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Learn from the professionals

Learn from the professionals
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No matter how many times you’ve flown the friendly skies, you haven’t done it as much as a flight attendant. And that means you likely have something to learn. The flight attendants we spoke with know a thing or two about what it takes to stay healthy, rested, and happy on a flight – as well as how to be a considerate traveller. If you’re engaging in any of the following behaviours, it’s time to change things up so you can have a better travel experience every time you fly.

Staying glued to your seat

Staying glued to your seat
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“When the seat belt sign is off, walk throughout the cabin to get the circulation going in your legs,” says Emirates cabin crew member Lauren Guilfoyle. “And remember to stretch a few times throughout the flight to get your muscles loosened up and the blood circulation going.” Not only might you start to get stiff and/or stir-crazy if you don’t get up, but you could also be endangering your health. On a long flight, in particular, a lack of movement can put you at an increased risk for developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially deadly blood clot, according to the CDC. Simply getting up and moving around can reduce that risk.

Stuck against the window with a sleeping seatmate on the aisle? No worries. “When seated, motion each letter of the alphabet with your foot to get the blood flowing and avoid ankle swelling,” Guilfoyle suggests. “Circulatory exercises will keep your cheeks looking rosy and make you look more awake when you de-board.”

Falling asleep unbuckled

Falling asleep unbuckled
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A domestic flight attendant we’ll call Suzanne says that neither she nor her colleagues would ever “fall asleep with our seat belts off.” Why? She poses this rhetorical question: “Do you want to hit the ceiling?!” before noting her frustration at passengers who get mad at her for “having to poke them to wake them up and make sure their seat belt is on.” You never know when the plane will hit turbulence or experience some other unexpected emergency, so it’s always best to be safe while you snooze.

Discover 7 hidden features of planes that you never knew existed. 

Drinking too much alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol
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“When you’re flying long-haul, the number one rule is to drink plenty of water because the air circulation can dry out your skin,” says Guilfoyle. Flight attendants obviously don’t drink while on the job, but they tend to steer clear of adult beverages when flying as passengers, too. In addition to keeping their skin hydrated, they also want to avoid a restless struggle to fall sleep on board. Plus, “a plane hangover is more merciless than one on land.” Guilfoyle also suggests avoiding caffeinated drinks and instead sticking to water and fruit juices.

Drinking coffee or hot tea

Drinking coffee or hot tea
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You probably won’t see a flight attendant drinking the coffee or tea on board a flight, no matter how tired they are, says an international flight attendant using the pseudonym Rebecca for this interview. “We really don’t know how good or clean the filter system is in the plane, therefore I don’t know where exactly that hot water is coming from to make the coffee and tea,” she explains.

Walking barefoot around the cabin

Walking barefoot around the cabin
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While the cabin of each plane is cleaned before every flight, germs can still linger on the floor. And while Guilfoyle says that’s a big reason flight attendants would never walk around the cabin without shoes, it’s not the only reason. “Sometimes glasses are dropped and broken, or our youngest travellers leave crumbs, so there could be sharp objects and food on the floor,” she says.

Learn the 17 things you should never say to flight attendants. 

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Littering

Littering
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Flight attendants would never ignore the repeated trips their colleagues make up and down the aisle with garbage bags, especially as the plane approaches its destination. They are there and ready to collect all your protein-bar wrappers, breakfast-sandwich packaging, and folded-up newspapers. All you have to do is hand them over. First of all, it’s the polite thing to do, since otherwise, it will create more work for the cabin crew. Second, flight attendants know that turning over the plane must be done swiftly to ensure the next flight departs on time. One way to make this process smoother is to not have passengers leaving their seat, floor area, and seat-back pocket littered with garbage.

Asking for multiple beverages

Asking for multiple beverages
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Rebecca says that there’s no way a flight attendant, when flying as a passenger, would ever ask for multiple drinks – or worse, ask what there is to drink on board. In Rebecca’s words: “We have over 200 passengers to get to, so the last thing we want to hear when we finally get to your row is: ‘What do you have?’ Or, ‘Can I have three different drinks – one with ice, one without ice, and a coffee?’” Remember that they are flight attendants with multiple important responsibilities, not your personal bartenders.

Engaging in bad bathroom habits

Engaging in bad bathroom habits
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According to Rebecca, no one who spends their professional life on airplanes would ever exhibit the bad bathroom habits some passengers do. This includes not flushing the toilet, not washing hands (gross), and – possibly worse of all, especially on a night flight – leaving the bathroom door open upon exiting.

Here are 10 more things you should never do on an aeroplane. 

Forgetting your manners

Forgetting your manners
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Common courtesies aren’t as common as you might think. So don’t forget to say simple things like, “May I…,” “Please,” and “Thank you,” during in-flight beverage service and whenever else the situation calls for it. One flight attendant remarked that she rarely hears passengers using their manners, so you can be sure that flight attendants are not forgetting theirs when flying.

Learn these 50 little etiquette rules you should always practice. 

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