Congratulations on landing your first job as a flight attendant! Being a part of the cabin crew can be exciting and adventurous, but it can also be challenging. Apart from the travel opportunities and meeting new people, flight attendants must navigate all kinds of passenger issues, keep them safe and endure long hours and delays.
Prepare a Checklist
Before you begin packing, create a checklist of all the items you’ll need to pack in a notebook. Planning ahead of time to organize your luggage ensures that you’re well-equipped for challenges and adventures that are in store for you. Whether you’re about to embark on a short domestic flight or a long-haul international one, here is a packing guide to help you get started.
10 Essentials You’ll Need for Your First Flight Attendant Job
Here is a list of essentials that you will need for your first flight attendant job.
1. Professional and Personal Attire
A flight attendant’s appearance is crucial. Pack in extra uniforms in case of stains and mishaps. A flight attendant’s basic garments normally include jackets, pants or skirts, shirts, vests, shoes, and accessories such as hats, ties, belts, gloves, and scarves. These essentials can be packed in a trolley bag to carry on the flight.
For your personal outfits, you can carry a set of clothes in your trolley bag and stash the rest in your big suitcase. Pack the heavy items at the bottom of your luggage for more space, roll your clothes, and use compression bags. However, be informed of the weight restrictions of your suitcase, be it carry-on or checked-in. It’ll help you prevent a hassle on your first day at work.
A good rule of thumb is to pack outfits according to the number of layover days. That way, you can avoid overpacking. Another idea is to carry plastic bags for dirty laundry. Then, once you reach the hotel, you can get them washed and cleaned before your next flight.
2. Comfortable Footwear
For women, footwear for flight attendants generally involves high-heeled slip-resistant shoes ranging from one to three inches. However, you can switch to flats once the flight takes off for more comfort.
For men’s shoes, shoes with good leather quality and slip-resistant soles are a good choice.
For those extra shoes you’ve packed, putting small and delicate items inside is an effective way to use the space. That way, the shoes won’t appear all squished when you unpack. You can also stash in perfume bottles, underwear, sunglasses, watches, and anything fragile. Then, wrap it in a plastic bag before putting it inside the shoe.
3. Personal Care Toiletries
Pack travel-sized bottles that are 3.5 ounces or less per item. These will easily fit into a quart-sized bag which is a permissible amount to carry on your handbag or carry-ons.
As for the items, pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, a small bottle of perfume or deodorant, hair gel, facial wipes, and a moisturizer for long international flights. Shampoo, conditioner, and soap aren’t recommended, as you’ll already have them ready to use in your hotel.
Having a small sewing kit for minor uniform repairs is also a good idea. For women, pack travel-sized cosmetics, lipsticks, small hair combs, and many bobby pins for getting ready quickly during a flight.
4. Electronic Devices and Chargers
As a flight attendant, carry as few electronics with you as you possibly can. A lightweight laptop or tablet, phone, noise-canceling headphones, charger, and most importantly, a universal power adapter for international flights is all you’ll need.
5. Basic First Aid Kit
A basic first aid kit is a valuable item. Flight attendant training should have familiarized you with the airline’s medication policies and what to do during a medical emergency. Therefore, carry a small box of basic first aid such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers and motion sickness medications, and any other prescription medicines you may need.
6. Snacks and Hydration
For long international flights and unpredictable schedules, it is a good idea to always have non-perishable foods in your carry-ons. Snacks such as energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, or crackers can keep you fueled throughout the flight.
Whether a short domestic flight or a long international one, staying hydrated is always necessary. Carry a refillable water bottle in your handbag to easily fill it up again during layovers.
7. Cozy Neck Pillow
Neck pillows are a flight attendant’s best friend. Though sleeping during flights with shrinking legroom and reclined seat battles is difficult, you can at least look forward to resting your head on the pillow when off-duty.
Look for comfortability and functionality. Neck pillows that wrap around your neck like a scarf, and keep it from tilting forward or backward, are a good choice for flight attendants. These travel pillow scarves can be easily folded and stashed in your carry-on bag, giving you quality sleep on a plane.
Though in-flight entertainments are available, for those long boring flights, bring with you a book, and download movies or TV shows on your devices. You can also use playing cards to entertain yourself during breaks.
9. The Perfect Suitcase
Cabin crew members usually carry three pieces of luggage: a carry-on crew bag, a trolley bag, and a larger suitcase, in case of a layover. The airline often provides appropriate baggage, merely for image purposes, so all their flight attendants would look the same at the airport.
However, if not provided, invest in high-quality, durable bags for long-term use. Carry-on bags can be in the form of totes, duffels, or backpacks. Make sure it is the perfect size to fit in the overhead compartments. Essentials such as personal care items, electronic devices and chargers, snacks and water bottles, and anything that you require to carry with you during the flight can be packed in this.
In your trolley bag, pack in an extra set of uniforms, shoes, socks, hats, vests, and any other accessories required according to the airline’s guidelines.
In case of layovers, the larger suitcase can contain all your personal belongings and be checked into baggage at the airport. Instead, opt for stylish spinner luggages, which is easier to travel around and lightweight enough to pick and drop from the baggage carousel.
10. Documents, Money & Stationery
Of course, the most important aspect of all! Your passport, identification documents, travel documents, and any required licenses or certifications are all necessary. Keep them neatly organized in your handbag so it’s easy to take them out and show them when needed. You can put the documents in a file so you don’t have to search for them during check-ins.
Though many airlines provide a lot of money to the flight attendants to spend in their destination, carrying your own internationally-acclaimed credit card can be useful in an emergency situation.
Pen and paper always come in handy no matter where you are. Keep a pen, a small notebook or diary in your carry-on bag to jot down essential information or memorable experiences.
Tips to Pack Efficiently and Effectively
Every airline has specific rules and regulations for flight attendants. So before you begin packing, look at the company’s guidelines and pack accordingly.
Packing in an organized manner will not only provide you with more space but will also not mix your clothes and toiletries after a long flight. Here are some tips on how you can pack smartly:
- Pack heavy and bulky items first. This can include shoes, coats or jackets. You can put fluffy coats in a plastic bag and vacuum out the air to compress it. That way you’ll have more space.
- Stash delicate items and underwear inside your shoes, wrapped in a plastic bag for better protection. Make sure your shoes are also wrapped in a bag.
- Pack travel-sized toiletries. Most hotels provide basic amenities, so there is no need to pack shampoos, conditioners, or soaps for instance.
- Though food is available, pack some energy bars and nuts just in case you need to charge up.
- Pack a stash of Ziploc plastic bags for dirty laundry or wet clothes. Having a few loads may come in handy.
In a Nutshell
Enjoy the little adventures as you embark on a new career path, no matter how challenging. Maintaining a positive attitude and prioritizing self-care is the most important aspect of being a flight attendant. Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of smart packing skills, you’re ready to soar to new heights and provide exceptional service to passengers from around the world. Bon Voyage!