230227152812 02 flight attendant secrets long haul travel

A flight attendant’s secrets and techniques to surviving long-haul flights Lalrp



Any air journey might be hectic, however dealing with down a long-haul flight might be particularly intimidating.

Do you have to prioritize sleeping or consuming, or each? Do you have to try to train within the aisle? Is it ever acceptable to take off your footwear?

Kris Main is a British flight attendant with 24 years’ expertise. He’s labored short-haul hops and spent 14-hour stretches within the sky. He’s endured journeys with an unenviable variety of layovers, and he’s change into an skilled in refueling by way of energy naps at 30,000 ft.

Because the pandemic wanes and many people sit up for long-awaited long-haul adventures, Travel requested Main for his ideas and tips on surviving a number of hours within the sky.

If you happen to’re catching an evening flight and also you wish to maximize sleep on board, Main suggests consuming earlier than boarding.

That is notably necessary if the flight is on the shorter finish of the long-haul scale: for those who’re touring from New York to London, for instance, at finest you’re taking a look at round 5 – 6 hours sleep, so that you wish to take advantage of that relaxation time.

Main, who additionally represents European flight attendants and pilots as chair of the European Transport Staff’ Federation’s Joint Aircrew Committee, says it’s telling that the majority enterprise vacationers shut their eyes as quickly as they get on board.

“The seasoned vacationers, after takeoff, you go down the cabin and you’ll see that they’re gone – they’ve lined themselves up and so they’re asleep,” he says.

Nonetheless, Main admits that consuming earlier than flying isn’t at all times doable, due to lengthy safety strains and busy airport terminals. Even when you’ve got the perfect intentions, you possibly can find yourself settling for a sad-looking sandwich as you run to the gate.

If you happen to’re flying enterprise or first-class, you additionally is perhaps tempted to take advantage of food and drinks supplied on board – it’s laborious to show down complimentary champagne, in any case.

However realistically, the cabin food and drinks service can take a very good two hours, so that you’re shedding helpful relaxation time – and your Enterprise Class ticket ought to provide you with entry to an airport lounge, so max out these services as a substitute, and board the aircraft well-fueled and able to relaxation.

It might be tempting to make the most of business class culinary offerings, but flight attendant Kris Major says you should prioritize sleep.

If you happen to’re flying long-haul, you’ll doubtless be supplied a couple of meal through the course of the flight.

Meal occasions begin to really feel a bit arbitrary if you’re crossing a number of time zones, however must you eat at any time when meals is obtainable to you? Or must you flip meals down for those who’re not hungry or attempting to sleep?

Main says passengers ought to do no matter’s proper for his or her journey schedule. If you happen to’re exhausted, you’re higher off sleeping than forcing your self to eat dinner on the equal of three a.m.

“Most airways don’t notably plan their [food] service across the passenger and acclimatization and time zones crossing,” explains Main.

Airways normally present pillows for long-haul vacationers, regardless of the cabin, however Main says bringing your individual eye masks, journey pillow and/or a blanket could possibly be a good suggestion relying in your preferences.

Eye masks are nice for those who’re attempting to sleep when the cabin lights are on, when you would possibly desire your individual journey pillow to the airline model.

Plus, whereas it’s uncommon, there’s at all times the possibility that pillows are unavailable – one thing that could possibly be an enormous drawback on a 14-hour flight.

“It occurs,” says Main. “So I’d say, cater your self in your personal consolation and your individual wants as a lot as you probably can.”

Many people discover it troublesome to sleep on airplanes, whether or not on account of unfamiliar noises or, for the cheaper seats, restricted leg room and upright positions.

Struggling to sleep on an extended flight, understanding you’re going to pay for the misplaced hours if you land, might be an disagreeable cycle of fear.

Do you have to persevere and hold attempting, or surrender and watch a film?

Main says there’s no level attempting to drive sleep, notably in case your physique clock thinks it’s the center of the day and also you’re merely not drained.

However he cautions that it’s necessary to remember what you’re doing on the different finish. If you happen to’re going to be driving, for instance, or going straight to a gathering, you must try to relaxation as a lot as you possibly can.

Flight attendants on long-haul flights are provided with spaces to rest. Here's a photo of the crew rest area on a Boeing 787.

Crew relaxation areas exist on all airplanes, however what these relaxation areas appear to be relies on the airline, plane and the size of the flight.

“If we’re going someplace over, say, 13 hours, we have to have good relaxation areas,” says Main, who explains flight attendants ought to sometimes be entitled to breaks that permit for 90 minutes of sleep. That method, they’ve accomplished a full sleep cycle earlier than they’re again to work.

“You want no less than one sleep cycle scientifically to be of any use, to maintain your potential to function safely, your choice making processes, your communication expertise,” says Main.

Flight attendants have to be alert all through the journey, so they’ll take it in turns to refuel by way of mid-flight energy naps.

Main says he finds sleeping in crew relaxation areas fairly simple, however he is aware of flight attendants who discover it robust to sleep in beds that Main calls “technically coffins.”

