Flight Attendant Shares Best Guidelines for Traveling on a Plane

  • Abundant Henderson has labored as a flight attendant for a significant US airline for 10 a long time. 
  • He shared some of his top travel strategies, like how to improve seats and which drinks you really should avoid.
  • Bribing flight attendants with sweet or gift cards will never get you upgraded to to start with class, he mentioned.

Is it risk-free to drink the plane coffee? Can I change to that open seat a few of rows up? Will I get in issues if I board in advance of my team is called? 

If your interior monologue seems nearly anything like this whilst flying, you might be in the proper spot. 

Rich Henderson, a flight attendant of 10 many years and co-creator of the website “Two Men on a Plane,” answered our burning journey concerns about boarding, deplaning, and almost everything in among. He chose to omit the title of his employer because of to the airline’s media policy, but his placement has been verified by Insider. 

Before the flight

You know those people men and women who crowd the gate even if there’s continue to an hour left until boarding? Flight attendants have a word for that, according to Henderson, and it’s not a thing you want to be called: “gate lice.” 

“Just stay as out of the way as achievable of the boarding area until finally your group is at least shut to being known as,” he told Insider. “If our recurrent fliers and best-tier people usually are not even shut to obtaining on the aircraft and your crew isn’t really even close to acquiring on the aircraft, you definitely have no company standing ideal at the gate.”

But at the very least “gate lice” are waiting around for their change to board — as opposed to passengers who lower the line before their team is even known as.

If you haven’t tried using pre-emptively boarding, you’ve at least believed about it. Whether or not or not you get in difficulties for boarding right before your zone relies upon on the airline and gate attendant, Henderson reported, adding that he would not advise attempting and finding out. 

“There’s some gate brokers that if you are good and just smile and act like everything’s normal, they would not treatment or they will not likely recognize that you are not in that assigned zone,” he told Insider. “But there are some others that if you happen to be caught they will out you and they will disgrace you.”

While it could be tempting, boarding with the mistaken team can toss a wrench into the boarding course of action developed to get everyone on the plane as speedily as probable while worthwhile regular flyers and increased-paying out buyers.

Typically, your boarding team is assigned dependent on the sort of ticket you obtain and if you have specific standing or credit score cards with the airline, Henderson reported. For case in point, on Delta flights, Medallion members acquire priority boarding while Simple Financial state travellers with decrease-value tickets board final.

All through the flight

Flight attendant coffee

There can be dangerous bacteria in the tap drinking water made use of on planes.


YakobchukOlena/Getty Illustrations or photos



You have built it on the plane! Congrats. But you might be not happy with your seat assignment — so you inquire the flight attendants if you can move to an open up just one. 

If there is certainly availability within the very same cabin, the crew may possibly let you transfer, Henderson mentioned. But switching men and women concerning cabins can get flight attendants in severe issues or even fired, he explained to Insider, as airlines can watch it as stealing merchandise. 

“We can in all probability go you to an exit row or even a far better row if there is space out there,” he explained. “Greatest tip for that is just be as pleasant and accommodating as you can each to crew and passengers and that can truly go a long way.”

You happen to be settled in your seat, at previous, and very likely sitting incredibly shut to at the very least a person other human being. Even though it can be polite to say hello there and maybe exchange some modest converse, it is likely not the ideal thought to chat the overall flight, Henderson encouraged.

An hour or so into the flight, the snack cart begins rolling down the aisle. If there is one matter to prevent buying, it can be warm drinks like espresso and tea that are designed with the airplane tap h2o, Henderson claimed. 

“The plane drinking water is notoriously gross,” he told Insider, incorporating that there are normally rumors circulating about how clean the drinking water tanks are. “In phrases of basic safety, I signify, I believe you are good, but it can be probably a thing you really don’t want to know wherever it came from.”

In phrases of food items, Henderson claims the snack bins are ordinarily contemporary and shipped by the catering business the same day. Nonetheless, some planes do not have refrigerators on board, so it truly is usually better to purchase food items at the beginning of the flight as opposed to close to the finish, he mentioned. 

“If you acquire it at the beginning of a flight, it just arrived off a cold catering cart,” he told Insider. “But if you buy it five several hours into the flight, it can be been sitting down out for five several hours essentially.”

Just after the flight

Flight attendant Rich Henderson said it's not the end of the world if your luggage can't fit in the overhead bin directly above your seat.

Flight attendant Abundant Henderson explained it is really not the finish of the entire world if your luggage are not able to in shape in the overhead bin straight over your seat.

Jeffrey Greenberg/Common Illustrations or photos Team through Getty Visuals



You have been one particular of the unlucky few who obtained trapped stashing their bag in an overhead bin behind your seat, leaving you with two possibilities: wait around until finally everybody guiding you gets off the plane and then make your way back again, or swim upstream through the masses. 

“My most effective suggestion is to just test to swim upstream as politely as you can,” Henderson said, “Typically as the crowd commences to fade out, you can kind of weave by means of the rows and perform your way again.”

Since COVID, Henderson reported he is observed a “big uptick” in travellers tipping their flight attendants with gift playing cards or sweet as a token of appreciation. This is typically welcomed, unless of course it can be obvious that you want anything in return, he informed Insider, noting that you can not bribe your way into 1st class. 

“Which is one thing I can say about all flight attendants throughout the board. If we perception that you’re anticipating anything from us for free, then we are probably not going to give it to you,” he reported. “But if you happen to be sort and you should not talk to for anything, we are going to give you all the things.”

Moreso than treats, Henderson explained flight attendants definitely value passengers who acquire the time to thank them at the conclude of the flight. 

“Even just so significantly declaring thanks for holding us harmless, or many thanks for all you do,” he instructed Insider. “All those little feedback go a prolonged way with us mainly because we’ve received persons in the course of boarding and deplaning that will never even acknowledge our existence.”