanding job. Flying lengthy or brief haul, you may be in your ft for hours.

“I’ve got insoles in my shoes,” says Major, including it is tougher for feminine flight attendants, who’re generally anticipated to put on heels.

Those who can will choose the comfiest sensible sneakers attainable, says Major, who says Doc Martens are a well-liked alternative.

Malis says excessive heels, “definitely add another strain to our feet,” however some flight attendants have inflight sneakers they alter into, that are extra comfy.

“It’s definitely a job where you get some good steps in. I think standing is almost just as exhausting as walking though, it can be hard on the lower back,” she says.

What do you do in your downtime on flights?

Ultra long-haul flights embody structured relaxation durations for cabin crew. Flight attendants will retire to a separate space of the airplane throughout this downtime. Facilities differ relying on the airline, route and plane.

“Some have beds, some are just comfortable seats in remote places on the aircraft,” says Major. “What facilities they offer will depend on how much rest you’re supposed to have — and then how much work you can do is based on that.”

Still, it is not at all times simple to sleep on a aircraft — even in case you’re a flight attendant and that you must recharge earlier than getting again to work.

“I know crew that don’t, and they’ll read a book or watch a movie on their iPad or something,” says Major.

Major says flight attendants engaged on low-cost carriers generally have extra downtime on board, as they do not serve a lot in the way in which of food and drinks. Cabin crew may attempt to take advantage of these pauses.

“A lot of people do higher educational courses, they use the downtime in hotels and places like that, and even on the flights, to do the work,” he says.

Malis says she hardly ever has time to herself on her home US flights. If she does, she’ll eat a fast snack to refuel.

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Do flight attendants eat and drink the identical meals as passengers?

Malis and Major say flight attendants are in a position to eat and drink airline culinary choices, however could select not.

“Airplane options aren’t always the foods that are going to keep me the most alert,” says Malis, who says she normally packs mild snacks like hummus, apples and popcorn.

“I drink plenty of airplane coffee I will say, but I usually bring my own — at least have one on my way to work or at the airport that’s a little stronger — and sip on that all morning long.”

Major says he avoids meals that may make him really feel bloated. His foremost focus is ingesting plenty of water on board.

“You’ll always find the crew have got a bottle of water and a hot drink somewhere, they’ll have a tea or coffee.”

Major says some crew can even convey their very own meals on board, typically on account of dietary necessities, however his airline does not permit crew to warmth up meals from house within the inflight ovens.

Malis says her airline does — in concept — permit flight attendants to warmth up meals introduced from house, however you need to convey the best container and ovens may be unpredictable once you’re making an attempt to get the temperature proper.

On vacation flights, Malis says some crew members may get artistic, bringing in meals so as to add to the festive vibe and “to cheer the crew up if they’re missing out on spending the day with their family.”

“There’s some pretty clever little things that flight attendants can do in the galley,” she provides. “But for the most part, there’s not a lot of time to be doing that. Mostly flight attendants are just trying to find any spare moments to grab a bite of food to keep going on some of these marathon days.”

How do you take care of nervous fliers?

Flying can be nerve-wracking, especially on busy flights. Pictured here: travelers waiting at Newark Liberty International Airport on November 22, 2022.

Flying may be nerve-wracking, particularly on busy flights. Pictured right here: vacationers ready at Newark Liberty International Airport on November 22, 2022.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

For some passengers, it is the very fact they don’t seem to be in management. Other vacationers hate the unidentified noises that soundtrack the flight.

“When I find someone who’s scared of flying, I try to find out what’s the driver behind it,” says Major. “If you can talk to people and find out why they’re frightened, then you can alleviate their fears, because the chances of anything mechanical creating a situation where the plane would crash — it’s beyond remote.”

Some folks discover studying extra in regards to the mechanics and logistics useful. Other passengers simply want distraction, and talking to flight attendants may assist.

“The crew, that’s down to their skills to find out what it is that person needs to get them through the flight,” says Major.

If Major is talking to an anxious passenger earlier than the plane takes off, there’s additionally one other layer at play — flight attendants need to keep away from somebody deciding to deplane on the final minute, which might delay the flight and imply the plane misses its takeoff slot.

Major and his staff need to resolve as rapidly as attainable whether or not the passenger is ready to fly that day.

“That again, comes down to the skills of the crew,” says Major, who will at all times try to stay calm in these moments. “I don’t want the passengers to think my primary concern is, ‘Are you going to delay me closing the doors and getting this thing up in the air?'”

Malis advises that anxious fliers make themselves recognized to air crew. If she is aware of a passenger is nervous, she’ll attempt to maintain tabs on them at some stage in the flight. She recommends respiratory strategies, and in addition advises bringing alongside an engrossing e-book, or dropping your self in a TV present or film.

Major additionally advises bringing an iPad, coloring books or toys to entertain kids and maintain them as calm as attainable through the flight.

Do you are worried about unhealthy turbulence?

