Airport staff are the ones tasked with the unenviable task of dealing with the general public when it’s at its most stressed – before, during, or after air travel. And they have to do all of that with a smile to boot. Millions of people travel through airports across the world each year, and on occasion, their luggage will, unfortunately, end up damaged or lost. If you’ve ever wondered how that sort of thing happened, then our airport staff confessions will answer this, as well as many other questions passengers would like to ask them.
Single lines are always better
Ever notice how airports construct singular lines instead of multiple ones when you’re checking your bags? They do this because it gives us peace of mind. Think about it…
When there are multiple lines, we’re always anxious that we got into the wrong one, and that the other lines are certainly moving faster than ours. In a single line we don’t have that problem. We simply get to the front, and only then are we directed to the next available ticket agent.
Watching you sleep
It’s not just in the airport that staff watch you – the cabin crew enjoys looking at their passengers just the same. On a night flight there isn’t much happening, and one worker admitted that to entertain themselves they look at the faces of their sleeping passengers.
The cabin crewperson who made this confession admitted that they like walking up and down the aisle of their aircraft laughing at the people sleeping. If that sort of thing bothers you, maybe next time you sleep on a plane put a blanket over your face.
An offer you can’t refuse
Sometimes airlines overbook their flights, and that can lead to disappointed customers. If you aren’t in a rush to get to your destination, it could be in your interest to accept the airline’s offer to take a later flight.
You will typically be compensated with a voucher, and that can often be worth more than the value of your flight was in the first place. Sure, you’ll have to sit around the airport for a little longer, but you can essentially get this leg of your trip for free.
Don’t call too often
Dinging the bell to get the flight attendant to come to you is a contentious issue when you’re up in the air. Pressing it once is all that’s required, but some people expect their flight attendant to appear like some sort of genie to grant their wishes.
One member of the cabin crew admitted that if a passenger presses the call button more than once, then they make it a priority to be as slow as possible. It might be petty, but some people can be very impatient.
Get your bag first
If you check your bag into the plane’s hold, you could be waiting for what feels like an hour at the carousel to get your luggage back. There is a trick to make sure you can ensure your baggage is some of the first off the plane, though…
It just requires being a little sneaky. The later you check your bag in, the earlier it will come off the plane. Checking it in later means you can be the first out of the airport and into the line for a taxi.
Don’t drink the coffee
Another airport worker said there is a reason why the coffee on airplanes has got such a bad reputation. For a start, they don’t use fresh water, but that’s only the beginning. The water used to make onboard coffee comes from the drinking water on the plane, and its valve is very close to the waste disposal for the lavatory waste.
The airport worker says they are both serviced by the same guy, and sometimes at the same time, meaning there might be a little cross-contamination.
Don’t expect an upgrade
In the early days of commercial flights, it was not uncommon to find yourself getting a free upgrade courtesy of the airline. That’s really no longer a thing, and you can’t expect to be given anything for nothing anymore – we know, we’re heartbroken too.
There’s no need to dress up smartly, pretend it’s your honeymoon, or mention you know someone on the flight crew because it won’t get you anywhere. Your only real chance of getting a free upgrade is if you are a frequent flyer or you’ve already paid a premium price for your seat.
Aisle do it!
If you are able to book where you sit on your plane, then airline staff recommend you put yourself in the aisle seat. There are a number of reasons why, but the main one is that it’s probably the warmest part of the aircraft.
Sitting by the window can be particularly chilly as the cold air can leak through the window, but the aisle doesn’t get affected by that. The aisle also has more legroom, and you don’t have to climb over anyone to get out of your seat.
Don’t con the handlers
Baggage handlers deal with customer luggage every single day, so they know what they are looking for. Some passengers try to sneak their luggage onto the first-class cart to try and protect them from damage, but the handlers aren’t slow.
They recognize when someone uses a “priority” tag on their bag that didn’t come directly from the airline or airport. It gives handlers great satisfaction tearing these fake tags off people’s bags, so don’t expect it to work if you try it.
Sending you the wrong way
One airport worker confessed that they took great joy in sending people in the wrong direction if they were already running late. This is especially mean considering they’re probably guaranteed to miss their flight after heading the wrong way.
Airports are big places, so the worker was probably able to get away with the devious trick without getting into trouble. How likely is it that the lost passenger can pick the worker out in a crowd of thousands of people, especially when they are stressed about missing their flight?
Traveling on the cheap
People who work at airports get a discount on their travel costs, which means that when it is time for their vacation they can travel the world for a fraction of the cost we pay. Staff at airports have to put up with a lot thanks to rude customers and the pressures of getting people to their planes on time.
It seems only fair that there are some perks to their job and this is a big one that we are a little envious of!
Go for four
One piece of advice that people who work in airports think is useful has to do with the type of luggage you bring. They recommend using a case that has four wheels instead of just two to prevent you dragging it behind you.
