American flight attendant Kristie Koerbel has shared her advice after two decades in the industry. Photo / 123rf
At first, the life of a flight attendant seems glamorous. Sure, there will be some challenges (stubborn passengers, red-eye flights, tough sleep schedules), but it’s worth it for getting to jet around the world, see new places and meet fascinating faces.
What many flight attendants (and the rest of the world) wouldn’t have pictured is their career during the time of Covid-19.
In the words of American flight attendant Kristie Koerbel, who has worked in the industry for two decades, “if 9/11 changed how we board planes and enter airports, Covid-19 changed the experience on the airplane all together,” she wrote for the New York Times.
While travel is ‘good for the soul’, Koerbel said, how it works has changed, and travellers need to adapt.
Fortunately, there are some ways you can travel smart.
Download the airline app
It may seem like just another app on an already busy phone, but these platforms can provide important information relating to your flight.
Instead of having to wait in a queue or on hold for information, you can check-in, track your luggage, locate where your plane is and be updated on your flight all from your phone.
Leave early, maybe arrive on time
Heading away for a cruise? Or perhaps you’re catching a flight to catch a family wedding, large concert or other major events? No matter what it is, if it’s a crucial event you can’t postpone, plan to arrive at the destination a day early.
If your flight goes smoothly, you can enjoy a day of vacation wherever you arrive; enjoy a stroll around the city or have a slow morning. If it’s delayed or cancelled, you can rest easy knowing you’ll still make that important event on time.
Direct is best
The logic here is simple; the fewer flights you have to catch, the lower the chance of getting stuck in an airport due to a delay or cancellation. In addition, in Koerbel said “a one-hour layover is not enough anymore. Thirty minutes, not a chance.” Instead, a good three hour between flights is recommended.
Early birds get the worm (and the flight)
A 6 am flight may seem like a drag, but the lower chance of delay or cancellation may be worth the early alarm. Not only is the risk of a weather event or air traffic lower in the morning, if your flight is disrupted, you have a better chance of being rebooked for a flight on the same day.
Check your bag before you check your bag
Ensuring your suitcase isn’t over the weight or dimension limits before heading to the airport is a win-win. Not only will you avoid eye-watering fines but you’ll avoid being ‘that traveller’ who holds up everyone else in the check-in line or on the plane as you try to stuff your oversized bag into the overhead lockers.
We know, it’s cheesy but it’s an important reminder. From baggage handlers to senior pilots, flight attendants and airport staff, everyone is working hard to get people where they need to go.