5 Special Types Of Airline Pilots Every Flight Attendant Will Fly With

In reality pilots around the world aren’t always like the ones we see in the movies. They are normal people just as they are weird with their distinct personalities. There are the strict ones as well as the funny and relaxed ones.

We found this great post on the types of airline pilots every flight attendant is bound to fly with. Read it in the spirit of humor. For our dear pilots, no offense is intended.

Five Types Of Airline Pilots You’re Bound To Fly With

Pilots in Simulator; Pilots on flight deck; Female Co-Pilot; Male African-American Pilot; K66420-03
Pilots in Simulator; Pilots on flight deck; Female Co-Pilot; Male African-American Pilot; K66420-03

The Slob

This guy’s beer belly is hanging over his baggy uniform pants, whose only saving grace is the tattered belt. His shirt is wrinkled, half untucked, and graced with a coffee stain reminiscent of Day 2 of his 4-day trip. He may or may not be wearing white socks under his scuffed black regulation shoes. He is always eating, usually donuts or snacked nabbed from the First Class snack basket without asking. Standard briefing: “Coffee, 10 creams, 15 sugars.” Flight bag: Falling apart, decorated with Harley Davidson stickers.

 

The Military Type

This flight deck officer stands up straight even when “at ease,” maintains a stern countenance and is only comfortable when he’s barking out orders. If he’s not a captain, he will upgrade at the first chance, often eschewing a quality line in the right seat so he can sit in the left. If his company mandates the wearing of hats, you can bet his is low and tight on his head, per regulations exactly. He’s almost certainly carrying a firearm, ready at a moment’s notice to defend his aircraft. You could cut through glass with the crease in his uniform shirt. Rumor has it there’s a reward offered if you ever catch him smiling. I flew with one once who complained about having to wear a uniform instead of his old military flight suit. Standard briefing: A 15-minute detailed monologue encompassing every aspect of standard operating procedures outlined by the company. Flight bag: Covered with USAF and union stickers. If he flies a widebody jet, he may also display equipment stickers (B767, B747).

 

The Dude

This mellow guy is one of the favorite few. This pilot thinks nothing of reporting for duty sans hat, no matter how crazy this makes the Military Type. He’s less concerned with following rules than he is about making work fun. He is vigilant about what matters (safety) and chill regarding everything else. This type is in the industry for one thing: the time off, which he typically spends chasing the good surf waves around the globe. One of my “Dude” pilot friends takes off the entire months of February and July to ski, in Tahoe in the winter and Chile in the summer. Standard briefing: “We’re in this together. Just let me know what I can do for you.” Flight bag: Stickers from everywhere cool that he’s been, from the Maldives to Nepal.

 

The Disappearer

This pilot shuts himself in the cockpit at first opportunity. Not one for small talk, this guy has no time nor inclination for acknowledging fellow crew. One could hypothesize he’s been burned by a flight attendant before. You don’t hear a peep from him. He never asks for anything, ever, even a bathroom break on a transcon. After the flight, he’s off the airplane and halfway up the jetway before the first passenger has a chance to deplane. Standard briefing: “Everything standard.” Flight bag: No one has ever seen his flight bag, except perhaps as a blur up the jetway.

 

The Nerd

Long before smart phones, there were smart watches. They were huge and could calculate fractions and show you the weather at your destination. All the cool pilots had them. At least, so the Nerd types thought. The ones who really do use pocket protectors. They’re the ones on their layovers splitting the crew’s bill down to the penny and then stiffing the server. Need a quote from section 121.24.2 of the FARS? This is your go-to guy. If he’s having an off day and can’t recall the exact verbiage, no worries! He’s undoubtedly got an app on his phone to pull it up. Standard briefing: Nobody’s ever been able to get through the whole thing without glazing over. Flight bag: Standard issue, unadorned. Full of protractors and spare duct tape.

 

Which of the five types of airline pilots did you fly with today?

7 Of The Worst Airline Business Class Products I have Flown

Some airlines have really pleasantly surprised me, while others have disappointed me. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of some of the worst business class products I’ve flown. Let me start by saying that this is inherently subjective, and I’m not suggesting that the below products are actually the world’s worst.

With that in mind, here are some of the business class flights I’ve taken that I didn’t love. Let me once again emphasize that this is based on the specific flights I took, and in many cases the experience you have on the below airlines may be different.

Azores Airlines A310 business class from Boston to Ponta Delgada

Okay, we’ll start with the absolute worst. As an aviation geek I was excited about flying an A310, but that was about the only redeeming quality of the product. The food was pretty bad, drinks were served in plastic cups, the flight attendants weren’t friendly, and the cabin was so poorly maintained that the legrest barely stayed up, there was virtually no seat padding, etc.