“There are some crew that actually battle with the bunks, they’re not nice,” says Main.

“You push your self proper in, in order that they’re lengthy and skinny, as a result of they’re up within the plane, so there’s not numerous area. They’re like what you’d think about you’d see on a submarine.”

Flight attendants will normally choose to get modified out of their uniform and into loungewear earlier than squeezing into the bunks. Main says he at all times packs a T-shirt and a few comfy lounge pants.

As he’s a senior flight attendant, Main will hold his tie on the outside of his bunk’s curtain earlier than he closes his eyes.

“In order that if there’s any emergency while I’m within the bunk, they know precisely which one I’m in, although there’s normally one designated for the senior,” Main explains.

We’ve all skilled waking up after a mid-flight sleep, groggily heading to the airplane lavatory to clean up, and alarming your self if you catch sight of your exhausted reflection.

Main’s high tip for feeling refreshed following inflight relaxation would possibly sound apparent, however he insists it makes a world of distinction.

“Cleansing your enamel is at all times the one which freshens everyone up essentially the most,” he says, including that flight attendants will at all times have between 5 and 10 minutes to clean up earlier than they’re again on obligation.

That’s sufficient time to dress, wash and, if that you must, comb hair and refresh make-up.

Flight attendants will greet a returning colleague with a cup of tea or espresso. Then they’ll head off obligation for their very own relaxation interval.

Sitting in the identical upright place for hours on finish is uncomfortable, but it surely’s not at all times simple to rise up to stretch. The seat belt signal is perhaps switched on, otherwise you would possibly wish to keep away from disturbing your seat neighbor.

Main stresses that even simply wiggling your toes whereas sitting in your seat is worth it.

“Do transfer round in your seat, transfer your legs, do what comes naturally – wiggle, transfer, get the blood flowing if that’s what that you must do. For those who have gotten circulatory points, speak to your physician,” he says.

For a lot of passengers, this can be a controversial query on account of issues about smelly ft. However Main encourages anybody on a long-haul flight to take away footwear for consolation, and to assist their circulation.

Flight attendants don’t care, he says.

“We do it ourselves. I believe most individuals do it themselves. It’s the fitting factor to do for those who’re occurring a long-haul flight,” he says.

“One would hope that you simply’ve had the frequent decency to have a shower or a bathe and put clear socks or stockings or tights on earlier than you get on the plane. That’s the one challenge, in case your ft scent.”

Main provides that it’s well mannered, for those who suppose there’s an opportunity of ft odor, to “go to the washroom and do one thing about it.”

However flight attendants, he says, are extra apprehensive about passengers protruding their ft into the aisle.

“On an evening flight notably, for those who put your ft within the aisle and also you’ve acquired darkish socks on, we received’t see you, and we’ll journey over you, and it’s a little bit of a nuisance for us.”

If you happen to’re apprehensive about turbulence, Main advises that you simply attempt to sit close to the entrance of the plane.

“You would be standing on the entrance and really feel nothing, and down the again they’re bouncing everywhere – the plane strikes in another way down the again,” he explains.

If you happen to’re tall, reserving the emergency exit seat for the additional leg room could possibly be worthwhile, though Main says it’s price remembering “you possibly can’t put your luggage down at your ft or something as a result of it must be clear as an evacuation run.” Airways additionally generally cost further for seats with leg room.

Main’s private alternative on a long-haul flight is reserving a window seat.

“That’s purely preferential, I can lean up in opposition to the bulkhead, pull my head down and fall asleep. Whereas you possibly can’t if you’re within the aisle seats or the center seat,” he says.

The center seat isn’t enviable, but it surely’s maybe notably unappealing on an extended flight. Main reckons it’s price paying further for the aisle or window, particularly “if that you must sleep on the flight.”

Some passengers choose to watch movies on their personal devices, rather than the built in screens.

The way in which we eat TV and films has modified drastically over the previous decade, however inflight leisure has largely stayed unchanged.

Whereas many people nonetheless take pleasure in watching new film releases on board flights, it’s much less of a novelty than it as soon as was. Many passengers desire binging a pre-downloaded streaming present on a private gadget.

“Most individuals self-cater flights now in relation to leisure,” says Main.

Your individual units are additionally a very good back-up in case there are points with the in-flight leisure system, which Main admits “may not at all times be working.”

Flight attendants normally have handbooks that advise how you can function the inflight screens, however they’re not at all times in a position to repair the issue.

“There’s solely a lot we are able to do on the plane to kick it again to life if it begins to play up,” says Main. “There’s little or no we are able to do, aside from the standard scientific ‘flip it off, flip it on once more.’”

Most plane in the present day have USB charging sockets, however a transportable charger may additionally provide you with added piece of thoughts.

Main says in his expertise, crew aren’t paying an excessive amount of consideration to what you’ve opted to look at on board, however often he’ll touch upon a traveler’s alternative.

“We will use it as an ice breaker,” he says. “If I’ve seen a film and it’s good, it’s one thing to make use of to strike up dialog.”

