Flight attendants have a carry on bag; its color is dark as night, and for every trip the flight crew take the bag will sure be in sight.
You get the idea; everywhere we go, that bag follows. It’s with us so much it feels like an extension of our toned and tanned flight attendant arms. Our cabin crew persona is incomplete without it trailing behind us as we set out on world adventures.
Passengers might think it’s just another travel bag. We, however, think of it more as our bed side table in the sky. Since we have two bags, and the bigger one is packed with everything we need on ground, our cabin bag is reserved for our travel essentials that we don’t dare take to the skies without. If you ever wondered how your crew looked so great at the end of that 13 hour night flight, you only need to unzip that bag to find the secrets. Lucky for you, myself and some other flight attendants from around the world have agreed to unzip and show you what we’ve got… In our bags!!!
My Fly Guy bag is always the heaviest one. I can tell when another crew picks it up because the lift is always followed by the sound of a strain and a “what do you have in here?” question. Well since people are always asking let’s see what I never leave home without:
- Airline issued cabin bag: It’s a uniform requirement that it must be kept as is with only a company authorized bag tag on the outside.
- My natural first aid kit: Inside I keep all sorts of natural cures. I try to avoid chemical remedies at all cost. This kit will get it’s own future blog post.
- Inflight essentials: These are items that make my bag unique from other FAs. First in the line up is spirulina powder. Spirulina is a super food blue-green algae that has been used as a vital source of protein for thousands of years. This green miracle powder contains the highest concentration of protein (by weight) of any food known. This comes in handy for a vegan flyer like myself that finds it hard at times to find a protein source at 40,000 feet. Additional benefits for crew and travelers are it boosts your immune system, increases antioxidant protection, fights free radicals, combats the aging process, curbs appetite to promote weight loss, supports healthy cardiovascular function, detoxifies the blood, improves skin and is packed full iron, calcium, omega fatty acids and other vital nutrients and vitamins. Recent studies show it can help remove radiation from our bodies which is great for cabin crew and frequent flyers that are exposed to increased levels of radiation every time we take off high into the atmosphere. Also good for skin and immune system is vitamin C, which is the second bottle in my line up. For both my spirulina and vitamin C powders I use HealthForce Nurtitionals. I find their products superior and more potent than others I’ve tried on the market. While some crew spend thousands annually on luxury face creams to keep their youthful glow, I attack aging from the inside as well. From my first month of drinking this brand of vitamin C powder I started to see instant results and comments for my skin. On layovers I mix it with coconut oil or vegetable glycerin to make a powerful vitamin C rich face mask. Vitamin C is also a good way to rid toxic radiation from the body. Moving on down the line, the skinny blue bottle is my favorite jet lag cure 1-Above Flight Drink. You can read more about this product in my recent product review by clicking here. The next green bottle is my favorite green tea powder from South Korea. This stuff is great for a caffeine and antioxidant boost. I make delish green tea coconut milk lattes on board with this powder as well as green tea rescue masks when I reach the hotel. The last two items in the line up are for the hands. My airline places a lot of attention on the state of our hands. They’re so important we get a whole training session on how to care for them and how they should look when in uniform and they’re checked before every flight. I don’t use airplane soap. Consider that cheap industrial grade soap an enemy to your hands as it’s packed full of chemicals that strip vital natural oils from you skin. Those are the oils that you need to protect your epidermis from drying out in the aircraft’s arid environment. My remedy for this is Soapstix. They contain natural extra virgin olive oil for soothing skin and essential oils that lather easily and gently cleans without harmful chemicals and the pen clip conveniently attaches to your uniform pocket. I take these when I’m traveling as hand sanitizes also dry out the skin. On top of the moisture provided by the olive oil soap I finish off with Egyptian Magic. This natural all purpose skin cream is magical and has been a Hollywood must have for some time and is now the only skin cream I need to use. It can be used as a lotion, lip balm or under eye cream, hair oil, burn ointment and scare treatment. This all in one cream freed up a lot of space in my bag .
- SLR Camera: Since I’m A Fly Guy I must capture all my journeys to share.
- Health documents, flight license and passport: These are checked before every flight and if one is missing I don’t fly.