When she’s working a flight, Malis views turbulence as “more of a nuisance and inconvenience.”

“But it’s kind of funny, when I’m a passenger and I hit turbulence, I feel like I’m just like every other passenger, which doesn’t make any sense. I’m always like, ‘What was that bump? Is everything okay?'”

It’s a reminder {that a} bumpy flight is not nice for anybody — even when it is normally nothing to fret about.

What do you do in an inflight medical scenario?

Major says that how crew method an inflight medical scenario is dependent upon a number of components, together with the character of the scenario and the preferences of the crew.

He does not typically go for the traditional “is there a doctor on board?” callout.

“In the UK, you’ll find that most crews won’t ask for a doctor, they’ll do it themselves. We wouldn’t want someone involved that doesn’t know our environment.”

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Flight attendants have medical provides on board in case of emergencies, though they will solely administer sure medication beneath the path of a radio name to the bottom.

“They can talk us through what we need to know if we need to,” says Major, who says he is by no means delivered a child on board, however has come shut.

“If someone’s having a cardiac arrest, we’ve got the defib, we can do it. If a doctor wants to help us they can, but it depends what they’re a doctor in.”

Malis says on her US-based flights, cabin crew can even put in calls to physicians on the bottom within the case of a medical emergency. But not like Major, she says “having a doctor or a nurse on the flight is definitely preferable or helpful.

“Personally, I would like to web page a physician on a aircraft. I believe they’re clearly one of the best skilled for these varieties of circumstances. But we do have sources on the bottom and our personal fundamental coaching that covers a whole lot of issues.”

What’s it like when there’s a celebrity on the flight?

Everyone has to find a way to get from point A to point B, even celebrities. In fact, Major says that on pretty much every transatlantic flight, there’s likely to be someone at least moderately famous among the hundreds of passengers.

Generally speaking, the cabin crew aren’t given any warning that a celebrity is going to be on board — they’ll usually only realize when they see their name on the passenger list.

There are a few exceptions though.

“Sometimes you may be notified that there’s a VIP on board — that tends to be royal households,” says Major.

And yes, some celebrities have a reputation for being rude, and that reputation will spread among flight attendants.

Equally, some celebrities are known among cabin crew for being friendly and charming.

Malis says other passengers often have no idea they’re rubbing shoulders with A-listers.

“If you are sitting behind a aircraft, there’s an excellent likelihood there is a movie star in top notch that you simply by no means even knew about,” she says.

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Do you have codes you use to refer to passengers?

Major says when he first started flying two decades ago, flight attendants would sometimes use the code “BOB” AKA “greatest on board,” to refer to the passenger they deemed most good-looking.

“It’s only a little bit of enjoyable,” he says, adding it’s not as commonplace now. “We’re speaking years in the past.”

What do you think when passengers applaud when the plane lands?

Major suggests this is a regional thing and it’s more common on European flights.

“Italians do it each single flight, each single time. Sometimes after unhealthy turbulence you may get it. You perceive that one — persons are simply relieved to get there as a result of they do not actually perceive turbulence,” he says.

Malis says in the US, passengers usually only clap after a very bumpy flight.

“I suppose persons are shocked the aircraft landed, I’m unsure? Most planes do land,” she says. “Personally, I believe it is type of tacky. I believe a whole lot of flight attendants would agree with me on that.”

What strange things do people leave behind in the cabin?

It’s best not to go there.

“Everything your creativeness can drum up, we’ll have discovered it,” says Major.

Have you ever befriended a passenger?

Major once gave a stranded passenger a lift in his car and they’re still connected on social media today.

As for Malis, she says whether or not flight attendants connect with passengers depends on their personal comfort level, and boundaries should always be respected.

“There’s been situations of passengers stalking flight attendants and stuff like that. So it is vital that we do maintain considerably of knowledgeable line drawn,” she says.

But one time she ended up flying with her fifth grade basketball coach, by pure coincidence, which was fun.

And both Malis and Major know stories of flight attendants who’ve married passengers.

Can you accept gifts from passengers?

Major says flight attendants can only accept sealed packages, due to the security implications.

Malis says the crew genuinely appreciate tokens of appreciation.

“It actually does brighten our days when folks have the forefront to acknowledge us like that,” she says.

“We are the recipients of chocolate, quite a bit. Starbucks reward playing cards are nice.”

Malis isn’t sure of the current policy, but recalls at one time flight attendants were told to decline cash three times, but that they could accept it on the fourth try.

While it’s lovely when crew are acknowledged with gifts on the holidays, Malis says even just a smile makes a big difference and can change the atmosphere on board.

“You’d truly be shocked how many individuals simply ignore you, as you say hey, and so they do not even take a look at you or say something to you,” she says.

“I do not know if anybody’s first alternative is to be flying on the vacations. But we’re all type of all in it collectively.”

Top picture courtesy atosan/iStockphoto/Getty Images



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