On top of that, there’s no individual IFE, and also no power ports. Flying Azores Airlines is cool for the ability to do a stopover in the Azores enroute to other points in Europe, and for their great business class fares, but that’s about it.

Ukraine 767 business class from Kiev to New York

To start, the flight was delayed by about four hours, which is no fun when you have a connecting flight afterwards. Ukraine’s 767 business class is more like premium economy, but then again, it’s also quite reasonably priced. While the crew was friendly enough, the seats were insanely narrow, the power ports didn’t work, the pillow and blanket were tiny, the food was bland, and the cabin felt oh-so-outdated. While the product is reasonably priced, personally I’d rather fly premium economy on an airline with wifi, decent entertainment, and/or power ports.

ukraine-business-class-767-2

ukraine-business-class-767-30

Pakistan 777 business class from Manchester to New York

You know you’re in for a fun flight when the cabin manager makes an announcement after takeoff proactively apologizing that many of the seats and entertainment are broken, and that they’re working on updating their fleet with more modern products. Drinks were served in plastic cups, all the cutlery was plastic, food was presented in aluminum trays, there were no menus or amenity kits, etc.

Pakistan-Business-Class-777 - 7

Pakistan-Business-Class-777 - 44

However, the crew was friendly in general, and the one part of the meal that was memorable was the delicious Pakistani dessert.

Pakistan-Business-Class-777 - 47

China Eastern 777 business class from Los Angeles to Shanghai

Talk about an airline that has potential. China Eastern has reverse herringbone seats on their new 777s, though unfortunately that’s where the positives end. On my flight the pilots were constantly smoking, the food was really bad, and the crew wasn’t up to the standard I’ve found on other Chinese airlines, like Hainan and Xiamen.

Saudia 777 business class from Colombo to Jeddah

Funny enough I’ve had great experiences on Saudia since then, but my first flight on them was from Colombo to Jeddah, and was awful. After takeoff, the male flight attendants sat down in business class and had the female “imported” flight attendants do all the service, including serving them ahead of paying passengers. Unbelievable…

Uzbekistan 787 business class from New York to Tashkent

The flight wasn’t actually terrible, though there’s something about the whole experience that made me a bit sad. Uzbekistan Airways invested a lot of money in new 787s, though completely dropped the ball when it comes to the soft product. The blankets and pillows are terrible, entertainment extremely limited, and there are no menus and amenity kits. As a point of comparison, AZAL Azerbaijan’s 787 business class product is significantly better, despite having the same seats.

Investing a little bit of money in their soft product would go a long way, in my opinion.

British Airways A380 business class from Los Angeles to London

While I’m not a fan of British Airways in general, the first longhaul flight I had in their business class featured one of the worst flight attendants I’ve had on any airline. To say she was unpleasant would be an understatement. I’ll leave it at that.

British-Airways-A380-Business-Class - 1

British-Airways-A380-Business-Class - 50

Bottom line

In my opinion there aren’t many business class products that are worth avoiding if they fly nonstop between useful city pairs. For example, if you’re going from New York to Kiev, flying Ukraine’s not-great business class product might be worth it for the convenience.

At the same time, if you need to connect anyway, you might as well pick a good airline. I’m not suggesting the above are the world’s worst business class products, but rather just airlines on which I’ve had not-great experiences. This is all highly subjective, since at the end of the day I’d take any of the above products over an intra-Europe business class product, where you just get an economy seat with a blocked middle.

What are some of the worst experiences you guys have had in business class?

The truth about ‘Airline Pilots’ and alcohol: the risks and the rules

Plenty of professionals in stressful jobs enjoy a drink. Some will occasionally binge, and small proportion may become alcohol dependent. But the risk to life and limb presented to the public by, say, a drunk journalist or lawyer is very low, providing he or she doesn’t do something daft such as driving. At the other extreme, bus and train drivers, ship’s officers and airline pilots are responsible for many lives.

The truth about Airline Pilots and alcohol the risks and the rulesSeveral incidents involving pilots alleged to have reported for duty while drunk have occurred recently, leading readers to contact The Independent to ask about the prevalence, the risks and the rules on pilots and alcohol.

What are the risks of alcohol to a pilot’s ability to fly safely?

