Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Secrets Flight Attendants Want You to Know

WE’RE infatuated with life in the skies — and all the myth-busting that comes along with it. Who would’ve guessed that dim lights are meant to prep you for evacuation, or that those airline blankets aren’t always freshly washed?

Of course, nobody knows these secrets better than flight attendants. Abbie Unger, a longtime flight attendant (formerly employed by United, Continental and US Airways Express) who retired in 2011 to publish a book and launch a new career as a flight attendant consultant, tells all.

Coaching wannabe crew members through the rigorous application process, her Flight Attendant Career Connection is a Facebook Group where more than 7,000 members swap job advice, trade stories and discuss the ins and outs of a famously glamorous — and notoriously mysterious — industry.

Here, a few secrets your flight attendant may be burning to tell you:

It’s not a flight attendant’s job to look nice.

A 1957 stewardess manual lists requirements that crew members remain unmarried and under 57 kilograms. 

Flight attendants wore girdles as late as the 1970s, and reports regular weigh-ins seem to have left their mark on the profession. But in her experience, Unger says, today’s airlines focus less on looks. “They do want someone who is pleasant to look at,” she told us. “But you don’t have to be a supermodel. You have to be open and engaging — it really has to do with personality.”

Passengers do not need to panic during turbulence.

Flight attendants have flown enough to know that turbulence-related injuries can occur but are uncommon. Unger advises buckling up and riding it out. “Turbulence is like going down a bumpy road,” she says. “If you’re in your seatbelt, you’re not in danger.”

Listen to the safety instructions of flight attendants and don’t panic

But if you see your flight attendant sitting down, you should definitely sit down.

That being said, Unger says looking at the crew is a sure-fire way to tell if the bumpiness has potential to harm you. Flight attendants will often move around the cabin during mild bumps, but they’ll stay seated if they know things are going to get intense.

2013 Delta flight attendant job seekers faced tougher acceptance odds than Harvard applicants.

In 2013, Delta received about 44,000 applications for about 400 flight attendant job openings — that’s a lower acceptance rate than Harvard’s. 

Unger says this year’s Delta recruitment is looking just as tough — she estimates there will be about 200,000 applications for 1800 open spots. “This is a dream for a lot of people,” she explains.

If you really want to tip your flight attendant, try asking three times.

Unger says passengers often assume flight attendants make a lot of money, but “it’s not a very good wage at all.” Many airlines discourage tipping, she explains, and advise that crew members turn down a passenger’s first attempt at offering a tip. 

Try a second or third time, though, and your flight attendant will feel freer to accept. “Or just put it in an envelope and leave it on your seat,” Unger says.

Flight attendants are there to make your trip enjoyable.

Your flight attendant can make you less nervous.

Flight attendants tend to know what every bump, lurch and strange sound means for the plane, whether it’s a harmless bout of turbulence or the squeaky landing gear doing its regular job. 

And attendants would love to share this information with fliers, if they ask. “If you’re nervous, let your flight attendant know,” Unger says. “I’d be happy to have a conversation so you know you’re not alone.”

If your flight attendant turns quiet, it’s to run through emergency scenarios.

Just before takeoff, Unger says, flight attendants are often required to take 30 seconds to run through their safety training, reviewing what will happen should anything go wrong during the trip. “Your flight attendant may be chatting with you, but she’ll stop and be quiet or just look out the window,” Unger explains. “She’s thinking about what she would do in an emergency.”

Airplane food feeds more than just passengers.

After passengers have been served, Unger says the cabin crew will sometimes eat leftover first-class meals. The best part? “There’s ice cream on lots of international flights.”

Flight attendants eat plane food too
Water is the cure for your jet lag.

Simple hydration is a flight attendant’s number-one hack to feeling and looking refreshed after a long haul, Unger says. She recommends filling a mega-size bottle and keeping it at hand during your trip.

This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post

Monday, January 14, 2013

How To... Keep Your Belongings Safe Whilst Travelling

When it comes to travelling, one of the most important tasks is to keep yourself and your belongings safe.

It’s something that you need to be aware of at all times and can make even the simplest trip stressful.