Instead, you can place your bag in front of you and just wheel it wherever you are going. This has the added bonus of being more agile than two-wheeled cases, meaning you can negotiate your way through the airport quicker.
Checking in a bag means you can bring more stuff with you on your trip, but it’s not always the quickest way to get out of the airport. Mastering the art of packing lightly can really save you some time, and there is no risk that your bags are going to get lost either.
By making your luggage carry-on only, you are never separated from your personal items, which means you have peace of mind. Now, all you have to do is learn to make some tough packing decisions.
Charge up your life
If you have flown in the past few years, you will have noticed that most airlines no longer require you to have a physical copy of your tickets. Instead, you can use an electronic version of your boarding pass that is downloadable to your phone.
That makes your phone a vital piece of equipment to ensure you get on your flight. The worst thing that could happen is for your smartphone to run out of battery, so airport workers recommend that you always bring a portable charger with you.
Not knowing everything
One worker confessed that they are not the oracle of the airport, and they wished people would stop thinking they were. Just because someone works in an airport doesn’t mean they know how it all works and where everything is.
It seems that airport staff are sick of being asked questions by passengers because they don’t know what the answers are. This isn’t exactly the passengers’ fault though, because if they have a problem at the airport, they are going to turn to someone wearing a uniform.
Knew I should’ve taken that left turn in Albuquerque
You might think with all of the security checks in place that it is practically impossible for people to get on the wrong flight. Well, it isn’t, and one airline worker admits it does happen from time to time.
They said that two passengers traveling to Rome accidentally ended up in Reus, Spain. What was worse was that two passengers heading to Reus accidentally ended up going to Rome. It wasn’t until the plane had taken off that the error was spotted, but it was too late at that stage.
The truth about oxygen masks
We’ve all probably feared being on our flight and all of a sudden, the oxygen masks pop down in front of us, signaling a substantial change in air pressure.
Something you should know – not to scare you even more – is that those masks actually only allow oxygen flow for about 15 minutes before it runs out. Don’t worry, though, because this is actually plenty of time for the pilot to make sure they get the plane back to safer pressure levels.
How to sniff out a rat
Many staff at airports have been trained to analyze and interpret body language. These people are called profilers, and they closely watch your expressions to try and gauge whether you are nervous and trying to hide something.
Many people who fly are nervous, so it is their job to differentiate between those people and the people trying to actually hide something nefarious. They will usually start by asking a few questions, and if they suspect a person is lying, they will subject them to a screening process.
Not great for hygiene
Several airport workers decided to share some anonymous confessions several years ago using the Whisper app. One revelation was that on domestic flights, the baby changing table in the restroom is not cleaned between domestic flights. Back then, and perhaps even today, they only cleaned the baby-changing table after international flights.
That meant if people were changing their children on domestic flights, they were probably doing it on an unclean and unsanitary table. It makes you wonder if the baby-changing tables don’t get cleaned, what else doesn’t…
There are luckily very few incidents of violence at airports. This may be surprising when you consider how much people drink to calm their nerves before boarding a flight! Staff at airports are constantly monitoring us through special behavioral cameras that can check when someone is becoming too aggressive.
This allows airport security to swoop in before there is a major incident and diffuse the situation. Of course, the reason why they monitor everyone so closely is to ensure all of our safety, but it is a little creepy that we are always being watched so closely. The staff are thankfully discreet as we’ve never noticed being watched closely before.
If you can’t stand the heat…
The various kitchens in the airports don’t ever really get to shut down as they will have to begin cooking for the next round of hungry mouths to feed. There were an estimated 36.8 million flights last year, which means there were potentially 100 times that many passengers at a minimum, although there were likely much more than that.
That is a lot of food airports need to keep making as flights are generally around the clock these days. There are plenty of hungry mouths traveling through airports at any given time. We say thanks to these kitchens that are providing air travelers with enough energy to keep going.
Finding the happy faces
Airports are particularly gloomy places, especially in the departures lounge where most people have already been delayed. One of the airport staff confessed that they love nothing more than going to the arrivals to see the happy faces of the people meeting loved ones.
There is only really happiness here, and it was the perfect remedy for that airport worker if they had been having a bad day on the job. There isn’t much joy to be had at an airport, but this worker has found the silver lining.
With so many passengers passing through airports each and every day, there are a lot of hungry mouths to feed. Some airports offer a buffet, which means making a lot of food.
A staff member anonymously explained that there is a ton of waste in that situation that could go to feeding hungry people in the cities that the airports are based. However, because it’s the law, they can’t just give that food away and have to throw it in the trash.
The (not so) secret world of contraband
Airport staff like to try and dissuade people from bringing contraband through their airport – by any means necessary. Unbeknownst to many of us, there is a whole storage area in most airpots filled with contraband that has been attempted to be smuggled from one country to another.