Flying an aircraft is a profoundly demanding job. Pilots are trained to perform the highly complex tasks necessary to get the plane into the sky, navigate safely to the destination and land. These procedures demand formidable cognitive ability, conformity to a plethora of international and national regulations and a constant sense of “what if …?” — preparedness for unexpected events from a sudden depressurisation to a medical emergency on board. The workplace is exceptionally small and cramped by the standards of ground-based work, and the hours involved are often antisocial and involve crossing multiple time zones.

Alcohol and aviation do not mix, whether you are a passenger or a pilot, and indeed the effects of alcohol can be intensified at altitude.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says: “The majority of adverse effects produced by alcohol relate to the brain, the eyes, and the inner ear — three crucial organs to a pilot.

“Brain effects include impaired reaction time, reasoning, judgment, and memory. Visual symptoms include eye muscle imbalance, which leads to double vision and difficulty focusing. Inner ear effects include dizziness, and decreased hearing perception.”

What does the law say?

Every country makes its own rules, but the basic rules typically stipulate a significant gap — often eight hours — between the last alcoholic drink and reporting for duty. This is often called the “bottle to throttle” time. In addition, most nations impose a limit below the legal blood-alcohol maximum for driving.

Is there a typical set of circumstances in which pilots are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol?

Looking at a number of incidents, it appears that the most common time that a pilot is suspected of being drunk is after a night-stop away from base. In some circumstances there may be a culture among crews of drinking while away from home, perhaps as a reaction to boredom or loneliness.

What methods are used to detect pilots who infringe the rules?

At present, a typical scenario is that ground staff or fellow crew members suspect that a pilot may have been drinking and either challenge him or her or report their fears to the authorities.

Some jurisdictions, and individual airlines, carry out random alcohol and drug spot checks on staff (including cabin crew, who, like pilots, are safety-critical). After the Germanwings crash in 2015, in which the first officer deliberately flew the aircraft into the French Alps and killed all 150 on board, European safety regulators have been calling for such testing to be mandatory. But many pilots oppose this, saying it would be unhelpful and intrusive.

How often does alcohol contribute to accidents? 

It is difficult to say, because a typical plane crash involves a whole sequence of events that combine to create danger. A survey of light-aircraft fatal accidents conducted by the Forensic Toxicology Research Section of the FAA (going back, it must be said, to 1993), shows that alcohol above the 0.04 blood-alcohol limit for pilots was found in about one in 12 cases.

But the figures for passenger aircraft are very different. Dr Rob Hunter of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), says: “The data suggests that there is not a problem of drug and alcohol misuse in large commercial air transport operations.”

Passenger planes crash far less frequently than light aircraft, so it is impossible to come up with any kind of percentage, but in two fatal accidents in Russia in 2011 and 2012 drunk pilots were held to be partly responsible.

Shouldn’t flight crew simply be banned from drinking? 

The FAA says: “Alcohol avoidance is as critical as developing a flight plan, a good pre-flight inspection, obeying air-traffic control procedures, and avoiding severe weather.” It notes that the effect of a hangover can continue for 48 to 72 hours following the last drink, degrading cognitive and psychomotor abilities.

Yet aviation is a social profession; most pilots are thoroughly responsible individuals; and an outright ban could have the undesirable effect of persuading some pilots to drink secretly, rather than openly in company.

Indeed, openness is probably the best key to reducing the risks in the long term. A leading aviation safety expert says: “In the Netherlands, an excellent programme exists called ‘anti-skid’. The system is run by the pilot association together with professional alcohol help groups and the co-operation of the employer. The idea is to get the pilot off-line and into help without him or her losing their job. It requires delicate work but it does help the small number of pilots that get into trouble with alcohol or substance abuse.”

Why do airlines close the blinds on daylight flights?

This conundrum is proposed by T. Denham, but it’s not universal.

Apart from take-off and landing, when raised shades are obligatory, some airlines request window shades down during daylight, but no airline has the right to require it..

It seems to be an increasing trend for cabin crew (not just on BA) to come round and close the window blinds on longhaul daytime flights – am I the only one who likes to fly in daylight on a daytime flight?

I appreciate people may be connecting from far away and be jet lagged and want to sleep but certainly in Business they give out eye shades, and with better seat back TV entertainment “light pollution” on the screen is not so much of an issue.

And then especially on the BA Club World seat I find the seat lighting over your shoulder to be really inadequate for working if it’s a night flight or all the blinds are drawn. (I wish BA would address this).

I’ve noticed cabin crew getting more vehement if I politely remonstrate and say I want to keep the blinds open.

I hate it when I fly to the East Coast of the States on a daytime flight but all the blinds are down. If you’re flying over Greenland or Baffin Island it’s fascinating to look out – much better than watching “How I met your Mother” for the 100th time. I also just find it less claustrophobic if there is daylight – and isn’t it better for jetlag, especially flying westbound?