- Men’s Gucci wallet: With all the different currencies I collect I needed a wallet big enough to hold the collection and you must own at least one luxury brand item as an international stew 🙂
- Notepad and pen: I get a lot of blog ideas up in the sky so I keep a pen and pad handy to write them down.
- To go order menu: China is the country I have the hardest time finding food that agrees with my diet. This is a menu for a restaurant that delivers healthy veggie options right to my hotel room.
- Arts and craft kit: The airline I work for puts a lot of emphasis on our young travelers. While they provide toys and activity books I bring my own stickers, tattoos and little gifts for the kids I like. There’s also cake decorating tool in there for the honey moon surprises.
- Service and grooming manuals: I carry three guides. One for all classes of service, one for first class service only and my grooming bible that’s 45 pages of what to and not wear while on duty.
- Reading material: I’m not allowed to read none company issued material while on duty, so on my layovers I read travel guidebooks and travel magazines as well as my daily scripture versus. Gotta keep the mind healthy as well as the body.
- Fruit and nut bars: These are for when I get hungry in the middle of the night on a layover. When you travel you should always keep a few of these in your bag. You never know when you might get your next meal.
- Clip on flashlights: These come in handy when I have duty free on night flights. Just attach to the cart and go. Always smart to keep a small flashlight handy when on the go. Never know when you might need a light to search for something in your bag or on the plane.
- Change bags: I keep all my leftover allowance money in separate bags so when I return to that country I’m ready to spend.
- Subway passes: NYC gets its own holder as it’s my most used metro system. Subway passes save you money and are your friend. Don’t let the maps scare you. Metros are fun and easy to navagate once you get the hang of them and they save you loads of money.
- Quick shoe shine applicator
- iPad and phones: I have three phones in my bag. My favorite, the S4, is my home phone. Then there is my US phone and my Europe cell.
- Supply of Burt’s Bees lip balm: Easily the favorite lip balm among cabin crew. It’s the only balm that protects my lips for chapping in flight. So good American Airlines even used to offer this in their kit bags.
- Chargers: For me and my passengers. They’re always asking to use one so I try to keep several ready.
- iPod and ear buds: Uniform standards dictates this is the only style we are allowed to wear when suited up.
- Odds and ends: Lock for the bag, house keys, access control for company website, and extra pen.
- Not Pictured: Uniform waistcoat, laptop and Frank’s Hot Sauce.
Sara Keagle, AKA the Flying Pinto, is a Flight Attendant for a major U.S. Airline and Huffington Post Blogger. Sara is an expert bag packer and shares her tips through her blog The Flying Pinto. At most US airlines the black cabin bag comes in the form of a tote and rides piggy back on a larger rolling suitcase. Here’s what Sara says about here tote: “My tote is a little worn. It is a bit of a badge of honor for U.S. Flight Attendants to show a little wear and tear on their luggage, you know how much we treasure our seniority. I know, I know, sloppy American Stews. Well, I love my worn out tote. It has traveled the world (it may have even been run over by my husband once, I’m still waiting on the confession) and I’m not ready to give it up! These days my tote only sees turns and two days so its contents reflect that. Here is my list:
- My Tote
- iPad: For following a very important international blogger! Not naming names, but if you look closely at the photo you may see who I’m talking about! (Fly Guy here: Thanks for the plug Sara)
- Sweater: Can’t leave home without it! I like the cabin temp cooler to keep germs at a minimum, but don’t like to be cold!
- Small make-up bag: This has essentials such as lipsticks, bare minerals mineral veil, MAC make up and powder.
- Mouth fresheners: Gum, travel size Listerine and wisp tooth brushes.
- My Lenmar PowerPort: It gives me a full charge and then some for my iPhone.
- The Oven Glove: A fab gift from the husband! No oven burns on my hands.
- The small striped bag: This is my Casauri bag that holds my iPhone, CC and cash. Perfect for walking around on my layovers.
- Reading material: I am using my iPad more and more for reading, but some books like the one in my bag now (Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston) I like to have just in case my batteries are all drained and I can’t find an outlet.
- A small bag for hotel pens: (I give them out freely to passengers and even smile while doing so:) and dollar bills for van and hotel maid tips.
