Who more qualified to ask for such tips than people whom spend most of their working days at 40,000ft.  I recently had the pleasure of talking to Barbara Vagner - Customer Service Manager A380 International Cabin Crew and Larry Fazzalari - Customer Service Supervisor International Cabin Crew of Qantas International.  Combined they have over 40years experience in the air.


Always have travel insurance for illness, accidents and travel delays. 

Illness and accidents are self-explanatory, but delays can be tricky if you have not purchased all your travel on the one ticket. The airline is obligated to fly you the destination on that ticket. If you are connecting, make sure you have enough time, better waiting around an airport for a few extra hours than a few extra days…. or missing out altogether. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people miss connections and ruin their dream holiday. 

Booking online.  

Use a reputable website. Sometimes booking companies go bust and they haven’t paid the service provider; hotel, cruise company, car and to a lesser extent airlines. In these situations, insurance is essential. Even better, if you pay by credit card and you didn’t receive the goods you pay for, many Australian institutions will cover some of the costs incurred for having to buy alternatives. 


  • Remain hydrated, its dry up there - this means lots of water, not much alcohol/tea/coffee. 
  • Wear loose-fitting comfortable clothing…..but wear clothing. I once answered a call-bell to find a customer topless in his seat. No one wants to see your hairy shoulders or back. Standards people!
  • Bring something warm to wear - spare blankets are rare. 
  • Wear footwear. Sometimes that puddle on the toilet floor is NOT water! 
  • Eat lightly, it helps with getting your body clock in check. 
  • Take things to occupy your time: a good book, some movies on your tablet, in case your entertainment system is not working. Cabin crew try their hardest to make it work for you, but sometimes it just can’t be fixed……aaaaahhh technology …… more like aaarrrrghhhh technology!
  • If you have to use sleeping tablets, please read the contraindications, especially combining them with alcohol can have some nasty effects. Don’t take them before taking off in case you have to get off the aircraft either in a hurry or go back to the terminal. Lugging a burly comatosed bloke up the aerobridge ain’t fun. 
  • If you’re traveling with babies/young children, take turns eating while the other one wrangles the kids. Flight attendants are very sympathetic to parents, it helps if you’re organised too. 
  • If you have dietary requirements and you are not sure if the airline can accommodate you, you need to bring some food before you board.
  • Your journey starts from the minute you close the front door, be prepared for traffic and other disruptions and most importantly remain in a positive headspace.  

Tips from Barbara Vagner (A380 CSM International Cabin Crew Qantas International)

Only bring on the aircraft what you need, check in as much as you can. Sometime space is a premium and the less you carry on the less chance you have of leaving something in the security line or on the plane.

Count the amount of bags you have and at each point of the trip count them up again I.e. When leaving security, when leaving the gate lounge.

Planes can be cold. I like traveling with a scarf or a Pashmina as it doubles as a blanket.

Consider if it's a night flight to dress the kids in their PJ's so they know it is sleep time and if you have a free arm bring their favourite pillow.

Don't forget warm socks. I wear compression socks to help with feet swelling. They sell these at chemist and sport shops. Well worth it for the mums and dads.

Antiseptic wipes and more wipes.... you don't want to start the holiday sick.

I take a Berocca on every flight as colds are easily spread so I give myself the best chance to fight them off.

Toiletry Bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, any essential toiletries. A lip balm and moisturizing cream. I love my pawpaw cream works for a lot of things.

A little first aid kit - Band aids, Panadol, vitamins.

If anyone in your family gets travel sick them don't forget their medication. Ginger crystals or ginger lollies can also help.  Try and sit towards the front of the plane if possible as traditionally it's a little less bumpy there.

A change of clothing in case of accidents, also comes in handy if your bags go missing.

The iPad with movies is a must! You can get earphone splitters (cheap on eBay) so a couple of kids can watch the same device.  Handy not just to have should the inflight entertainment system not working on the plane also handy in case of any unforeseen delays.

 Pack loads of snacks this can save you a fortune at the airport and on board as some low cost carries sell the food on board.

 Take an empty water bottle that you can fill up at the boarding gate or on board the aircraft. 

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