Sorry, just having a rant but am I just being selfish, or are there others who agree (or vehemently disagree) with me?- WhendersonWhy-window-blinds-plane-up-landing-833322

Blinds closed is more likely to prevail on long sectors, especially on an overnight flight travelling in an easterly direction.

Darkness might last only four to five hours and closing the blinds beyond that timeframe makes it easier to sleep.

Even when we board a flight feeling perky, there might be others who have just transferred from a red-eye and need sleep.

A darkened cabin also makes it easier to watch your video screen. During mealtimes it is only reasonable to open the shades to see what you’re doing, but shades down is democracy in action, the tyranny of the majority.

Find Airline Mistake fares: How to Snag the Ultimate Cheap Flights (Before Anyone Else Does)

How to Snag the Ultimate Cheap Flights (Before Anyone Else Does)When I’m looking for cheap places to travel I will usually do this: I’ll research a destination I’m interested in and then simply search for cheap flights on Momondo or Skyscanner

But lately I’ve followed another approach: I’ve let the cheap flight deals come to me instead.

If you’re as crazy about finding cheap flights as I am then you may already know of this service, but if you’re not aware of Scott’s Cheap Flights I highly recommend becoming a subscriber.

It’s a mailinglist service that regularly sends out incredible flight deals. The best part is that these are not ads or paid promotions from airlines, but they’re simply great hidden deals that you probably wouldn’t find if you were just searching for them yourself.

What is Scott’s Cheap Flights?

The team behind Scott’s Cheap Flights spends endless hours every day trying to find hidden promotions and error fares, then send you alerts when they’ve found a sweet deal.

I’ve been subscribed for a little while now and I regularly get incredible e-mails like this:

Return flights from Amsterdam to Guatemala for 228 EUR? Be still my beating heart!

Here are a just few other recent deals I got:

As you can see, some of these flights are eye-poppingly cheap. Others are like 30 – 40% below the normal price, which is still pretty darn amazing!

In case it’s too small to read, these deals include return flights from London to Costa Rica for just £269 (!), and direct return flights from Europe to US & Bangkok in the €300s (!!). (Keep in mind these are just some examples from Europe as that’s what I’ve set my alerts to, but you can get flight deals from anywhere in the world.)

So why are these flights so cheap?

Well, a lot of these opportunities simply come from airlines trying to fill seats with special offers. But in some cases they may also be so-called error fares, which are mistakes is the reservation systems that led to accidental low fares. With error fares it’s recommended to wait at least a couple of days to make sure the airline will honor the low price, but they usually do.

You can get some alerts for free by signing up at Scott’s Cheap Flights. You can also sign up for a paid annual subscription, which gets you more deals that free subscribers don’t get. It also lets you select which airports you want to fly out of. (This post is not a promotion, by the way. I’ve just used the paid subscription myself and want to tell you about it.)

Since I’m based in Portugal I’ve set my airports to Lisbon and Porto (of course), but also added Madrid which is relatively close by, plus Amsterdam (where my family lives) and London (where I used to live and which is always a nice hub to fly into). If you enter at least a few good starting points, you’ll get a lot of interesting deals, which you can combine with cheap flights from budget airlines like Easyjet or AirEuropa (if you’re in Europe) to complete the itinerary.

Being a subscriber of this list feels like having a personal assistant scour the web for the latest deals.

Since Scott’s Cheap Flights is funded through the paid subscriptions (and not through advertising) the tips are always totally independent and include any and all airlines.

What’s the catch?

There has to be a catch, right?

Well, yes… kinda.

You have to be able to decide fast, as these deals tend to disappear in a few days.

Usually you also need some degree of flexibility. Flights might depart from a distant airport or require a stop at someplace weird. The error fares sometimes force you to backtrack, e.g. head east before heading west, which may feel a little counter-intuitive.

But if you can live with a longer journey time (sometimes just a few hours more) then you’ll surely not mind paying peanuts for these tickets.

What can be annoying sometimes is that the alert will tell you the cheap tickets are broadly available between, say, February and April (and it will give you an example link to Momondo), but when you search for them yourself they are nearly impossible to find. Getting the flight you want can require a bit of patience.

What about Secret Flying?

Another popular deals and error fares website is Secret Flying. They often have some of the same deals (I’m sure they’re often copying each other).

I recommend both of these sites though I prefer Scott’s Cheap Flights because it sends you emails, while I always forget to check Secret Flying. By the time I see something on Secret Flying, it’s usually already gone!