Airport staff are fond of posting what they find from passengers online to try and embarrass people, in the hope that this will stop others from bringing banned items onboard their flights for fear of humiliation before the entire world.
If someone has been handling something they shouldn’t have, like illegal narcotics for instance, then specialized airport staff can examine their hands to figure out what exactly it is that they have been touching.
They will swab their hands with a wipe that gets put into a machine to analyze what it has come into contact with and can identify a whole range of illegal substances. If a suspected smuggler’s hands are a giveaway, then airport staff will make sure to check both their luggage and their body for contraband.
What ‘fragile’ sign?
They haven’t earned the nickname of ‘throwers’ without reason. Have you ever been traveling by plane and found your suitcase has been damaged? The likelihood is that it has been mishandled by a baggage handler.
Take a look at these guys; there are suitcases all over the place, and you can see that one is even in mid-air as the picture has been taken. Hopefully, there aren’t any breakables in that bag otherwise there could be a spillage to clean up.
The most profitable airport gig
The club lounge is a place many travelers like to pay a bit extra for to take them away from the hordes of people in the departure lounge of an airport. In paying extra for a little bit of peace and quiet, the club loungers often get their own bar to enjoy.
The staff who works at club lounge bars do very well in tips thanks to the usually high demand for their services. Some bartenders, in fact, have claimed they can earn up to $40 per hour in tips alone!
Rise of the machines
The luggage at an airport is sorted using an autonomous system, which means that your bags are sent to planes by machines. Therefore, at any given time airport staff don’t know where your bag is in the luggage system.
The automatic system is responsible for getting bags from check-in to departures, moving them from one area to another (connecting flights), and from arrivals to baggage-claim. They use the codes on the luggage stickers to allocate locations, which is why you should remove your old ones in case they get confused.
What’s good for the goose isn’t actually good for the gander
When you go to the airport you get treated the same as everybody else, you get screened to make sure you aren’t hiding anything and aren’t presenting a danger to anybody else. Seems fair enough.
The staff that work at airports do not have to be screened each time they enter the airport, which opens their positions up to potential abuse. There have been several incidents where airport workers have been smuggling illegal substances, so we have to question why they are allowed to get away without being screened.
Little chance of being starstruck
Many airports now have special entrances for the world’s rich and famous, so they don’t have to mix with the rest of us plebs. This is why you won’t often see a celebrity just chilling in the departure lounge – they have their own.
This VIP terminal is becoming more and more popular, and Los Angeles’ LAX has recently installed their own, following the trend set by other international airports. Mad yet? Wait until you find out celebrities are shepherded onto the plane before anybody else by a private car that takes them right up to the plane’s door.
Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’
As a general rule in life, if you want someone to help you out then shouting and screaming at them isn’t the way to go. The same rules apply when going to the airport and many workers admit that if you are being rude, they are less inclined to help you.
In fact, they might try to make your life more difficult, as one airport worker confessed to leaning on the scales with their knee to make a rude passenger’s bags appear heavier and to force them to pay extra for overweight luggage. Talk about payback…
The secrets of air traffic control
Many people will be aware that air traffic controllers aim to keep the planes in their airspace safely far enough away from other planes. What many people might not know is that these people also control more than just the planes in the sky.
They will control where they go when on the ground and are tasked with coordinating the lighting on the runways. One air traffic controller will have around five monitors to contend with and looks at things like the weather conditions and lots of information about the planes.
Lost, not found
If there’s one thing people fear the most about air travel, short of the plane exploding, it’s losing their luggage. We’ve all had that feeling when waiting at the baggage carousel for our bags and worrying that it’s just not going to appear.
There are a number of reasons why luggage gets lost, including the bag not being loaded onto the plane in time due to requiring additional checks, being placed on the wrong trolley and ending up somewhere else, or having the wrong sticker put on it and it again ending somewhere else.
The cryptic reason behind runway numbers
Have you ever been sitting on a plane and looked out the window to see giant numbers painted onto the runway? Maybe they’re the runway number? Nope! But they are an important aid to help pilots take off and land, though.
The numbers are between 01 and 36 to represent the degrees, where 09 is 90० representing east, 18 is 180° and south, 27 is 270° and west, and 36 is 360° and north. In other words, there may not be 36 runways at an airport despite it having that number painted on it.
A bad case of sticky fingers
We place a lot of trust in air travel and the people helping us get from point A to point B. We trust the pilots to fly safely and we trust airports to look after our bags. On top of that, we often travel with valuable items and hope that they come through just fine.
Sometimes, unfortunately, that trust is misplaced. There have been many occasions where airport staff have helped themselves to our items – many have been fired because of this. This has been especially noticeable around the holidays when travelers are visiting friends and relatives with expensive gifts in their suitcases.
We hope you groomed before leaving
This one is a little intrusive, and we’re just going to come out and say it. Security staff at the airport can see us without our clothes if they put us through a full body scanner. This scanner has the ability to see through our clothes and determine whether we are concealing anything like a weapon or any illegal substances.
