Whether you’re a first-time flier or experienced jet setter, we’re willing to bet there are plenty of air travel questions you’ve always wondered. For example, what’s the deal with those triangle stickers above your seat? And why do you always get stuck sitting beside a baby, or worse: a snorer?
But amidst all of these mind-boggling mysteries, you might have failed to notice something rather important: The side on which you board the plane. No matter where you’re traveling, you will always embark and disembark from a door on the left-hand side of the aircraft. What’s the deal? Plus, find out the truth about the hidden airplane features you never knew existed.
Emirates flight attendants divulge secrets
Emirates flight attendants divulge secrets
You'll have to know your wines ...
It might sound like fun, but you'll need to have a seriously solid grasp on fine wines and fizz before you cater to Emirates' first class passengers. And according to Collins this is by way of a wine education course.
"When you’re serving things like Dom Perignon and Bordeaux, you need to have a thorough understanding of what you’re pouring," she told the magazine. "We need to know the difference between old world and new world wines, as well as champagnes, bourbons, whiskeys, and other spirits."
... And brush up on your 'silver service' dining etiquette
"In economy there’s just one tray; in First Class, we have 'silver service' dining, so appetizers, main courses, and desserts are all served at different times, and customers can 'dine on demand' whenever they want," she said.
"We’re taught all the etiquette about cutlery and the different plates used for each course."
You'll have to learn how to do your makeup perfectly
According to Collins, you'll have to abide by a set of guidelines on what's appropriate aesthetically while flying.
"Emirates likes to keep uniformity," she told the magazine. "Your nails can be nude, light pink, or you can have a French manicure. We also have different variations of red nail polish that are outlined by the Imaging and Grooming Department. An 'Emirates red' lipstick with lip liner is required."
And there's apparently one lipstick, in particular, that's popular among the airline's flight attendants. Collins told the magazine: "We like to use Mac’s Russian Red because it stays for a long time."
You'll also want to master the perfect flick, as liquid eyeliner is "recommended," while eye shadow can either be black or beige, she said.
Before first class passengers have even boarded, you'll have to do some homework
"We have a briefing and a team talk before each flight, where we'll review the customers who are traveling with us, including any VIPs," Collins told the magazine. "We get their names and have information about them stored in on-board tablets."
You'll then be expected to use this tablet to make notes about your VIP's likes, dislikes, dietary requirements, and the purpose of their trip throughout the journey, she explained.
You can swap your shoes, but only after take off ... but when parading through the airport, it’s strictly heels-on
"In the airport and during the boarding process we wear heels, but we can change into red flats after take-off. Some girls prefer not to, but I couldn’t be in heels for a 16-hour flight. After take-off we switch to 'service attire' — we remove the jacket and add a waist coat."
She added that you can easily identify the head flight attendant, or the "purser," by what they're wearing. "Our standard uniform is the skirt and white shirt with a jacket, hat, and scarf. Every crew member dresses the same, except for the purser who wears a brown color," she told Town & Country.
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
There’s a method to this madness, as it turns out. First of all, doing so directs foot traffic away from the grounds crew on the right-hand side, who are fueling up the plane and loading luggage.
What’s more, pilots usually sit in the left seat. So, back in the day, “it was useful for the pilot to be able to judge wing clearance from the terminal building and to put the aircraft door in front of the terminal doors” if it was on the left side, a former U.S. Air Force pilot said on Quora.
Yet another explanation has roots in nautical tradition. Thanks to the placement of the “steerboard”—the rudder-like part on the right-hand side of a boat—passengers had to board from the boat’s left side, also called the port. Consequently, “most airplane and jetway designers followed the same convention,” according to Andrew Stagg, a commercial pilot.
“A big old soft pretzel is not a meal,” says registered dietitian Marjorie Nolan Cohn, owner of MNC Nutrition in Philadelphia. Those fluffy carbs might smell enticing, but carbo-loading before a long flight will leave your tummy rumbling again by takeoff. Look for something with protein and fiber that will keep you satisfied until you land, or better yet, pack a meal from home. Nolan Cohn recommends making a sandwich at home to save money or packing leftovers like pasta salad or grilled chicken in an old, washed plastic container, such as a cottage cheese tub.