Scott’s Cheap Flights has 100,000+ subscribers at this point so it’s by no means a secret (and neither is Secret Flying), but if you book quickly you can snatch up those cheap tickets before anyone else will.

5 Travel Hacks You Didn’t Know About, Right From The Mouth Of Flight Attendants

From getting to the airport on time, to making sure you don’t have liquids over two ounces, to the great unknown of who will be sitting next to you on the plane, flying is not always the most luxurious experience (unless, of course, you’re flying in a private jet or first class). But you may not even have to upgrade in order to get a more comfortable experience, according to theseflight attendants of Reddit who’ve revealed secret perks most passengers don’t know about. Now I almost wish I had a flight scheduled sometime in the near future, so I could try one or all of these out. Almost, but not quite.The dreaded destination why foreign flight attendants dislike travelling to and from India

Probably the most shocking travel hack I ever learned is that you are allowed to carry mini bottles of liquor onto a plane (as long as you’re of the legal drinking age, obviously). I may never put it to use because getting drunk on a plane sounds like you’re just asking for the worst hangover ever, but it’s still good to know. Another semi-useful liquid-related travel hack: you may be able to bring frozen liquid in your carry on, apparently, as long as it’s literally frozen solid. Not sure I would want all that ice melting all over my stuff at the gate, but if anybody can confirm this actually works, I would love to know.

Here are my 5 favorite travel hacks from the Reddit thread, which you can read in its entirety here.

1. One way to beat the competitor’s prices

Okay, so this one isn’t from a flight attendant per se, but I still find it funny even though I’m not sure I would recommend it — pissing off the crew probably isn’t the best way to start out your journey. But, I mean, do they really expect us to pretend like we never fly any other airlines?

2. Some in-flight fanciness

I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT AIRLINE THIS IS. What fancy-pants airline has the capability to steam milk, let alone carry actual milk? Whichever one you are, I will hunt you down, I will find you, and I will drink your gourmet coffee.

3. In case you need wiggle room

Okay, this is game-changing right here. It’s just a hassle to move my soda, perch it precariously on my seat, stash my book somewhere, and put up my tray table every time I have to go to the bathroom. Why did nobody tell me until now that there was an easier way?!4. Seriously, everybody should do this

Can confirm, I gate check all the time — that way I don’t have to struggle with lifting my heavy bag into the overhead bin. I also don’t have to worry I’ll forget my stuff on the plane. It’s a win-win. Seriously, I don’t understand why more people don’t volunteer to do this.

5. Not a hack but definitely something we should all do anyway

Truth be told, there probably aren’t many “magic secrets” to flying (and I assume one of the reasons this thread was rife with more Mile High Club jokes than actual tips), because the flight attendants’ job is to get you from point A to point B safely, not to give you a bunch of free stuff.

10 Pro Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

10 Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

Don’t forget these travel tips as your pack for your next business trip.

For those of us who travel for work, we’ve come to expect that certain things are bound to go wrong from flight delays to long airport security lines and luggage mishaps.

To prepare for this article, I spoke to several expert travelers who clock in at least 25,000 miles or more each year for tips and tricks to make your trip more enjoyable.

On my last flight, I asked my flight attendants who didn’t want to be named if they had any tips.

Let’s just say, they had lots of suggestions for fliers including:

1. Have all your travel items in hand.

Make sure you have all of your items like your headphone and magazines in hand so you aren’t holding up the boarding process.

2. Don’t check your luggage.

Flight attendants also recommend not paying to check a carry-on, but instead to wait until you can check it at the gate. This way, you know your luggage will make it to your final destination.

3. Something will always go wrong.

Flight attendants also said that many people need to prepare for something to go wrong because it almost always does.

4. Give yourself time.

Fliers are more in control than they think, like leaving themselves at least an hour and a half to get to the next gate if you are taking a connecting flight.

5. Goodies for the flight attendants.

“Bring something for the flight attendants–chocolate, a snack, anything small and nice, just to say thank you,” said Lowell M. Aplebaum, Executive Consultant in Silver Spring, Maryland.

6. Don’t miss your connections.

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency in Reston, VA said, “Many of us road warriors don’t talk to seat-mates. We haul out our laptop, book, work, or noise reduction headphones. I say, “Keep your antenna up for a warm smile.”

“If your instincts tell you this is an intriguing person, ask a simple question like, “Heading home or on business?” Their response (both the content and tone) will let you know if this is a conversation worth continuing.”

“I’ve met astronauts, inventors and fascinating individuals as a result of reaching out when the vibes are right,” she added.

