Dos and Don'ts of Flying
As a flight attendant, I constantly see passengers make the same mistakes onboard. First time traveler? Frequent flier? Doesn't matter. Here are some important tips to help better prepare you for your next flight.
For some, flying is a chance to relax. Kick back, have a cocktail, watch a movie or two. For others, it may bring feelings of anxiety. Crying babies, uncomfortable seats, no Wifi (*insert Home Alone scream face*). Love it or hate it, things can get a tad bit hectic when sharing what is, essentially, a metal tube in the sky with about 200 other people you don't know. The following tips will help ensure you have a seamless journey as well as avoid being nuisance to your flight attendants and fellow passengers.
DO: Bring your own headphones.
Not all aircrafts have video screens, and even if they do, there may not be enough headsets to go around. Play it safe (and smart) and just bring your own.
DON'T: Sit in someone else's seat during boarding.
At least wait until boarding is finished or close to being over to move around. Not only does it slow down the boarding process, but when you sit in someone else’s assigned seat it creates a domino effect of other people taking the wrong seat and soon there’s a confused crowd in the aisle trying to play musical chairs. This is how delays happen, people! Fun Fact: if you choose to book your flight via a third party site (i.e. Expedia), your selected seat is actually more of a "preference" than a real selection, so double check your seat assignment when you check in online on the carrier's website.
DO: Make sure the bin closes after putting your oversized/oddly shaped bag in.
Hey, I get it. You packed a lot of stuff and don’t want to check your bag. But please make sure it fits in the overhead bin properly. Take things out if you have to. Don’t just take your seat like your suitcase isn’t very awkwardly hanging out the overhead bin. Oh and don’t make a face at the bin and be all like, “These bins keep getting smaller and smaller....” while huffing and puffing. They’re the same size boo. Maybe you shouldn't have packed your entire bedroom, Karen!
DON'T: Forget your passport, meds, etc., when checking your bag at the gate.
If you have to check your bag in because it doesn't fit in the overhead bin or they ran out of overhead bin space, please take out all the necessary items you’ll need during your journey. Checked bags go to your final destination.
DO: Bring a sweater. Blanket. Thermos. Anything to keep you warm.
PSA: Planes are COLD. For real for real. Like headsets, there aren’t enough blankets for everyone. You could be headed to Cozumel and the plane ride there will still have you feel like winter is coming. Actually, the warmer your destination, the more the pilots like to crank up the air for some reason, so think ahead.
Don't: Expect the flight attendants to put your bag away for you.
Flight attendants do many things. Throw extra snacks your way when you say you’re hungry. Get you ginger ale when you say you’re nauseous. Pretend like they sympathize with you when you say you’re scared of flying. They stand there, waiting...watching...ready to save a life at any given moment. But put your bags away for you? Negative. You pack it you stack it. (That's it for the rhyming one-liners, I promise.)
Stop expecting flight attendants to put your bags up for you! They're there to assist you with your luggage, meaning they will help you find a spot for your bag or can help you get it checked. If you know you won't be able to lift your bag over your shoulders, please check it in. Most of the time gate agents will be happy to have volunteers at the gate who would like to check their bag. Fewer bags = faster boarding. I personally know flight attendants that are out for months because of injuries due to lifting (or dropping!) heavy luggage.
DO: Pack a pen.
I'm not that good at math, but hmmmm, if you're flying internationally, I'm gonna say that 10 times out of 10 you will have to fill out a customs/immigration form. Planes aren't stocked with 300 pens each flight. More like 3. So stop looking at flight attendants like they're stupid when they tell you there are no pens. You're the dumb dumb going to a different country without a pen! Most of the time flight attendants have one personal pen on them, about a dozen people asking for it, and zero willingness to share it. If you forgot to pack a pen, just try to ask your neighbor if you could borrow theirs when they're done.
DON'T: Hand us your baby's dirty diaper.
With all due respect, please throw that doo-doo rag away in the BATHROOM. And put it in an air sickness bag first. Flight attendants are actually not allowed to pick up soiled diapers while doing trash walks. Something to due with, oh I don’t know, serving food and coming in contact with human waste. Yeah, something like that.
DO: Take off your headphones during beverage.
Pop quiz: You have your headphones on and can see a two-hundred pound cart in your peripheral vision. A flight attendant is talking to the row in front of you for a few minutes. The person next to you just got handed a drink. Are you going to: A) Keep headphones on and ignore the flight attendant. B) Keep headphones on, say "Huh?", try to read lips, and ignore context clues. C) Wait until the cart passes and ring the call light to tell the flight attendants they skipped you. D) Take headphones off to request/decline drink. If you chose "D", good job, you’re a decent human being! Nothing is more irritating than saying "Peanuts, pretzels, cookies, or granola bar?" four times in a row. Try it.
