Trent's Top 10: Tips while traveling by AIRPLANE

Things you should know before traveling by plane... After my extensive traveling through Asia and Europe these past couple months, I thought I would share 10 things you may not know about airplane travel... I also received insight from relatives and friends who work as pilots and flight attendants.

After my extensive traveling through Asia and Europe these past couple months, I thought I would share 10 things you may not know about airplane travel… I also received insight from relatives and friends who work as pilots and flight attendants.

first class airplane

10. You can be upgraded to first class even after take-off. It doesn’t happen often, but if you are the chosen one, it probably has nothing to do with luck. According to flight attendants, if they upgrade someone it will usually be someone well dressed, not a slob. So suit up! No tank tops and baggy b-ball shorts.

free sanitizing wipes on airplane
baby on airplane

9. Most people are unaware that you can receive free sanitizing wipes. I highly recommend you clean your tray table, remote, and anything else you plan to be using throughout your flight, seeing that planes are bacteria factories that help transport sickness and disease around the world. Just think about how many people everyday touch these things! The worst is the people that cough into their hands and then touch everything in sight. Gross! I asked flight attendants and they told me that honestly the tray tables only get cleaned once a day, if at all. So if you don’t clean it yourself, you are probably touching poop every time you touch your tray table… I have seen way too many parents set down poopy baby diapers on these tray tables. I have learned my lesson, and YOU have been warned.  

8. On the note of sanitation, if you want to be warm or comfortable, bring your own blanket and pillow. They hardly ever wash or clean these items. According to some of the flight attendants I spoke with, usually after flights they are just folded up, repackaged, and handed out for the next flight. Yuck!

gross things on plane
airplane service

7. Ask for no ice. When you are served your complimentary beverage on flights, the attendants pile in the ice to keep your beverage cold. The downside is not much room is left in the little plastic cups for liquid. When I’m parched, I’m hoping for more than just a few tablespoons of refreshment. If you realize that cold is just a luxury you can more than double the amount of liquid you receive by asking for no ice.

can of soda on airplane

Better yet, ask for the whole can. Most flight attendants have no problem doing so and plus it saves them the time and energy of opening and pouring it for you. A call that a win-win.

6. Medical attention. Some flight attendants deserve the title of nurse with the amount of medical ailments they have attended to. Most people don’t know it, but many planes are stocked with painkillers, antacids, and other basic medications. So if you have a headache or heartburn, all you have to do is ask. Not only that, but many flight attendants are fantastic at making ice packs out of the barf bags and other plastic bags on board. They also have bandages for minor cuts and abrasions.

nice lady on plane


5. Water bottle refill. For those of you who are ultra thirsty or just like to have a bottled water handy at all times, you are probably deeply saddened when going through the airport security and have to empty its contents for safety reasons. No need to fear, bring on your reusable, hopefully eco-friendly, water bottle and kindly ask your flight attendant for a refill. Unless there is a shortage on the plane, this shouldn’t be a problem… BUT be careful! Do not ever use water other than bottled or canned water.  According to the Wall Street Journal, all other water on the plane can contain hundreds of times more bacteria than above governmental safety guidlines. So as gross as this sounds, don’t wash your hands after using the plane lavatory. Your more likely to get sick from the water. That’s why we have hand sanitizer. (http://blogs.wsj.com/middleseat/2008/08/28/thinking-of-drinking-airplane-water-read-this/)

4. Seconds on snacks. Granted there is enough, and if your airline provides free food/snacks, after every passenger has received some, you can receive more for free.  Above all by courteous and polite to your flight attendant. They serve hundreds of cranky travelers a day every time they go to work.

devious pilot

3. Pilots only tell you what you need to know. They won’t tell you if one of the engines of the planes blows out because they don’t want to cause panic. Plus most aircrafts can fly fine with only one engine operational. They won’t tell you about dangerous thunderstorms or unseen updrafts. They might say things like turbulence ahead. The indicator I listen for is “Flight attendants take your seats.” That’s when you know you are approaching some serious turbulence and definitely want to be buckled up.

plane explodes midflight

2. Freefalling. If your plane explodes mid-flight and you are 35,000 feet above ground, you still have a chance for survival. (http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/survive-plane-crash-quiz.htm) You will probably pass out for the first minute or so from shock but after that, you need to ready yourself for impact. The position that gives you the best chance for survival is face-down toward earth, spread out as much as possible slowing yourself down with the wind resistance. As you glide to earth slightly less graceful than a flying squirrel aim for either a swampland or snowbank. Other wise you may be screwed. Water upon impact will be as hard as concrete, and dirt is hard as rock… because it is rock. If nothing else, make right with God and sing to yourself Tom Petty’s version of Free Falling.

plane exploding

1. Best seat in the house. Since we are on the note of safety, the safest seats are usually the back of the plane if you are actually to crash into the ground or water. It may be annoying sitting in the most crammed seats and being the last one off the plane, but according to a study by Popular Mechanics you have a 40 percent chance higher chance of surviving a plane crash. To solidify these stats, researchers crashed a Boeing 727 with cameras and test dummies. (http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/safety/4219452). All first class, front of the plane passengers would have been killed, while nearly 80% of those sitting in the rear of the plane would have survived. If your plane does crash, you have 90 seconds to get off before the interior will reach temperatures hot enough to melt your skin off.

All this plane crash survival talk really wants to make you fly huh? Don’t worry! Your chances of dying in a plane crash are about 11 million to 1. You are more likely to die as a civilian on the ground from falling parts of a plane than a plane crash.  You actually have better odds of becoming president than dying in a plane crash.  So even though there have been several high profile plane crashes recently, it is still the safest mode of transportation.