This is for security reasons and helps to maintain our safety, so for many travelers, it is just something we have to accept. We might have to work out a bit more before we head to the airport next for our next flight, though!
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
When you arrive in another country, the first thing they will probably check is your visa. If this has expired, even if you are moving on to another country, they will instantly deport you.
So make sure your visa is always valid otherwise your trip could end up in disappointment. If you are refused entry into the country you have landed in, then you can expect the airline to pay for the ticket to take you back home, a small silver lining in an otherwise horrible situation.
Under lock and key
You might be forgiven for thinking that sticking a lock on your luggage means that no one will be able to open it. This is not true. Many airports will open passenger’s locks without them even knowing as they have special tools to do so discreetly, but there are other methods for entering suitcases.
Many can be opened just using a simple pen to separate the chain on your zip. Make sure you buy robust luggage if you want to prevent any unwanted hands in your bags.
Don’t pet – they’re working
There are many dogs that have been trained to check the bags that come through airports all over the world. They have been trained to sniff out any suspected illegal substance or explosives being smuggled in passengers’ bags and they are very good at their jobs.
Sometimes the dogs will even get to come out from behind the scenes and give everyone’s bag a good sniff in the customs lines. These pooches are an important part of safe air travel and our planes are made safer thanks to their efforts.
‘Duty free’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘cheap’
Everyone does this while traveling, so there’s no need to be ashamed. We all run straight for the duty free section of the airport at the first opportunity we get to stock up on tax-free items.
The only thing is, however, these items may have sky-high prices specifically for this reason. That’s right; just because the duty free shops are meant to be cheaper, doesn’t always mean they are. But yet, for whatever reason, people assume they’re saving big bucks and splurge there anyway.
Your missing stuff’s going on eBay
No one likes losing things at the airport. It becomes a real hassle and can completely ruin an already miserable experience. Thankfully, most missing items usually end up back with their rightful owners. Unfortunately, however, that is not always the case.
In fact, sometimes things like clothes and electronics may never be returned. Because airport staff knows this, they may raid the lost0and-found for things that’ve been sitting there a while and take them over to eBay. Yes, the employees may sell your stuff.
The thing about phones
Okay, so we know you’re wondering: why on earth do we have to shut off our phones during take off and landing on flights?! Well, the whole thing about technical malfunction is actually a myth.
However, phones can mess with radio signals and cause static, making it hard for the pilot to hear important things from the dispatcher. So please, just shut them off. You’ll survive the short amount of time without them. Flight attendants actually do ignore this rule quite often, though.
Celebrity chef restaurants aren’t as advertised
You might expect the celebrity chef-endorsed restaurants often found at airports to have something to do with the chef themselves. Due to airport restrictions, these restaurants are actually run by specialist airport restaurant companies, rather than any actual celebrity chefs.
It would probably be better if you want to taste the chef’s food to go to their actual restaurants rather than their airport versions. Don’t get us wrong – the meals might very well still be good… just not as good as in their actual restaurants.
The ‘golden hour’
Airport staff have admitted that there is a specific time period that they make the most money from store and restaurant sales. The moment from you get through security until the time you board the plane is that time.
More specifically, the first hour within that time frame is called “The Golden Hour.” The airport is aware that customers are a lot more “self-indulgent” in this period, and spontaneously ready to shell out money for all kinds of products.
To the left, to the left
Here’s another thing that airports are well aware of. The fact that most people in the world are right-handed. But some airports have gotten into the trend of making their hallways veer to the left, and placing the stores on the right hand side.
The overall effect places essentially forces the customers to see the stores on their right, and subconsciously be more likely to buy something. Next time you find yourself in that situation, try not to feel too manipulated.
Just some ‘light’ shopping
We all know it’s true. If we’re in a good mood, we’re more likely to buy things. For this reasons, airports have made it a practice to try and get us in the best mood as possible while waiting for our flight. But how do they do this?
One way is that they place the stores near big windows so that sunlight is always shining down on the stores. As a result, there’s always a “light” and “positive” atmosphere, and we’re a lot more likely to spend money.
The signs were all there
An airport expert named David Zweig wrote in a book that “very, very little in the style of an airport sign is arbitrary.” He’s referring to many things, but especially the font.
You might not think much about the font style when you look at the signs in airports, but apparently they only use three different ones: Clearview, Frutiger, and Helvetica. They are all sans serif fonts, and therefore they are all easily seen from far distances.
The tarmac’s in sight
Airport officials have also opened up about the traveler’s experience in regards to the tarmac. They’ve revealed that it’s no mistake that the planes are generally visible the moment you get out of security.
They do this purposely to accomplish a few things. They want to guide the traveler, and let them know they’re going in the right direction. They also do it to enhance the overall “airport” experience, reminding them that they’re about to catch a flight.