DON'T: Hang out in the galley.
Galleys are the tiny spaces in the front and back (and sometimes middle) of the plane where flight attendants work from, sit at, eat at, and spend their time when not out in the aisle. Please don’t crowd the little space they have with your weird stretching. Please don’t hand them trash when they’re eating. Please don't just stand there waiting for a bathroom to open up. Please don’t be poking your head around, opening bins and pouring your own drinks. How would you feel if someone came and did that in your office? Respect the galley!
DO: Try to use the bathroom in your own cabin.
If you’re in the main cabin, don’t cross the curtain to use the first class lav just because it’s closer. It takes literally 20 seconds more to walk to the back. Not only is it a security issue to have people be next to the flight deck that aren’t supposed to be there, but these passengers pay a lot of money to sit in first class. Don’t be a hater. Let them enjoy the little luxury of having a separate bathroom. If the carts in the aisle during beverage service are blocking you from using the lavatory in the main cabin (or elderly, disabled, pregnant, etc), then its OK to use the first class lav.
DON'T: Get up during turbulence.
The thing about turbulence is, you never really know how bad it could get. If the captain turned on the seatbelt sign and made a PA about being seated, stay seated. Especially if the flight attendants are sitting down. Please don't ring the call light for a Bloody Mary when the plane is rocking back and forth. And don't ask us if you can use the bathroom during turbulence. Because if you ask, it's our job to say no. If you absolutely must use the bathroom, please clean up after yourself. You know what I’m talking about!
DO: Throw trash away properly.
I am just….at a loss for words with this one. I don’t understand how a trash can can be right in front of you yet you just leave paper on the floor/around the sink/on top of the trash flap. Be a grown up please. You’re not going to catch cooties if you touch the flap of the trash can. Like use your brain. It's a bathroom...it's not gonna *not* have a place to dispose of waste. Also, leaving trash in the seat back pocket? Not cool. Just picture the next person reaching for the in-flight magazine and instead getting your old banana peel. Gross dude.
DON'T: Put your bare feet up on the armrest in front of you.
Orrrrr on the seat back, or on the tray tables, or on the fuselage, or out in the aisle sticking out so people bump into your crusty toes. Just leave your feet where we can't see 'em. Oh and please, for heaven's sake, stop walking barefoot into the lavatories! That's not water on the floor.
DO: Keep the aisles clear.
Especially on an overnight flight when the lights are turned off. It's extremely annoying walking up and down the tiny ass aisle trying to avoid hitting feet, heads, and shoulders that are jutting out. You don't want an injury right? Help us help you. Also I just hate feet.
DON'T: Overdo it with the alcohol.
The high altitude when flying makes one drink really seem like two. Know your limits! I've seen people get so sick that they're burying their face in a trash bag upon landing. I've also seen people get arrested because of how belligerent they've gotten with the flight attendants and other passengers. Enjoy your gin and tonics or whatever, just don't get get all crazy on us.
DO: Close the window shade on an overnight flight if you're the window seat passenger.
As keeper of the window shade, it's your duty to be as courteous as possible. It's only fair. You get to enjoy all the amazing views. Don't ruin everyone else's shut-eye by leaving the window open overnight, because by morning the sunlight from your teeny tiny window will illuminate the whole cabin.
DON'T: Reach up for your bags upon landing.
Where do ya think you're going? No but seriously, where? Unless you're at the front of the aircraft, sityoazz down and wait your turn. Not only is it mega annoying, but some people have been patiently waiting to use the bathroom, and can't get to it because rows 20-40 all have their bags down and in the aisle with no where to go. It just doesn't make sense.
DO: Look around your seat for your belongings upon deplaning.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but trust me, you’d be surprised. I’ve lost a book I just got signed by the author and many a phone chargers. People forget chargers, books, glasses, carry on bags, electronics, etc. You can basically kiss your lost items buh-bye. I've seen people forget their passports too. Listen, do not place your passport in the seatback pocket! Like..iz u dumb?
DON'T: Be a rude b*tch.
This last one could possibly be the most important reminder of them all. Flying is a privilege! Planes soar through the sky just to take little ole you from A to B. That’s crazy! So amazing when you think about it. Common decency doesn’t just fly out the window once you step on the plane. Mind your manners. The pilots, flight attendants, other passengers, are all only human too.
What's on your do's and don'ts list when it comes to flying? Leave it in the comments!