Try not to lump your waiting time at the airport in with the “treat mentality” of the rest of your vacation, says registered dietitian nutritionist Libby Mills, founder of Dig In Eat Up. “Even though it might be the kickoff to vacation, you want to save those calories for something unique when you arrive,” she says. Skip the specialty coffee drink and stick with plain coffee if you need a caffeine fix, or leave room for ice cream at the beach instead of gobbling a bag of cookies at the airport. Don’t miss these other 15 secrets to staying healthy on vacation.
You’ve seen yogurt touted time and time again as one of the healthiest snacks you can get, thanks to its satiating protein. But that fruit and yogurt parfait isn’t the healthy and fresh choice that it seems. “Yogurt has its halo over it as a healthy food, and obviously it is, but in context of what additives are in it,” says Nolan Cohn. By the time you turn plain yogurt into a sugary flavored yogurt topped with granola and fruit (which, unlike fresh berries, is full of added sugar), it isn’t a healthy choice anymore, she says. Skip the parfait and choose a regular yogurt from the fridge, or try these 19 nutritionist-approved travel snacks you can buy anywhere.
Even yogurts that aren’t covered in granola or chocolate chips can be a stealthy sugar bomb. Fruit-on-the-bottom varieties are “not really fruit—it’s more like jelly,” says Nolan Cohn, and the dessert-like flavors and toppings can have almost as much sugar as the treats they’re named after. A cup of unflavored Greek yogurt is a safe bet, but if you need something less tart, vanilla varieties tend to have a bit less sugar than the fruity ones, she says. Try these other 13 healthy tricks for actually losing weight on vacation.
Granola bars are often designed to look like a smart choice, but there’s more than meets the eye. “Some are like candy bars in a really strategic marketing package to make it look like something way healthier than it is,” says Nolan Cohn. Granola bars can be packed with added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other decidedly unhealthy ingredients, especially if they’re covered in a waxy (and melty) coating. That said, a shelf-stable, portable snack is convenient when you need to take the hunger off during your travels, so hunt down an option with 12 or fewer grams of sugar, she says. Check out these other 10 ways to eat healthy on vacation.
A cheap, low-calorie cup of coffee might seem like the perfect treat while you’re waiting, but you might regret it once you’re seated. “Coffee has caffeine and can agitate the nerves, which might not make for the most relaxing flight,” says Mills. Plus, if coffee goes through you fast, you could end up making multiple bathroom dashes, she points out. Try a calming herbal tea instead, Mills suggests.
Large bar tab
While a glass of wine as you wait for your flight won’t do much harm for most people, you’ll want to keep your drinking to a minimum. Not only could it dehydrate you before an already dehydrating plane ride, but alcohol isn’t good for deep sleep. You might crash quick, but the alcohol will wake you up and keep you out of deep REM sleep as your liver works it out. “A less restful trip, especially if you’re going overseas, may be counterproductive to enjoying yourself fully when you arrive,” says Mills.
You might not have too many choices at a quick-grab sandwich station, but keep your calories in check by avoiding excessive fillings, says Mills. “If it has triple layers of meat or bread, that’s a tipoff that you’re getting triple servings,” she says. “‘Crispy,’ breaded,’ and ‘fried’ … are words on a menu that are tipoffs of an extra serving of carbohydrates, plus the extra fat.”
You might not want to rely on the bottled water from the airport terminal—and not just because of its sky-high prices. Normally we’d never discourage some good-for-you hydration, but hear us out if you have a small bladder. “You’re guzzling water before getting on the plane, then sharing a toilet with how many people?” says Nolan Cohn. Because hydration is important, especially when you’re stuck in a dry plane cabin, she recommends sipping extra water the night and morning before your flight so you aren’t dehydrated when you board. Especially if your flight is more than a couple hours, though, don’t ignore your thirst in the name of avoiding the bathroom, she says.
Anything your stomach isn't used to
When you’re about to sit in close quarters for hours on end, you’ll want to avoid foods that don’t tend to sit well with your digestive system. Steer clear of foods that normally might upset your stomach, such as certain types of fiber or greasy foods. “A hamburger and French fries or fried chicken before you get on a plane might not be the best idea,” says Nolan Cohn. “They have a higher potential for triggering diarrhea or GI issues.”