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Tips to make your flying experience better, from a cabin crew

Love travelling but don’t want the jet lag? We have 5 tips to makes the long-hauled flights more enjoyable.

Over the past few months, I've had the opportunity to fly to Perth, Copenhagen, Bali and most recently Auckland. Out of the eight flights I've taken, I felt the most well-taken care of, and was impressed by the warm service on Air New Zealand.

And I'll be upfront; it's the stellar service that impressed me, not the hardware. That will change very soon in 2024, when Air New Zealand roll out their new 787-9 Dreamliners fitted with new and improved seats, but more on that next time because I want to talk about the service of the cabin crew who kept their service excellence and energy high over the entire 10-hour flight from Auckland to Singapore on 3 March 2023.

Debbie at work with her colleagues (Photo: Air New Zealand)
The crew of Air New Zealand at work. (Photo: Air New Zealand)

The two attendants, a lady and a gentleman, swept down the aisles over a 10-hour flight with their warm personalities, punctuating requests with "of course, darling", "is that all, my love" and more in the most genial of ways. Even if you usually cringe at endearments from strangers, their brisk yet consistently warm service, frequent check-ins when you wake up from a nap ("Water or juice sweetie?"), kōrero (chat) while queuing for the washroom, winks while handing out warm garlic bread and more will warm you up to them.

When I checked in with fellow fliers after disembarkment, I found out that all of us had the same sentiments about the incredible service from that flight. Which brings me to the next point. With service so on-point and designed to make a customer feel as comfortable as possible on a long-haul flight, we thought flying tips from an Air New Zealand cabin crew might come in useful.

So, we checked in with Debbie Ridgeway, Air New Zealand Inflight Services Manager and trainer checker who has been with Air New Zealand since 1986, about her top flying tips.

Debbie (Photo: Air New Zealand)
Debbie (Photo: Air New Zealand)

"We as cabin crew have all sorts of tips and tricks to help you get as much rest as possible on long-haul flights to the likes of New York or Vancouver, and to make sure you’re feeling amazing when you touch down at your destination."

1. Drink up

The main thing on a flight would be hydration. We get 1.5-litre bottles of water each, and we’ve got to go through at least one of those. So keep the fluids up and have the odd juice for additional energy.

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2. Move around

When we’re not sleeping, we are often on our feet and moving around the plane to stay fresh and feel good. We've got the ability to walk around the cabin and keep our legs moving, which keeps the blood moving and stretches muscles that grow stiff when sitting for hours at a time. For passengers, I'd say, get up, come to the galley and say 'hi'." We don't mind having a bit of a kōrero (chat) with the passengers at 2am in the morning.

3. Pack a little luxury

Packing the odd luxury item to make the flight more comfortable. I personally love a silk pillowcase. Sounds a little bit luxurious, but it is a treat to place over the usual pillowcases. Not only does it feel good, but is better for your skin and hair, which is a big advantage on long flights. A nice hand cream or moisturiser was something I keep in my carry-on, as things get dry on a long flight due to a plane's low humidity level and high altitude.

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4. Keep coffee for breakfast

It may be tempting to drink coffee to help you get through a flight, but I keep the caffeine for the mornings when we land somewhere. The drink makes it hard to sleep at night and can worsen dehydration.

5. Beat jetlag by taking a nap

Everyone is different in how they beat jetlag, but for me, after arriving in a new city like New York (from New Zealand), I grab some healthy snacks and catch some sleep at the hotel to take the edge off my tiredness. Staying awake until the local nighttime was also a big help for some of the crew. If we land in the morning, we will try to stay awake until the evening. That way, you don't have those two or three days where you're up in the middle of the night.

*The flight to Auckland was part of a media familiarisation trip, but opinions are my own.

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