Covered in carpet
This is something that you probably never noticed, but when we tell you you’ll say, “Oh yeah!” The airport floors are covered with some sleek, hard surface – except for one place.
The gates are covered in carpeting, and there’s a very good reason for that. After going through all of the airport logistics, they want the traveler to feel at home when they get to their gate. The carpets give off a warm feeling, and allow us to “ease” into the airplane mindset.
Terrific Tuesday traveling
Only airport staff and well-seasoned travelers know the following fact: Tuesday flights are the cheapest. This is because the weekend is the prime time that most people travel, and therefore the prices are understandably jacked up.
Since Tuesday is smack dab in the middle of the week, they purposely make it less expensive to entice people. Listen, there’s a reason flying on the weekend is more convenient. But if you’re one who cares less about convenience, and more about saving a buck – Tuesday is your answer.
Hard work, little pay
Being an airport bag handler cannot be an easy job. The weather conditions alone can cause severe problems. Imagine being outside for long hours every day during the boiling hot Arizona summers or the freezing cold Chicago winters. It can’t be pleasant.
On top of that, they are lifting and tossing other peoples’ heavy belongings all day long. And, with all of this, they still don’t make much more than minimum wage. One perk, though, is that they get to fly for free, so maybe it’s worth it.
Toxic air levels
It’s not a huge surprise to learn that the air around an airport isn’t the cleanest. There are huge jets flying into and out of the airport pretty much every minute, which brings a lot of toxic fumes with them. When the planes are in the air they are actually running relatively economically…
But when they are being taxied to their gates and runways, the pollution is at its highest. Nasty chemicals found in the air surrounding airports includes carbon monoxide and ozone, which can both harm your lungs.
The ‘X’ means nothing
In the 1930s, the codes for airports were changed from two letters to three. That meant some airports had to come up with a new letter in their names. LAX is perhaps the best example of an airport with a character in its name that means nothing.
The “X” in LAX is only there to fill a gap as a requirement by the International Air Transport Association. The same goes for Portland International Airport, with the “X” in PDX standing for nothing at all.
Ignore the board
One of the first things you might notice when you get to the departure lounge of an airport is the flight information board. People seem to stand there for ages at a time waiting for the latest developments on their flights.
Did you know that you can just go and find a seat and not bother looking at the boards at all? You can just download a flight board app on your phone and keep up to date with the latest information from the comfort of your seat.
The ‘landing slot’ market
Trying to land a plane at a busy airport at a popular time costs a lot of money. Have you ever booked a flight and noticed that the price for the same flight on the same day, but at different times, can vary in price?
That’s because airlines have to bid against each other for their landing slots in the airport’s schedule. The more popular the time, the more airlines want it, and therefore, the more expensive it becomes. That’s partially why peak time flights are more expensive.
Don’t sweat the water
Most airports won’t let you take any water through the security scanners for safety reasons, but that doesn’t mean you need to shell out $5 for a bottle afterward. You can bring a completely empty water bottle through security and just fill it up when you get through security.
It helps to keep the price of your trip lower, and you can save that $5 to get yourself some sweet treats for your flight instead. Most airports have water fountains that will let you fill up your bottles for free.
You might remember the classic video game Tetris that required you to fit random shapes together at ever-increasing speeds. Being a baggage handler is an awful lot like playing that game, just in real life.
Baggage handlers admit that their jobs can sometimes feel as though they are playing the video game all day, except with a lot more violence. There is only a limited amount of space in a plane’s hold, so it takes strategic placing of the bags to make sure they all fit in.
Baggage handlers’ worst nightmare
Being a baggage handler is tough without passengers making things even worse for them. One of the biggest bugbears of baggage handlers is people who overpack their cases. It just means that they are going to burst open at an inconvenient time for the handlers.
The poor souls then have to try and cram everything back inside. They also hate it when people put their liquids near the outside of their baggage because they are going to explode and leak over absolutely everything in sight.
Be careful with duty free
Whether you think you’re getting yourself a bargain or not in the duty free stores, you could lose it all if you are getting on a connecting flight. You will still be required to pass through security at your layover destination.
Therefore, having large bottles filled with drink might not be the best thing. You could be forced to give it all away before passing through security, so make sure you check ahead before flying. If you can’t take it through, then you could have wasted a ton of money.
Bags go missing from time to time, and it seems there is nothing that can be done to stop that. Another issue for airlines is fitting all of the bags on their planes. Due to changes in weather and flight distance, fuel can be prioritized over luggage.
That means that the passengers will still fly, but there is no guarantee that all of the bags they checked beforehand will be coming with them as well. Instead, the luggage will have to be flown in on another flight at another time.
Glitches in the matrix
Flight ticket algorithms are complex, and at times they can go completely wrong. That means that customers are able to take advantage of super cheap tickets until the airline spots the mistake has occurred and promptly corrects it.
