Flying Tips from Pilots and Flight Attendants

Business travellers have a huge advantage over most people when it comes to flying.


You know how to get the most points and best perks for the least amount of money. 

You know how to score free lounge access and last-minute upgrades. 

If you’re feeling frisky, you can probably finagle a spot in First Class by making a quick phone call to the right person.

The only people on the planet who know more about flying are pilots and flight attendants. You know the type – those tireless gods and goddesses who make your travel lifestyle not only possible, but infinitely more comfortable.If you’re ready to up your game with even deeper travel insights, check out these Top 10 Flying Tips  from pilots and flight attendants around the world.

Top 10 Insider Flight Tips - The Wise Traveller

From The Flight Deck

Tip #1: Pilots aren’t off limits

Did you know that you can still pop into the cockpit, take a look around, and even meet your pilot? Strange, but true! Whether you’re curious about how the plane is flown, or you just want to give your kids an experience to remember, most airlines are happy to oblige - all you have to do is ask.

Tip #2: No one really understands the FAA

Just because pilots enforce FAA regulations doesn’t mean they necessarily agree with those regulations. According to a recent Reader’s Digest poll of U.S. pilots, many of them remain baffled as to the purpose of certain in-flight rules.

For example, why do flight attendants have to sit down during taxiing (when the plane is going 5 miles an hour and is still on the ground), but are allowed to walk around and serve drinks at four hundred miles an hour and 30,000 feet?

Your guess is as good as the average pilot’s. When it comes to following the annoying rules of flying, everyone has to go with the proverbial flow.

#3: Air sickness can be prevented

Pssst – if you have a weak stomach or are terrified of turbulence, pilots suggest sitting near the wing of the plane. Seats here experience the least amount of movement as well as cabin and engine noise.

#4: Don’t be afraid to breathe

You can relax about breathing that nasty “recycled air” on your next flight. The truth is that airplane air is much cleaner than the air typically found in public buildings, at least according to commercial pilot Patrick Smith.

In a recent interview for the Huffington Post, Smith revealed that only “a portion of the air is recirculated,” and that it’s run through “hospital-quality HEPA filters.”

#5: Be grateful for that rough landing

According to pilot Joe D’Eon, a rough landing doesn’t necessarily mean that something ‘went wrong.’ In fact, pilots often choose to land the plane abruptly due to weather constraints, shorter runaways, and other mechanical issues.

Top 10 Insider Flight Tips - The Wise Traveller

From the Galley

#6: You need to drink more water

The reason flight attendants look miraculous after long-haul flights is simple: they’re drinking a lot more water than you.

While you can’t always bring bottled water onto the plane with you on international flights, talk to your flight attendant. Let him or her know that you need to stay hydrated, and they’ll be happy to provide extra water whenever you ask for it.

#7: Electronic interference is a myth

This may come as a shock, but the reason your flight attendant wants you to put away the iPad has nothing to do with the WiFi signal “interfering” with the airplane’s navigational system. They want you to put away your electronic devices so that, in the case of turbulence during takeoff or landing, there aren’t two hundred airborne Macbook Airs flying at passenger’s heads.

#8: Don’t sit in the back of the plane

Nothing good is happening at the back of the plane. This is where the air is stalest, the temperature is warmest, the turbulence is the worst, and the noise from the engine is the loudest. Do whatever you can to sit near the front of the plane if you’re sensitive to noise, motion, or your fragrant fellow passengers.

#9: Turbulence is overrated

Of course you should be in your seat, with your seatbelt fastened. But unless your flight attendant is also sitting down, there’s no need to get concerned about turbulence.

If your flight attendant sits down and straps in, you’re probably in for some intense turbulence, but don’t worry too much – you’re more at risk from airborne objects inside the plane than from any sort of a crash.

#10: You can tip your flight attendant

Flight attendants don’t make that much money – in the U.S., the average in-flight employee receives less than $22/hour. While tipping your flight attendant isn’t that common, it is allowed. Attendants are trained to say “no” to the first or second offer, but they’re not prevented from accepting a tip from an eager passenger. If you’re really wowed by the service, feel free to leave a cash tip in an envelope on your seat, or hand it off while disembarking.

What’s your #1 insider tip for flying? Let us know in the comments below!

Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and the Founder of, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.