I recently sat down with Flight Attendant-turned-Actress Alex Jade to find out what on-board advice she’d give to airline passengers. Here are her top five insider tips.
1. Bring Snacks
You’ve surely heard this time and time again, but a reminder never hurts: “Try to avoid the plane food as much as possible.” Best way to do this? Bring food with you. “Stop by a Whole Foods or Bulk Barn before your flight,” recommends Jade. To the surprise of some travellers, bringing snacks through security and on board is generally completely allowed—and apparently even encouraged—especially when it comes to dry goods. The only stipulation is that on international flights you’re usually restricted to finishing or leaving the food on the plane, so that you don’t bring it into a foreign country.
2. Dress Warm or Bring a Blanket
It can get chilly on board a plane travelling at roughly 35,000 feet in the air, so you want to make sure you’re warm and comfortable if you want any chance of getting some shut eye. Of course, some airlines still provide passengers with blankets and pillows, but this is becoming increasingly rare, especially on domestic flights. If you want to spare yourself the extra cost of having to purchase a blanket on board, make sure to wear layers that will keep you warm, or bring your own blanket. You can also take the chic route like Jade: “I always use a big scarf that kind of turns into a blanket,” she says.
3. Sit in an Aisle Seat for More Leg Room
If you’re tall, you’re going to need room to stretch out your legs, even if that means taking up part of the aisle. According to Jade, you shouldn’t feel bad about it: “You’re either going to be the jerk that takes up all the room, or you’re just going to be a sardine that hates your life the entire flight.” Nabbing a seat by an emergency exit can also usually guarantee you some extra leg room, but on long international flights you may want to steer clear of emergency exits. Not only do those roomy areas become popular spots for people to congregate and stretch out their legs, but they’re often located right next to restrooms that get a lot of traffic on long flights.
4. Don’t Be the Person Who Chats Up a Storm
Try to be mindful of the fact that not everyone feels like socializing the entire flight, whether they’re travelling or working. Based on her first-hand experience, Jade says: “Flight attendants are working and even if they look bored they probably don’t want to be talking to you because they’re having to smile and deal with things the entire time, so any extra additional conversation is just annoying.”
5. Get Up as Little as Possible
You’ve surely heard flight attendants repeatedly ask passengers to sit down and fasten their seatbelts. Following these simple instructions is the best thing you can do on board a plane. As Jade says: “We’re not trying to be super, super strict, it’s just that people have gotten hurt.” These rules exist for your own safety—seriously.
Jade’s bottom line: “flight attendants basically feel like babysitters a lot of the time,” so try to be a respectful passenger and do anything you can to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible without bothering anyone around you.
As always, happy travels!