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- Preparing for travel can be exhausting. Not only do you need to pack for your destination, you also need to pack supplies for the flight and for hanging around the airport.
- To get a better sense of what we should pack when traveling, we reached out to the experts: flight attendants.
- Michaela Rutherford and Justin Moyer have both served as flight attendants for American Airlines. They shared with us all the tips, tricks, and products that’ll make your next flight a breeze.
- Check out the 13 travel essentials you need for your next flight, according to two flight attendants, below.
Packing efficiently is an art. When it comes to the craft, there may be no one more experienced than a flight attendant. After all, their job requires them to travel constantly. They know airports like the back of their hands and they probably take more flights in a week than most people do in a whole year. So, when it comes to knowing what to pack to make airline travel easier, more efficient, and more comfortable, we trust them.
We spoke with two American Airlines flight attendants – Michaela Rutherford, who flew with American for a year, and Justin Moyer, who has been an attendant with the airline for three years – and asked them to share the products they can’t fly without. From accessories that make long flights more comfortable to beauty products that make sure they look refreshed by the time they land, they let us in on all the products and life hacks they rely on while they’re in the air – and in airports. Hopefully their advice will make preparing for your next flight a little easier.
Keep reading for 13 travel essentials you should always fly with, according to two flight attendants.
Hydrating eye gels
- Honest Hazel
The plane air drys your skin out so much, so it’s super important to moisturize. I love giving my skin a little spa treatment with a face mask or these under-eye gels when I get to my hotel in the evening. – Michaela Rutherford
Refreshing facial spray
We all know that flying dries you out. If your face is feeling less than moisturized, but you don’t want to use your hands to apply your favorite lotion to your face, a spray is an amazing alternative. No need to transfer airplane germs to your face via your hands. Kiehl’s is my go to for everything! – Justin Moyer
A personal carry-on bag
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Women’s Tote, $64.99 (usually $99.99) [You save $35]
It’s so great to have a purse or tote that gives you easy access to everything you need. Having a slip on the back of the bag is key so that you can loop it onto your luggage and not hurt your shoulders lugging it around. – Michaela Rutherford
Airport food is expensive and sometimes it’s hard to find healthy options, so bringing your own dry snacks that can go through security is a great idea. I love bringing oatmeal pouches for breakfast and getting free hot water from Starbucks when I’m ready to eat. – Michaela Rutherford
A portable charger
Every flight attendant owns a portable charger. Maybe you’re stuck in an airport and every outlet is being used, or you get to your seat on the airplane and realize that there isn’t an outlet for you to use. Keep your go-to device charged on the go. Long flights can be boring; make sure your portable entertainment never loses charge. – Justin Moyer
- Calpak Travel
Calpak Travel 5-Piece Packing Cube Set, $29.97 (usually $48) [You save $18.03]
Flight attendants basically live out of their suitcases and it’s terrible when they’re unorganized. I find packing cubes super helpful because you can have a different cube for shirts, shoes, chargers, toiletries, etc. and can just grab the cube you need. – Michaela Rutherford
An iPad or tablet
Apple iPad, $249 (usually $329) [You save $80]
I used to bring my big laptop with me every time I went on a trip and it weighed my bag down so much and was too big and bulky to use comfortably on the plane as a passenger. I got an iPad and it’s been honestly one of my best purchases! It’s so compact and perfect to use in the hotel and also you can download shows on Netflix to watch on the plane. – Michaela Rutherford
Fragrant toilet spray
Have to go? It happens! So be prepared, even when on an airplane. Your fellow travelers and flight attendants will thank you! – Justin Moyer
A spacious cooler
This one is kind of niche to flight attendants since passengers can’t bring liquids through security, but this lunch tote is perfect for packing meals to eat on your trips since we don’t always have enough time to grab food in between flights. You can fit enough food for three days and can use ice packs or ice from the plane to keep your food cold. – Michaela Rutherford
A reusable water bottle
S’well Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle, $32.95 (usually $35) [You save $2.05]
Bring the empty water bottle through security and fill it up while you’re waiting for your flight to stay hydrated. – Michaela Rutherford
An eye mask
Unimi Sleep Mask, $6.99 (usually $10) [You save $3.01]
Traveling is exhausting and an eye mask is so great. It’s helpful to sleep on the plane or even when your hotel room is too bright. – Michaela Rutherford
I always have alcohol wipes on me – ones that are safe for both surfaces and hands. They are the perfect germaphobe solution to TSA liquid restrictions. You can sanitize whatever surface you need to, and, if needed, they work great on your hands. These are the ones that both pilots and flight attendants use inflight! – Justin Moyer
A packable jacket
Packable down jackets are great because they squish down into a small bag to save you a lot of space when packing. Planes can be cold a lot of times so they are great to throw into your personal bag to have on hand. – Michaela Rutherford