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A Flight Attendant’s Recommendations on Surviving Travel Now


Twenty years ago, with my life at a serious crossroads, I applied to each airline, and a couple of months later I used to be officially a flight attendant. I loved my latest job, and it got here with a totally latest and exciting life.

But I didn’t enroll for what travel is like this summer.

The pandemic has modified flying greater than any event I actually have experienced in my profession. If 9/11 modified how we board planes and enter airports, Covid-19 modified the experience on the airplane all together. It created a strain and made everyone nervous. It brought politics right into a realm that shouldn’t be political.

Within the initial days of the pandemic, the airlines tried to avoid wasting as much money as they might. They allowed early retirements and furloughed many employees; on top of that, many other employees quit to be with their families. Now we’ve got an worker shortage. Once the mask mandate was dropped, passenger counts began to grow faster than airlines could handle. Now we’re short-staffed and overworked. Not only pilots and flight attendants, but additionally ground crews. You might not take into consideration ground crews, but without them there is no such thing as a one to park the planes, drive the jet bridges so you’ll be able to board and get off, load your bags and retrieve them, or scan boarding passes.

Something that isn’t common knowledge is that flight crews have cut-off dates on how long they will work, generally 12 to 16 hours at a stretch. Besides being unsafe, it’s illegal for us to fly longer than that. In case your flight crew gets delayed and hits that point, it doesn’t matter if you have got somewhere to be, we’re done after we are done. The way in which things are right away, there aren’t many back up crews, so your flight could also be canceled.

Historically, summer is at all times a difficult time to fly, but this summer is far worse. There have been 1000’s of cancellations and delays each week, and there doesn’t appear to be any relief in sight. I actually have seen many individuals miss necessary things like weddings, cruises, international connections and even funerals. The tears are very real, for very real reasons, and there’s nothing I as a flight attendant can do to assist.

Travel is nice for the soul. It revitalizes us, and allows us to re-center. Sometimes you could feel sand under your toes, smell fresh pine trees or immerse yourself within the sounds of a latest city simply to remind yourself you might be still alive. But the important thing this summer is to travel smart. Take as much of the stress out of travel as you’ll be able to by planning ahead and being prepared. Here’s my best advice based on 20 years of working at 30,000 feet.

In case you are occurring a cruise, leave the day before. Count it as a part of your vacation. Stay in a hotel in a latest city and explore. Have a pleasant dinner and a glass of wine and revel in yourself. Get up slowly, have some coffee and pancakes, and leisurely head to your boat. The more money is well worth the peace of mind. I recently worked on a flight that was delayed. A family of eight missed their connecting flight to Rome, which was the one flight of the day. They were going to a cruise which they’d now miss. (Buying travel insurance isn’t a foul idea either.)

That way when you are delayed, you don’t have to worry about making your next flight. In case you can’t avoid connecting, don’t book the shortest layover, since you’ll be constructing in stress and the opportunity of missing your flight. A one-hour layover isn’t enough anymore. Thirty minutes, not a likelihood. Typically, three hours is secure.

The primary flights of the day rarely cancel. Thunderstorms construct because the day gets warmer, flight crews reach their duty limits later within the day and traffic builds at busy airports. Yes, which may mean a 3 a.m. alarm, but in case your early flight does occur to cancel, there might be more options to rebook a special flight.

These apps have precious information. They’ll keep you from having to attend in impossibly long lines or to try to get someone on the phone if things go unsuitable. You possibly can track your bag, your incoming plane, and in some cases you’ll know a flight is canceled before the flight crew even knows. The app may also guide you in rebooking a latest flight if needed.

Flights are full. In case you buy the most cost effective seats chances are you’ll not have the ability to take a seat along with your family. It says so if you purchase your ticket. Flight attendants aren’t there to rearrange the entire plane just so you’ll be able to sit together since you tried to lower your expenses on a 3rd party website. Also, bear in mind that if a flight is oversold, and nobody volunteers to provide up their seat, the primary to be bumped might be the family that saved a couple of dollars through the use of a bargain website.

Don’t be “that guy.” Don’t delay boarding because you have got your extenders open till they’re bursting and you’ll be able to’t work out how one can make your bag fit within the overhead.

Here’s a flight attendant secret: We sometimes keep the airplane cold intentionally. For individuals who struggle with airsickness, heat makes it worse. We don’t want anyone to make use of those sick sacks.

We’re and we all know. You might cause us to ugly cry right there within the galley.

Be nice. Our goal in any respect airlines is to get you to your destination. Stay positive, a minimum of you aren’t at work.

Kristie Koerbel is a longtime flight attendant who has previously shared her advice on Facebook.

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