Here are a few tips on how to keep your cool, and your wallet, on your next trip:


  • Keep cash and credit cards as well as photocopies of important documents in different places
  • Wear all bags on the opposite shoulder to the one facing the road to decrease the chance of someone snatching the bag as they are driving
  • Be aware of your surroundings – if it looks unsafe, leave
  • Lock the doors and windows of your hotel room


  • For long trips ensure that you have a spare credit card that you can activate if your original gets lost or stolen
  • Be careful about taking money out of ATMs, if possible do it near banks or hotels where security will be a little better, or buy everything on card
  • Put locks on your handbags
  • Close the blinds at your hotel so outsiders don’t know if you’re there or not


  • Take down serial numbers of all electronic goods that you are travelling with
  • Stash credit cards inside your shoes
  • Sew extra pockets on the inside of your pants
  • Hide valuables around the hotel room i.e. under the bed
  • Put something big, like a chair, or fragile, like glass, at your front door when you go to sleep so that you can hear if someone tries to break in. Be careful with this one if you are a sleepwalker and be aware that this may not be the safest option in the event of a fire

What not to do

  • Don’t use waist or neck wallets, not only are they uncomfortable, but they also put a huge target on your belly
  • Don’t put your wallet or passport in your pocket; they’re called ‘pick pockets’ for a reason!
  • Don’t look too ‘expensive’ or ‘touristy’ when walking around foreign streets
  • Don’t leave valuables lying around your hotel room, at the very least put them under some clothes

(Source: e-Travelblackboard.com)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Best Travel Deals of the Week

Metro Hotel on Pitt, in the heart of Sydney's CBD, is offering a very Merry Sydney Christmas package to visitors who find themselves in transit on Christmas Day.

The package costs $250 and includes one night's accommodation for two in a Superior Deluxe Queen room, Christmas lunch or dinner for two people at Paradiso Restaurant (2 course), breakfast for two and free internet.

The total saving is $116. Offer valid for December 24 and 25, 2012, and subject to availability.
Details: 1800 004 321 or www.metrohotels.com.au.


The 4.5-star Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort is marking the start of summer with rates for locals from $139 per room per night.

It includes one night accommodation for two adults and two children, and a buffet breakfast.
An upgrade to a pool view room is also part of the rate, subject to availability, as well as late checkout at midday and a 10 per cent discount off all food and beverage purchased at the resort.
The offer is valid until March 31; terms and conditions apply.

Details: (07) 4080 1888 or www.novotelcairnsresort.com.au.


Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania is offering a Gourmet Escape package this summer.
It includes accommodation in a Pencil Pine Cabin, breakfast daily for two people, a three-course dinner for two, and a wine and cheese tasting session on one night.

Prices start from $392 per couple per night and is valid until March 31, 2013. Subject to availability, and block-out dates and minimum night stays apply.

Details: www.peppers.com.au.


Princess Cruises is offering a discounted fare when travelling onboard Dawn Princess's 37-day cruise from Rome to Sydney.

The voyage takes in the Western Mediterranean and Asia, including visits to a range of UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Petra and Malta, as well as the option of an overland shore excursion to the Taj Mahal in India.

Departing Rome on September 4, 2013, prices start from $5999 per person twin share.
Details: 13 24 88 or visit www.princess.com.


Amari Palm Reef Koh Samui has a three night Christmas package starting at $680 (conditions apply).
The package is for between December 22-26, 2012, and includes accommodation in a deluxe room, daily breakfast, return airport transfers, a 20 per cent discount on treatments at the hotel's Breeze Spa, and a 15 per cent discount voucher off any of the resort's restaurants.

Details: www.amari.com/palmreef.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Holiday Travel Tips to Keep You Safe and Saving

If you are heading home for Thanksgiving or ringing in the New Year somewhere special, the last thing you are probably thinking is, 'am I insured for that?'

Homeowners' Away from Home: Travel Insurance can cover any number of things, from flight cancellations to lost or stolen luggage, but you may be surprised to learn you could already be covered. Homeowner and renter's insurance do not necessarily stop at your doorstep, so call your agent to see if your belongings are covered away from home.

Keep Your Goods Good and Safe: Wherever you're headed these holidays, your trunk's likely loaded with gifts and pastime goods. Whether wrapped up or worn in, your golf clubs, gadgets and tablets are probably not protected by your auto insurance policy. If you tend to travel with high ticket items, ask your agent about adding a layer of protection. For example, Safeco Insurance offers personal property coverage through its Optimum Package.

Protection for the Unexpected: If you're driving home these holidays, remember, accidents spike over the holidays. To play it safe, look into Emergency Expense Coverage, which pays transportation, meals and lodging expenses if you crash away from home.

Avoid Overpaying and Under-Protecting: You may cringe at rental car fees, but the big dig is temporary insurance, which tacks 50%* onto your tab. Here's where you can save. Standard auto insurance often extends liability/collision protection to rentals, so you can cut costs and keep your coverage.

Partners, Promos and Perks: Last minute travel is a surefire way to overpay. Get free alerts from Airfarewatchdog.com and the jump on limited promotions from SmarterTravel.com, like flyer deals, rental car pre-pay discounts, and how to score free upgrades. Book through partners like credit cards and travel sites to save on flights and hotels. Always search for promo codes, and utilize loyalty programs.

