Travel news tips Top 10 travel hacks suggested by cabin crew

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Top 10 travel hacks suggested by cabin crew

Whoever said that the journey is better than the destination clearly wasn’t referring to air travel. A holiday is meant to relax you, but the endless planning, long flights, and jet lag leave you restless; no wonder then that many people feel they need a holiday to recover from a holiday! So here at Skyscanner, we interviewed cabin crew across airlines and asked them a bunch of questions on how to make your travel experiences better. The answers may surprise you!

1. What is the simplest way to get upgraded?

While all airlines have their own policies regarding upgrades, the best chance to get upgraded is by not being a total douche at the check-in counter (actual words of an airhostess!). That completely eliminates all odds of an upgrade. The sure shot way though is to enrol yourself into a frequent flyer programme – especially if you tend to have a preference for a particular airline. Most airlines will upgrade their frequent flyers.

Be polite at the check-in counter

2. How to avoid paying for overweight baggage?

“Carry less,” remarked one of the airhostesses in Captain Obvious style. But further prodding revealed some interesting insights. Apparently the trick is to balance out the weight between your check-in and hand baggage. Always pick a backpack over a trolley bag (as hand baggage) since the former is unlikely to be suspected for being too heavy.

Most airlines do not do a weight check for hand baggage until it looks obviously way out of the weight range. Another interesting tip is to “wear layers of clothes,” since airports and planes are freezing anyway. This avoids overloading your check-in bag at the cost of you looking somewhat silly. But who cares? It’s the airport! Our favourite tip is “If you’re visiting friends and family, buy duty-free items at the destination airport as gifts instead of locally so you don’t need to cart all those items along.”

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Carry less to avoid extra baggage fees

3. What are the best seats on a plane?

“Aisle! Aisle! Aisle!” exclaimed one purser. It is the most convenient, otherwise you will find yourself constantly needing to hop over elderly people, mothers with infants and sleeping co-passengers. If you’re long legged, you can stick one leg out (slightly!) when the aisle is clear, but please don’t trip the cabin crew. Once the doors are closed, you may find an empty seat you prefer and being seated in aisle can get you there quicker. Just don’t come across as an imbecile in your excitement.

If you’re over 6 feet and travelling economy, show up early to the airport and ask for the emergency exit since these can’t be booked online and are high in demand due to the extra legroom they offer.

Aisles are the best seats in the house

4. What is the alcohol limit on international and domestic flights?

Despite whatever you’ve read, this highly depends on two factors: your behaviour, and the cabin crew’s mood. Since everyone has a different capacity, flight attendants constantly monitor signs of passengers being too high (like suddenly breaking into a jig), and if you are, consider it your last drink! In general, every subsequent drink reduces your chances of the next one (Captain Obvious on a roll).

Avoid getting drunk before flying

5. How to calm down a constantly crying infant?

Every child is different, but in general, taking them to the galley brings out the curiosity in them and keeps them busy for a bit. Distractions always work since they are usually crying out of sheer boredom. Never give them sugar since the temporary rush makes them even more irritable. Moreover, many infants cry due to pressure in the ears and feeding during take-off and landing helps since the jaw movement keeps their ears open.

An infant sleeping harmoniously

6. What does it cost to cargo your pet?

This is highly dependent on the airline and its individual policies along with the size of your pet. Also there are restrictions on how many animals are permitted on board so you need to book much in advance to ensure a place. Certain breeds are not allowed at all since their genetic traits make them unsuitable for air travel. Read up thoroughly on the airline’s pet policy so there are no surprises when you show up with your furry friend at the airport.

Treat your pet to a fabulous tropical vacation

7. How to ensure that your baggage arrives first?

The simplest way is to request for it to be marked as ‘priority baggage’. If you’re a frequent flyer, this request will always be processed but even if you’re not, nicely asking for it will help you get a tag. Also marking your bag as fragile helps. If neither of these work, simply remember that baggage works on the last in first out (LIFO) policy so check in at the last minute to ensure your bag is among the first few to come out.

Don't forget to mark your baggage as priority or fragile

8. How to work around the 50ml liquid limit?

Carry smaller bottles of shampoos, conditioners, and other liquid items that you need. If you use international brands, consider buying travel sizes (or even full sizes if you wish) at the duty free so it will be allowed in with no fuss because it goes in completely sealed.

Buy your perfumes at duty-free outlets

9. How to beat jet lag?

Pop a melatonin pill before the flight. This works like a charm for many people. Also, if you reach a place in the morning and it’s night time in your home country, do anything but keep yourself awake till it’s night wherever you are. This resets your body clock and helps you adjust to the time difference easily. It is hard to be up when you’re dying to sleep but you will find the effort worth it for the rest of your holiday.

Jet lag can ruin anyone's trip

10. How fresh are meals on flight?

While the cabin crew interviewed knew that they had the safety of being anonymous, all of them across airlines said that flight food meets some of the most stringent food safety standards in the world and are generally prepared no longer than 10 hours before consumption. However, as far as taste goes, it certainly doesn’t meet MasterChef standards!

Get inspired!

Airline food isn't as bad as you think
Photo credit: Sarah Ackerman

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