- The Body Shop Body Butter: In Vanilla! Love and cannot be without when flying.
- The good hotel lotions: They can always be found floating around in my bag. Love Aveda and Bath & Body Works.
- My Contigo travel mug: This thing hold a lot (20oz) and does not leak! What more could you ask for? Did you know Starbucks will fill your travel mug and give you 10% off for using your own?!
- My passport: Always in the same spot.
- My favorite luggage tag: It reads, “Think of me as unexpected turbulence”.
- Missing items: Manual and required duty items.
In Portugal they call their cabin bag a “Bobby”. Ana, a TAP Portugal stewardess based in Lisbon, explains Bobby is the most common dog’s name in her country. Since our bags follow us like a dog it’s a fitting nickname. Ana travels the world with her trusty amulet Anita. Together they log their journey on The Not-so Marvelous Life of a Flight Attendant blog. Here’s what Ana keeps in her Bobby.
- Cabin shoes and service apron: A girl can’t work all day in high heels. (Fly Guy Travel Tip: If you’re dressing to impress while traveling as a passenger you too can have your own version of cabin shoes. Slip a pair of comfy footwear into your carry on. If your feet swell during your trip you will be happy to have them as backups.)
- Seal cutter: The easy way to break all the security seals during pre-flight security checks.
- Oven gloves: To protect the hands when removing the hot items from the oven.
- CPR mask: In the event of a medical emergency.
- Medication: Such as Panadol, Brufen, throat pills…
- Pajamas and civilian clothes: Just in case of flight disruption results in an unexpected layover. (Fly Guy Travel Tip: When flying as a passenger always keep some comfort clothes in your carry on bag. You never know if a flight disruption, or your airline losing your checked luggage, could leave you without clean clothes.)
- Extra stockings: This a girl’s problem. You would be surprised how many pairs female crew go through.
- Essential make-up and toiletries: Less than 100ml, of course!
- iPad and a book
- And last but not least… My lucky amulet Anita, which I photograph all around the world 😉
Down under at Virgin Australia their tote comes in the form of a vanity case. One look inside Conner’s kit and it’s easy to see why Virgin Australia crew always look amazing. Here’s what this image savvy steward keeps close to him. Pay attention because cabin crew always know what works best with traveling:
- My uniform issued vanity case
- Super water resistant hair gel:
- Shoe care: Anti-scuff shoe polish and Restore disposable shoe polish
- Grown Vanilla and Orange Peel Hand Cream
- Facial care regimen: Skin 79 Whitening Beblesh Balm (BB cream), Skin 79 Diamond Whitening and Wrinkle Improvement Beblesh Balm, Dermalogica Clearing Mattifier, Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Masque, Dermalogica Concealing Spot Treatment, Tony Moly Expert Micro Perfecting Primer, Tony Moly Aqua Aura Moisture Cream, Natio Vitamin E Lip Balm, Rimmel Stay Matte, Chanel Hydra Beauty Max Creme, Chanel Hydra Beauty Max Serum.
- Mens’ scent collection: Dior Homme Sport Mini, Dior Homme Mini, Chanel Bleu Twist and Spray, Chanel Bleu Twist and Spray, Ralph Lauren Polo Double Black.
- Security friendly cutlery kit
- 15 Different tea types and coffee blends: IM PICKY!
- Louis Vuitton Monogram Zippy
- Not pictured: Extra Chewing gum, hand sanitize, Perfect Potion Sweet Dreams and Headache Free Balm, Japanese tofu good luck charm, hard handy to help pop ears, iPad Mini, Spare phone battery.
Those flight attendants not pulling many overnight stays away from home go for a less is best packing method. Marije is one such crew who works for a Dutch charter airline and during the summer months hardly has layovers outstation. Here’s what she unzipped:
- High visibility vest: We wear it when we are on the tarmac.
- Hairspray: Can’t live without it!!!!!!
- My passport
- Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Aviators of course
- cabin shoes
- Paul Frank tin: The most useful thing in my bag. It’s filled with tea, since the tea we get on board isn’t any good.
- Something to Drink: I also can’t leave the house without at least something to drink.