If you are lucky, you can take advantage of these errors and bag yourself a flight for a reduced rate while everyone else on your plane pays full price. There are websites dedicated to finding these glitches and informing people to help them save as much money as possible.
Drop it like it’s… heavy
Overpacking your bag is not recommended, and not just because it means you’re going to have to pay extra to get it on the flight. Baggage handlers believe that the heavier the bag, the more likely it is to get damaged.
The handlers have to lift your bags, and when they get an unexpectedly heavy one, accidents can sometimes happen. They are dropped more often, but there is one way you can combat this problem. Adding a “heavy” sticker to your luggage will at least give the handler some warning.
No special treatment
You might have bought yourself the latest luggage that looks super fancy, but that won’t mean it gets treated any better than the others. Some handlers have to load over 150 bags onto a plane in under 30 minutes, which means moving quickly.
Bags get thrown around a lot on their way into the plane’s hold, so don’t expect yours to get any special treatment. That means sticking fragile labels on your bags will do absolutely nothing to stop them from getting damaged.
Ask for more
If you are fortunate enough to get a meal as part of your plane ticket, don’t be shy to ask for some more. On some flights there are a certain number of meals that are cooked which no one is going to eat.
People have varied diets today, and not everyone is going to eat a meal due to their dietary requirements. If you are lucky enough to eat every food, highlight to an air hostess that you will eat their spare meals and get yourself a bigger dinner.
Don’t take any ice
For a similar reason not to have any water in your coffee, try and avoid asking for any ice in your drink while in the air. This ice is often made with the same water for the rest of the plane, which isn’t always the cleanest.
Not putting any ice in your cup also leaves a bit more room for your drink so you can get rid of the can and have more space on your tray table. The ice might be refreshing, but it can also upset your stomach.
The air is fresher at the front
If you struggle with the stale air on a plane, then make sure to book a seat closer to the front. The air for the cabin is pumped from the front to the back, so it will feel much fresher at the front than the back.
People who struggle with feeling sick on a plane may want to be as close to the front as possible. Not just because it’s quick access to the toilet, but also the air you breathe will feel much cleaner.
Turbulence is weakest over the wings
Turbulence is one of the biggest reasons why people choose not to fly. It can be terrifying when you’re minding your own business on your flight, only to suddenly feel like you are on a roller coaster.
The best place to sit on a plane to reduce the effects of turbulence is to find a spot over the wings. This is where the aircraft is most stable, and the see-sawing effect of the turbulence is least likely to be felt.
Fragile tags won’t work
Those who work handling the bags really don’t have the time to take extra care over your luggage, even if you stick a ‘Fragile’ tag on it. The tags simply won’t work, and you will find that your bag doesn’t get any preferential treatment.
In fact, this is just as likely to annoy your baggage handler and lead them to mishandle your pack, than it is to protect your contents. Try making your bag inconspicuous to avoid drawing any attention to it at all.
Make copies and screenshots of everything
It doesn’t hurt to be careful when traveling by plane, and that means taking care of your documents. Making copies of your documents could save you a ton of stress, and help you to avoid missing your flight entirely.
One thing that is annoying for people who work at airports is to wait for people to scroll through their phones looking for their boarding pass. Make a screenshot of it, to give you quick access and keep the line behind you moving swiftly along.
Wrap your bag contents
If you knew how long your luggage might be sitting outside in the rain for, you would make sure and waterproof it every time you fly. There could be a delay getting the luggage onto the plane, which can see it sitting on the runway for up to an hour while exposed to the elements.
One way you can ensure your clothes and stuff doesn’t get damaged is to wrap it in plastic before closing your case. This will also prevent thieves from taking a quick dive into your bag.
Airport therapy animals
It’s not all doom and gloom at airports, and some try their best to put a smile on their customers’ faces. Flying is a stressful time for those who are scared of it, and some airports make sure to have a therapy animal to ease people’s concerns.
Why would you even think about your plane falling out of the sky when you can stroke a happy little dog, or even a pig, at the airport? They lift your mood, take away your stress, and allow you to have a peaceful flight.
Birds of prey
One place you might not expect to find any wildlife is the airport. With all the loud planes taking off and landing, it might seem a little too chaotic for some animals.
That hasn’t stopped birds from nesting nearby, but that poses a real problem for pilots because they really don’t want them getting in their way. To prevent birds from flying into planes, expert handlers use birds of prey to scare flocks away and keep our plane engine free from danger.
It’s no secret that planes make a lot of noise, and they can be a real nuisance for people who live nearby. Most airports are in the middle of nowhere, but others are located close to people’s homes, and the noise is deafening.
The real problem is when planes are being taxied because their engines are still running. Residents near runways can have planes taxiing past their home every few minutes during the day, and it’s certainly no picnic living nearby.
If you are visiting an airport with more than one terminal, there may be a way for you to skip ahead of the security line if it’s super long.
