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A Flight Attendant's Tips for Surviving Long Flights

Katie Rangel (@rarararangel on Instagram) has been a flight attendant with Delta for over six years. She usually works the New York to Europe route since she’s fluent in French and works as a purser when she’s not flying. She’s also a big Vital Proteins® fan and regularly carries our Collagen Peptides Stick Packs ($37; shop now) in her bag; she adds them to her coffee, soups and hot chocolate when she's on the go (or, you know, in the sky or sea). 

Rangel answered some of our burning questions about her life as a flight attendant and shared her tips for surviving long flights, as well as a few other travel tidbits that might surprise you.

Lively: Can you tell us what the pros and cons are of being a flight attendant?

Katie Rangel: The benefits are amazing. When I'm not working, I can fly anywhere for a fraction of the cost. The negative of this job is probably the interruption of a consistent schedule, especially when it comes to sleep. I'm also constantly around so many people while working, and yes, some are rude or looking to complain to get free stuff, but luckily there are sweet people who still restore my faith in humanity. Sometimes after working a flight, I just need a few hours of no social contact to decompress. 

L: Is there anything that would surprise us about your job?

KR: A lot of people don't realize that we have crew quarters with bunk beds on those long flights, so if I can fall sleep, I can sometimes get an extra two hours sleep while working. 

L: Is there anything travelers should be weary of when flying?

KR: It's definitely a good idea to have antibacterial wipes and clean off the seats. Some people get crazy with this, and the truth is the plane will still be a little dirty no matter what.

The cabin air is drier than a desert, so stay more hydrated than you'd think you need to while flying. The water used for coffee is potable; however, it's not the tastiest kind. Same goes for hot water to make tea. 

surviving long flights

L: Do you have any tips for long flights?

  1. Get Up and Move Around Frequently: But please refrain from doing yoga in the galley! It's not the time or place for a workout, but a few walking laps around the plane and some gentle seated stretches will keep you feeling your best.
  2. Remember to Hydrate: Drink lots of water. If you drink alcohol, I suggest drinking half of what you normally would; hangovers happen more easily at altitude. If you have dietary restrictions, pack snacks because the selection on the plane is limited.
  3. Wear Layers: Wear layers no matter the time of year, because even in summer the plane can get cold, especially if you're near a door. 

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