Main does recall as soon as noticing a Enterprise Class passenger studying a ebook which included some graphic descriptions.

“The phrases have been fairly pornographic though I couldn’t see sufficient to comply with the thread,” Main says.

The person was studying the ebook fairly brazenly, and made no makes an attempt to cover the contents.

“I used to be fairly shocked,” says Main. “Turned out we have been taking a bunch of intercourse therapists to a convention.”

Completely, says Main.

“On most flights, individuals neglect that you simply get on the aircraft, you’re not going to eat for the primary hour, no less than – it’s in all probability going to be an hour and a half after takeoff earlier than you eat,” he says.

When you’ve got a well being situation like diabetes, bringing your individual sustenance is especially key. It’s additionally necessary to pack snacks for those who’re touring with youngsters.

Main has younger youngsters of his personal, so he says he can reply this query each as a father and as a flight attendant.

“If you happen to’re tense, your little one will probably be tense, it’s so simple as that. If you happen to’re burdened, and also you’re feeling anxious, your little one will probably be anxious,” he says.

Flight attendants are skilled at speaking youngsters and oldsters by the flying course of, Main provides.

“As a result of we’re simply typically very relaxed, we are able to calm them down in a short time,” he says.

When infants are crying, mother and father are panicking and different passengers are sighing, Main says he’ll at all times deal with the scenario in the identical method.

“I’ll be certain that it’s audible for everybody else to listen to, I’ll say: ‘Please don’t fear about it. Don’t fear about your little one crying. It’s serving to your little one rebalance their ears. It’s the one method they’ll do it, by screaming. We’ve all been youngsters, we’ve all cried, don’t fear about it.’ I’ll attempt to put the mother and father relaxed. By placing the dad or mum relaxed, we are able to hopefully settle the kid.”

Main says bringing favourite toys and blankets on the plane may also assist calm a toddler, because it helps the alien airplane atmosphere appear extra acquainted and comforting.

Some travelers find the prospect of long-haul flights daunting.

These with a concern of flying are, in Main’s expertise, apprehensive about one among two issues. Both it’s the “lack of management” and the “alien atmosphere.” Or it’s concern of the airplane crashing.

Some persons are reassured by Main strolling them by the mechanics of the plane – explaining that unknown engine noises are regular, or that air journey is usually very secure and there are a lot of fail-safes in place.

Others would moderately not know the ins and outs, they only want distracting. Main lately spent two hours on board a flight chatting with a nervous passenger within the galley, taking their thoughts off the scenario.

Even for many who aren’t typically afraid of flying, long-haul journeys current their very own set of stress factors that may drive individuals into panic mode.

Crying infants is perhaps considered as extra of an annoyance on a brief flight, however passengers can “freak,” as Main places it, in the event that they suppose that’s set to be their soundtrack for the following 12 hours.

Delays to any flights are irritating, however on longer flights, delays can all of the sudden hammer residence “the truth of distance and time,” says Main.

However Main says it’s necessary to keep in mind that “there’s at all times taxiing time constructed into the flight time.”

“You can also make up time on long-haul rather a lot simpler than short-haul,” he provides. “You’ll be able to decide up a very good half hour.”

Main’s by no means used an AirTag, however he understands the attraction – particularly for passengers who’ve handled a misplaced bag previously.

Though it’s a special story when he travels together with his household, Main says he normally travels carry-on solely, even on long-haul flights.

That’s much less as a result of he’s apprehensive about shedding baggage, and extra for ease and pace.

“Alone, I’ve acquired one bag that I can dwell for per week out of, it’s so finely tuned,” he says. “I fly with hand baggage solely so I can get by the airport as rapidly as doable.”

If you happen to’ve acquired a number of hours earlier than the following leg of your journey, it could possibly be price reserving a lodge room to atone for sleep, says Main, who additionally advises stretching your legs and strolling round as a lot as doable.

If there’s sufficient time to depart the airport and get some contemporary air, that’s price doing too.

Main is aware of what he’s speaking about, he as soon as did a mammoth journey with a number of airport layovers, “from Cairns – Brisbane, Brisbane – Sydney, Sydney – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi – Vienna, Vienna – Frankfurt, Frankfurt – [London] Gatwick.”

“Once I acquired off, I used to be practically lifeless,” he jokes.

The longest flight Main’s ever labored was round 14 hours. The longest scheduled flight at the moment in operation is Singapore Airways’ New York to Singapore flight, which lasts 18 hours and 40 minutes.

Australian airline Qantas is making ready to launch its extremely long-haul “Project Sunrise” flights, which might span upwards of 19 hours flying passengers from New York and London to Sydney, Australia. For flight attendants, Main says, that may contain working over intervals in extra of 24 hours.

“You’re lacking two nights of sleep,” says Main. “The influence of that we don’t absolutely perceive.”

It’s nonetheless early days, says Main, and these particulars have to be ironed out. However he sees extremely long-haul because the “evolution of flying.”

“We’ve acquired the plane to do it now, so we have to discover methods of doing it,” says Main. “And we are going to. There’s numerous work occurring to do this.”