They can sometimes be connected, so if the line for security in your terminal is long, you can go to the other and get through quicker. If the idea of being stuck in a TSA line for hours isn’t your idea of having a good time, you might appreciate this alternative.
One thing that can get annoying for people who work at airports is when customers just aren’t prepared and waste everyone’s time. Airport security isn’t fun for anyone, including the staff who have to work there for long shifts every day.
A simple way to make everyone’s life that little bit easier, and to help avoid standing out, is to empty your pockets before you enter security. Put your stuff in your bag to save getting it all out in the line, and lower the chances of setting the beeper off.
Lost and found
Not everyone brings a pocket knife everywhere they go, but for some people, it’s always in their pocket. If you don’t want to have to throw your pocket knife away because you accidentally brought it to the airport, there is a solution.
Hand it over to the lost and found office and then collect it when you return. It’s your knife so someone shouldn’t claim it, and it should still be there after a couple of weeks so you can pick it back up again.
People who work in the service industry get to see people at their worst. One thing that can be super annoying for people working at TSA is if customers don’t pick up their bin with all their stuff and move away from the x-ray machine.
It just prevents other people from being able to collect their stuff and keeps on backing the line further and further back. Most airports even have a place for you to stand while you put all your stuff back in your bag.
Bumping into old classmates
We should all be a little more sympathetic to the people who work at airport security. They have a tough job, and often they find themselves coming face to face with people they used to know in school.
While they are busy patting people down for hidden objects, their old classmates are jetting off around the world and having a seemingly much better time. People at TSA are just human too, so maybe we should all be a little more patient and cut them some slack for doing a tough job.
If you are flying from the European Union, there is a compensation clause in the aviation law that could see you make some money from a delayed flight. On flights that are delayed for at least three hours, passengers can claim compensation back from the airline.
While the airline might do everything within its power to prevent that three-hour delay from happening, if it does, you are entitled to money. So if your flight back to the States from Europe was delayed, look into getting something back for wasting your time.
This isn’t a secret, although many airports won’t broadcast it either. Lots of airports these days give their customers access to showers, and it could be the best thing to happen to you after a long haul flight.
Imagine you have been stuck on a plane for 12 hours, what is the one thing you want to do more than anything? It is probably to feel less sticky and try to remember what it feels like to not have plane dirt on you.
Wet wipes and spare clothes
Air stewards have seen it all when it comes to humans having problems, and one thing passengers are recommended to travel with are wet wipes and spare clothes. You never know when you’re going to become ill or have an accident, and wet wipes could really save the day.
These work especially well on flights where passengers have been sick but are stuck sitting in the same spot for seven more hours. The spare clothes will also help you to feel like yourself from the moment you change into them.
Check in early
It’s no longer a secret that airlines overbook flights to make sure they don’t lose out on any money by flying empty seats. That often means someone is going to miss out on their seat, but there is a way to safeguard yours.
If you check in as early as possible, then you’re probably not going to miss out on flying. Those who buy their tickets late, and don’t check in until the last moment may find they are asked to wait for the next flight as their seat is gone.
Always watch your bag
One thing that airport workers have learned is to always keep an eye on your bag, even going through security. Thieves operate just about everywhere in an airport, and even some of the staff can be light-fingered.
It pays to always have eyes on your property to ensure that no one is getting their hands on your stuff with you being there. These days TSA staff will have you open your own bag, so if you see someone opening yours, something isn’t right.
Patience is a virtue
When it comes to the end of the flight, air stewards can sit and wonder why everyone is in such a rush to get off the plane. As soon as the seatbelt sign goes out, people are out of their seats and collecting their things, but they still can’t leave.
You’ve already been on the plane for the entire flight, and a couple more minutes isn’t going to hurt. If you’re first off, then you just have the longest to wait for everyone else.
Where to lay your head
Some passengers are unfortunate enough to end up stuck in an airport terminal for hours. It can be difficult trying to find somewhere to grab a couple of hours sleep, especially at a busy time.
The website sleepinginairports.net has a breakdown of all the best places to try and sleep in airports around the world. It will also direct you to any shower facilities, luggage storage areas, and phone charging ports. The site also informs passengers of nearby hotels and how to access the WiFi.
Some airports will charge you several dollars just to use their trolley carts to transport your luggage. As if traveling wasn’t stressful enough, you now also have to pay to move your luggage around.
There are staff at the airports who are paid to round up all of the carts left by passengers and return them to the docking stations. If you have a scan around before heading into the terminal, you could save yourself some money by finding a trolley that someone in a rush has left behind.
Call the airline directly
It feels like the end of the world when you get to the airport only for your flight to be canceled. To save yourself some time and stress, there is a way to get yourself booked on the next flight and avoid standing in a line of 100 people.
All you have to do is call the airline directly, and they can book you on the next flight over the phone. This means you can jump the line of people and ensure your spot on the next flight out.