7. App to relax.

The Brainwave app by Banzai for noise reduction, stress relief and better sleep on planes is something Brian Carter, CEO of the Brian Carter Group in Charleston, SC, swears by.

He also recommends, “not to unpack at the hotel, until you’ve checked out everything in the room.”

8. Join the club.

One piece of advice by frequent fliers is to invest the money for the club lounge membership. The bonus is it is also a tax deduction.

“Keep the phone numbers of any “loyalty desks” programmed in your contacts,” Lawrence Leonard, Executive Director of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

“If seriously delayed or canceled, call the desk immediately, don’t go stand in line,” he said.

Other advice that I heard was to use the same hotel chain to build up loyalty points, Marriott and Hilton and W Hotels seem to be among the favorites.The same goes for picking one airline to accumulate miles and rewards.

Luggage favorites include brands like TravelPro and Tumi and travelers recommend getting bright colored luggage that won’t get lost in the sea of black suitcases.

9. Pre-Check yourself.

Getting Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check was the number one tip to get through security the fastest.

The time to get to the airport seems to be a topic of great debate with some saying they always catch the first flight to avoid delays.

Garrison Wynn of Wynn Solutions in Houston, TX, says, “I travel many more than 30,000 miles per year and catching flights after 3:00 pm makes a huge difference. The airport literally has half the people in it then it does at 9am.

Fewer delays, airport employees in better moods and more willing to help, weather is more likely to clear up and you have a better shot at upgrades,” he said.

‎Carla Balakgie the Chief Executive Officer of the National Automatic Merchandising Association said, “If you are going on an international flight buy what you need at your destination, instead of taking everything with you.”

10. Roll with It.

“Roll everything.” And, she encourages female executives to “bring solid color clothes and pack a few scarves – they are interchangeable and can make your outfit look more polished,” she added.

For international travelers, do the research and understand how to communicate and persuade effectively across different cultures. The Hofstede Model is a tool many entrepreneurs use to keep abreast of cultural expectations.

10 Pro Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

10 Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

Don’t forget these travel tips as your pack for your next business trip.

For those of us who travel for work, we’ve come to expect that certain things are bound to go wrong from flight delays to long airport security lines and luggage mishaps.

To prepare for this article, I spoke to several expert travelers who clock in at least 25,000 miles or more each year for tips and tricks to make your trip more enjoyable.

On my last flight, I asked my flight attendants who didn’t want to be named if they had any tips.

Let’s just say, they had lots of suggestions for fliers including:

1. Have all your travel items in hand.

Make sure you have all of your items like your headphone and magazines in hand so you aren’t holding up the boarding process.

2. Don’t check your luggage.

Flight attendants also recommend not paying to check a carry-on, but instead to wait until you can check it at the gate. This way, you know your luggage will make it to your final destination.

3. Something will always go wrong.

Flight attendants also said that many people need to prepare for something to go wrong because it almost always does.

4. Give yourself time.

Fliers are more in control than they think, like leaving themselves at least an hour and a half to get to the next gate if you are taking a connecting flight.

5. Goodies for the flight attendants.

“Bring something for the flight attendants–chocolate, a snack, anything small and nice, just to say thank you,” said Lowell M. Aplebaum, Executive Consultant in Silver Spring, Maryland.

6. Don’t miss your connections.

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency in Reston, VA said, “Many of us road warriors don’t talk to seat-mates. We haul out our laptop, book, work, or noise reduction headphones. I say, “Keep your antenna up for a warm smile.”

“If your instincts tell you this is an intriguing person, ask a simple question like, “Heading home or on business?” Their response (both the content and tone) will let you know if this is a conversation worth continuing.”

“I’ve met astronauts, inventors and fascinating individuals as a result of reaching out when the vibes are right,” she added.

7. App to relax.

The Brainwave app by Banzai for noise reduction, stress relief and better sleep on planes is something Brian Carter, CEO of the Brian Carter Group in Charleston, SC, swears by.

He also recommends, “not to unpack at the hotel, until you’ve checked out everything in the room.”

8. Join the club.

One piece of advice by frequent fliers is to invest the money for the club lounge membership. The bonus is it is also a tax deduction.

“Keep the phone numbers of any “loyalty desks” programmed in your contacts,” Lawrence Leonard, Executive Director of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

“If seriously delayed or canceled, call the desk immediately, don’t go stand in line,” he said.

Other advice that I heard was to use the same hotel chain to build up loyalty points, Marriott and Hilton and W Hotels seem to be among the favorites.The same goes for picking one airline to accumulate miles and rewards.