They are easy to join and promise perks ranging from discounts to expedited processing.
World-wide Rental Car Coverage: While it's true your car insurance may offer protection for car rentals state-to-state, it is unlikely that your coverage will extend country-to-country. Some insurance companies, however, offer wider protection to their preferred customers.

In summary, save the surprises and the spending for the holiday, and get the best travel deals you can before you go. Take advantage of companies that compare deals for you, such as Answer Financial which staffs hundreds of licensed agents to give you an apples-to-apples understanding of the insurance choices, prices and coverages available to you. Finally, make sure you know which coverages you have and which you actually need, to make sure you're protected without overspending. If you are unsure, don't waste money, call your agent.

*Figures derived from identical quotes from three top rental car companies. Quotes assumed a one week compact car rental at the Los Angeles International Airport locations for each company, with payment due upon arrival.

Book Accommodation at www.Metrostar.com

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/09/4894568/holiday-travel-tips-to-keep-you.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/09/4894568/holiday-travel-tips-to-keep-you.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, July 23, 2012

Top Five Golden Rules for Female Travellers

Top five Golden rules for female travellers

With 45 percent of woman making up the corporate travel market, International SOS has identified five golden rules to help woman keep safe when travelling for business.

Rule number one: Know Yourself

Understanding your profile and how that profile may be perceived when you travel is vital. Key areas to consider include your physical appearance, travel experience, personality type and budget.

Rule number two: Do your research

Don’t assume, do your research before you travel and know the geography of the city you are visiting, plus be aware of any cultural differences.

Rule number three: Don’t be an easy target

Plan your flights so you arrive in the daytime especially if you are planning to catch a taxi and always use official taxis.

Rule number four: Be assertive

Be confident as appearing unfamiliar can make you a potential target.  Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.

Rule number five: Stay calm in a crisis

Statistics have proven that woman are more prone to harassment, assault and hand bag theft therefore it important to know how to respond in a crisis.  Being prepared is key to reducing risk while on business travel

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Travel Makes You More Attractive

A recent survey of Aussie singles reveals that travel makes you more attractive, while 96 percent of respondents say they are looking for someone who likes to travel.

The Intrepid travel poll of over 880 singles on RSVP found that 55 percent of respondents believed having ‘travel’ on a potential mate’s profile makes them more desirable.

Intrepid Travel spokesperson Jo Stewart said the survey shows that travel increases your sex appeal.

“Travellers are generally considered curious about the world, open minded and adventurous, all of which are attractive qualities,” Ms Stewart said.

Daring travellers appear to be the more sort after, with 23 percent nominating ‘adventure seekers’ as the most attractive, followed by the ‘off the beaten track’ traveller at 22 percent and then the ‘cultured connoisseur’ at 16 percent.

RSVP spokesperson Melanie Dudgeon said the results show that shared interests and lifestyle goals are very important when looking for a mate.

“Many singles hope to travel and explore the world with a partner and this is why a common interest in travel is important to such a large majority,” Ms Dudgeon said.

Furthermore the survey found that 49 percent of respondents said they have had a holiday romance and 72 percent said they think of meeting a mate whilst on holidays.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Snake Horror As Passenger Stuffs 247 Animals In Suitcase

Shocked airport police in Argentina pave seized a Czech man trying to board a transatlantic flight with a bulging suitcase stuffed with 247 live poisonous snakes, endangered reptiles and other animals.

 Karel Abelovsky, 51, was reportedly caught at Ezeiza Airport in  Buenos Aires while trying to board an Iberia flight for Madrid. Baggage scanner technicians were astounded when they X-rayed the bag and saw it was filled with squirming “organic substances”. Inside they found more than 200 reptiles and molluscs.

Abelovsky had taken the trouble of using clear plastic containers to package nine species of poisonous snakes, including South American venomous vipers and juvenile boa constrictors. The packaging wouldn’t have saved the reptiles from dying if placed in the place’s cargo hold, which is where they were headed.

Abelovsky has been charged with attempted smuggling and faces the prospect of up to 10 years in an Argentine prison.

The case has been compared to “Snakes on a Plane” a 2006 American horror-action-thriller film starring Samuel L. Jackson. The movie plot, perhaps just a little far-fetched, involves mobsters releasing hundreds of snakes on a passenger plane in an attempt to kill a trial witness. More than 450 snakes were used during the filming, with one scene showing a crate opening halfway through the flight to release venomous serpents that slither into one of the plane’s toilets and kill a couple having sex.