Backup phone charger
We need our phones more than ever at the airport, so we need them to have plenty of battery left. If you accidentally forgot to bring your phone charger, you can always swing by lost and found to see if they have any.
Asking for the one that’s a little bit frayed will make it sound more convincing that the charger is yours. People leave their chargers behind all the time at airports, and they often go unclaimed, or airline staff claim them after a while.
A place for reflection
Airports are busy places with thousands of people filling them up at peak times. If you struggle with the crowds, or just need somewhere peaceful to go, then there is always the airport chapel.
These places of worship are open to people of all faiths and are often the most serene place in the entire building. The chapel is an ideal place to just get away from it all, but you should remain respectful at all times because this is a place of worship.
You might assume that pilots and airline staff don’t care if your flight is grounded or not, but that’s not true. They only get paid for delays if the doors of the aircraft are closed.
If the delay occurs before people get on the plane, then the airline staff and pilots are also just wasting their time. That’s why engineers will often try their hardest to repair planes as quickly as possible, because they know it can be costing their colleagues precious earnings.
Pack for the weather
You might be heading from a cold country to a hot one and feel the need to bring your winter coat along for the ride. There is no need to have that jacket beyond the airport terminal, and airport staff recommend that people dress the weather in the country they are visiting.
It can be difficult enough to pack your case with everything you need, let alone a bunch of stuff you’re not going to use on vacation at all.
Eyeing up bags
There is more to airport security than meets the eye, and airlines might have staff stationed there looking for bags. If the plane is full, then not everyone is going to be able to bring their carry on luggage with them.
The first bags to go are the bigger hard cases, because they take up the most room. Airline staff may have already identified your bag from security as one they want to put in the hold, forcing you to go back and check it in.
Relying on doctors
This is quite scary because when there is a medical emergency on a flight, the call for any passengers who are doctors goes out. That means that while the staff may have basic first aid training, it doesn’t go much beyond that.
Medical emergencies on a plane can often lead to the aircraft being grounded because there wasn’t anyone on board to deal with it. That makes becoming seriously ill a scary thought as you might not get the help you need quickly enough.
Line up in first class
You might be too scared to even consider joining the first class line, but sometimes it might actually pay off. When the check-in staff are super busy, they may be so concerned with booking passengers on the plane they don’t care about first-class tickets.
One airline worker admitted that he just let anyone check in through the first-class desk because his team was so slammed they just had to process people. It meant people go to pass through quicker, and feel special for a few seconds too.
Soft bags for carry on
Airline staff won’t be shy in asking you to put your bag in the hold if the flight is full. They need the space in the overhead lockers, and if your bag is a bulky one, you can bet they will be eyeing it up.
One way to safeguard from having to put your carry on luggage in the hold is to bring a duffel bag. These bags can fit under the seat in front, meaning you won’t be asked to check it in at all.
Leave extra time for layovers
One piece of advice from airline staff that could ensure your luggage doesn’t go missing concerns layovers. They recommend leaving at least 2.5 hours between flights to ensure that your bags have had enough time to follow you.
If the time is less than this between flights, there is a good chance you won’t be arriving at your destination with your luggage. Instead it’ll be on a flight after, meaning you’ll have to come back to pick it up.
Avoid the pasta
One airline steward recommended that passengers stay away from any pasta option they are offered on their flight. The pasta dish tends to be either oily or greasy, which isn’t the best when you’re stuck on a plane.
The oily or greasy nature of the pasta may give you some gas or a bad stomach while flying, which isn’t really what you want. If given the option, avoid the pasta and go for something that is going to be digested a bit easier at 30,000 feet in the sky.
Stay seated at the gate
If you are seated comfortably at your gate and are flying economy, then it might be worth hanging around in your seat a bit longer. Instead of standing up and joining the line like everyone else, just enjoy sitting for a bit longer as everyone else worries about getting on the plane.
You can relax a little longer and wait until the line has thinned out to just a few people. It’s just one more way to help take the stress out of flying.
Airplanes can’t take off in all weather
Despite people’s complaints, airline staff say there is a reason why planes don’t fly in all weather. While some argue that they are just being delayed for no reason, there is actually a very important reason why some of our flights get grounded.
Planes cannot fly in any condition, and to do so in stormy weather would be putting everyone’s lives in danger. So the next time your flight is delayed because of bad weather, be grateful that you aren’t flying in it.
Layovers can be cheaper
There is a flight booking hack which may save you money. Sometimes a flight further away might have a layover where you actually want to go, and these flights can be cheaper than going direct.
What’s even better is that these flights are often less expensive because airlines want to fill the layover flight. It just means you don’t board the second leg of your journey. Most people see layovers as a bad thing, but not if the stop is your actual destination.
Disclaimer: Some photos may be stock images used for illustration purposes only. The people or places in these photos are not to be associated with the article.