Luggage favorites include brands like TravelPro and Tumi and travelers recommend getting bright colored luggage that won’t get lost in the sea of black suitcases.

9. Pre-Check yourself.

Getting Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check was the number one tip to get through security the fastest.

The time to get to the airport seems to be a topic of great debate with some saying they always catch the first flight to avoid delays.

Garrison Wynn of Wynn Solutions in Houston, TX, says, “I travel many more than 30,000 miles per year and catching flights after 3:00 pm makes a huge difference. The airport literally has half the people in it then it does at 9am.

Fewer delays, airport employees in better moods and more willing to help, weather is more likely to clear up and you have a better shot at upgrades,” he said.

‎Carla Balakgie the Chief Executive Officer of the National Automatic Merchandising Association said, “If you are going on an international flight buy what you need at your destination, instead of taking everything with you.”

10. Roll with It.

“Roll everything.” And, she encourages female executives to “bring solid color clothes and pack a few scarves – they are interchangeable and can make your outfit look more polished,” she added.

For international travelers, do the research and understand how to communicate and persuade effectively across different cultures. The Hofstede Model is a tool many entrepreneurs use to keep abreast of cultural expectations.

Think Your Job Is Depressing? Try Being an Airline Pilot

the-most-heroic-airline-pilots-of-all-timeBeing a pilot for a commercial airline has its perks—travel to exotic places, a cool uniform and those breathtaking views of the sky. But that job can come with a side of something much more sobering: depression. As Melissa Healy reports for The Los Angeles Times, the mental health of airline pilots is coming into sharp focus with the revelation that nearly 13 percent of them could be depressed.

new study of the mental health of commercial airline pilots, recently published in the Journal of Environmental Health, suggests that depression is a major problem for pilots. The first to document mental health for this particular field, the study relied on a 2015 web survey of international pilots that contained a range of questions about their condition over the prior two weeks. Questions included whether they felt like failures, had trouble falling or staying asleep, or felt they were better off dead. (Those questions are part of a depression screening tool called the PHQ-9.) Other questions involved pilots’ flight habits, their use of sleep aids and alcohol, and whether they have been sexually or verbally harassed on the job.

Of the 1,848 pilots who responded to the depression screening portions of the questionnaire, 12.6 percent met the threshold for depression. In addition, 4.1 percent of those respondents reported having suicidal thoughts at some point during the two weeks before taking the survey. The researchers found that pilots who were depressed were also more likely to take sleep aids and report verbal or sexual harassment.

Airline pilot organizations and occupational safety experts assure Healy that airline travel is still safe. But the study continues a conversation about pilot psychology that has been in full swing since a German pilot committed suicide by crashing his plane in 2015—an incident that inspired the current study.

Since then, calls for better statistics on pilot suicide have grown louder. As Carl Bialik notes for FiveThirtyEight, those statistics do exist—and do suggest that the number of actual suicides among pilots are very small. However, limitations in data, the possibility of underreporting, and infrequent data collection all challenge a complete understanding of that facet of pilots’ mental health.

This latest mental health study has its own limitations, including the fact that it relies on self-reporting and a relatively sample size compared to total pilot numbers worldwide (in the U.S. alone, there are over 70,000 commercial airline pilots). The cause of the reported depression also remains unclear.

But if the depression rate for commercial airline pilots really is nearly 13 percent, it’s almost double the national rate of about seven percent. Though future work is necessary to confirm these results, this study provides an initial glimpse into the health of the people who make the nation’s airlines tick and emphasizes the importance of figuring out ways to improve their mental health and quality of life.

18 Best Airport Hacks

Getting through the airport can be a tricky and harrowing business these days, so just showing up and hoping for the best won’t cut it. You need to be prepared, nimble and wily. To help you pull it off, we’ve compiled 18 airport hacks to help you slip from the parking garage to your gate with as little trouble as possible at every step along the way.

18 Best Airport Hacks

1. Check for information about destination and layover airports.

You’re probably pretty familiar with your own home airport, but layover and destination airports can be disorienting. The GateGuru app can help, with its airport maps that include amenities available in each terminal. This can save you time if you’re trying to find food or toiletries during a tight connection. The app also has information about airport Wi-Fi options, which can eliminate the hassle of trying to figure out which of a dozen available networks are legit.

2. Put a few Ziploc bags in your luggage.

Zip-top bags can be useful in countless ways when traveling (for liquids when going through airport security, to stow snacks, to keep your phone dry), so I always stow a few in the pockets of all my travel luggage. I leave them in there even between trips, and then replenish the stash as needed.

3. Have a dedicated set of “air travel clothes.”

Having a favorite set of clothes to wear on planes can make the minutes before you leave for your flight easier, and guarantee comfort at the airport and in flight. Your air travel clothes should be comfortable but presentable, neither too warm nor too thin and somewhat durable. Once you have chosen your air travel clothes, make sure they are clean and at the top of your packing list a couple of days before you travel.

4. If your luggage is overweight or close to it, wear more clothes.

When packing, if you suspect your luggage might be close to your airline’s weight limit (a small luggage scale can help you figure this out), put a jacket, sweatshirt or other heavy item of clothing in a front pocket or right at the top of your bag. If the airline calls out your bag as overweight at check-in, you can open the bag, rip out the garment and put it on. (This tip also works on the way home from a trip if your suitcase is weighted down by a few extra souvenirs.)

5. Pack stuff you will need within easy reach.

This applies to your carry-on; your “personal item” in which you might carry your ID, boarding pass and other critical items; and your checked luggage. Pack stuff you will need first or frequently in easily accessible locations to avoid the misery of digging through your bag in view of dozens of fellow travelers.

6. Take a photo of your parking spot.

Snap a picture of your parking spot before heading to the terminal, making sure to include signage identifying your location (level, aisle, etc.). At some airports the garage or terminal number is not obvious on the signage (this is the case in Philadelphia), so you may need to remember which garage you were in.

7. Put in-flight essentials all in one small bag.

Put everything you’ll need during the flight into a single small bag — earbuds, e-reader/book, a snack, etc. — so you can just grab it and stick it in the seatback pocket before you stow the rest of your stuff in the overhead bin or under the seat. (Note that if your in-flight necessities include liquids like antibacterial hand gel, you may have to transfer them into the small bag after you get through security.)

8. Pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on.

To avoid paying huge mark-ups for bottled water at the airport, bring your own empty bottle (which will go through security just fine) and fill up at a water fountain after the checkpoint.

9. Check in next to the first/business-class line.

As check-in becomes more automated, with most economy check-ins taking place at kiosks, standing in big lines is becoming less common, but some travelers swear by the tactic of using the check-in option closest to the first- and business-class counters, where agents will sometimes help economy travelers if no one is at their counter.

10. Use a jacket to carry on more stuff.

One photographer I know wears a photography vest that has a half-dozen large pockets designed for lenses, which he fills with his stuff. When he gets on the plane, he folds up the vest and puts it in the overhead bin next to his carry-on bag.

11. Wear a belt with a plastic buckle.

Some security agents will let you leave your belt on if it is not made of metal; a belt with a plastic buckle might save you the trouble of taking off your belt and having your clothes half falling off.

12. Bring a portable phone charger.

Having a portable phone charger can be a lifesaver if you can’t find an open outlet at the airport. You can also use it in-flight, when your phone is likely in airplane mode and therefore not using much power. This can be a great way to make sure you have charge when you land.

13. Bring a multi-plug adapter.

Especially if you are traveling with family or a group, bring an adapter that can turn one outlet into multiple ones so more people can plug in. Even if you arrive at the gate and all the outlets are in use, often a fellow traveler will share one with you if you have such an adapter.

14. Go to the left at security.

Apparently most humans are biased toward their dominant hand, so the fact that the majority of people are right-handed causes most people to select the security lane on the right when faced with a choice. Zig when they zag by checking out the lanes to your left.

15. Stow your stuff while going through the security line.

Don’t wait until you get to the front of the line to take your phone, keys, loose change and other stuff that security agents don’t like out of your pockets; take care of it while winding through the inevitable security line.

16. Find an empty gate during layovers or delays.

If you have a few hours to kill, opt for a more peaceful and comfortable experience by finding an empty gate where you can have seating, power outlets, Wi-Fi signals and brain space to yourself. Just be careful not to be too far away when announcements affecting your flight might kick in.

17. Sneak your stuff into a shopping bag.

If you’re having trouble adhering to the “one carry-on and one personal item” rule, some devious travel hackers suggest asking for a shopping bag at an airport store and putting your extra stuff in it. Gate agents will think it’s just some things you purchased, which they may not count against your carry-on allowance.

18. Be careful when wearing headphones at the gate.

Listening to music, streaming a podcast or watching a movie on your mobile device helps pass time at the gate, but also puts you at risk of missing important gate announcements. Be careful when tuning out the noise that you don’t also tune out the signal.

Do you have any cool or innovative airport hacks that we missed? Add them in the comments below. Until then, see you at the gate!