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Flight attendant shares 20 tips to minimize air travel fiascos

27 Jun 2022
Matt Hochberg

Before you can get on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you may have to fly to your destination city and air travel is anything but simple these days.

Plane landing in Miami

Likely you've seen headlines about air travel chaos that is affecting airlines around the world. There were over 19,000 cancelled flights in the U.S. this past weekend alone.

Whether its bad weather, air traffic control, staffing issues or reduced security personnel, you should expect problems when flying this summer.

While these issues are problematic, it doesn't mean it's impossible to get to your cruise ship either. In fact, there are some good strategies for ensuring your movement between home and where your ship sails from encounters minimal issues.


An unnamed flight attendant penned a post on Facebook that has been shared thousands of times, and it lists 20 tips for dealing with air travel this summer.

I found many of these tips to be good pieces of travel advice, so in an effort to get the word out there, here are two air travel tips you should know about if you plan to fly to your cruise ship anytime soon.

Airplane landing

1.  If its less than 7 hours - drive!

I'm not kidding. There is nothing enjoyable about flying right now. On any airline. If you must fly, keep reading. 

Airplane taking off and landing

2. Download and use the app of the airline you are flying

You can do everything on it - get your boarding pass, track your bags, see your incoming plane, and change a flight. It sure beats waiting in the long line to talk to an agent! Trust me - Usually these apps will tell you a flight is cancelled before the crew even knows! 

British Airways airplane

3. Fly much earlier than you need to - a whole day early if its important!

This week I saw many people miss important things like weddings, funerals, cruises, international connections, and graduations. The tears were very real, for very real reasons, and there was nothing I could do! I

f you have to be somewhere, spend the extra money, go a day early. Have a glass of wine and stay in a hotel, enjoy your night not being stressed while everyone else misses their events. 

Read moreWhy you shouldn't fly to your cruise the same day it begins

Airplane wing view

4. Always fly the first flight in the morning

This way, you have all day to be rebooked if bad stuff happens. Yes, that means it might be a 3:00 alarm, but morning flights don't cancel nearly as often.

Raining in airplane

5. Summer is thunderstorm season

A single storm can shut down a whole airport. We can't fly through them. Storms usually build as the day gets later. Book early flights!

Airport with boarding pass

6. Schedule long layovers

Your 1 hour layover is not  enough anymore. 30 minutes, not a chance. 3 hours minimum.

Airplane on the ground

7. What you see on the news is an understatement.

We are short staffed and overworked. Not just pilots and flight attendants, but also ground crews.

Without ground crews there is no one to park the planes, drive jetways, get your bags on/off planes, or scan boarding passes. This causes many delays that snowball throughout the day. Sometimes hours.(Another reason morning flights are best!)  

Underbelly of airplane

8. When flight crews get delayed we time out

We can not fly longer than 16 hours. Its illegal. So it doesn't matter if you have a wedding to get to, when we are done we are done.

The way things are now, there are no back up crews, so when this happens your flight cancels.

Now you are starting to see why those morning flights are best!

Newark airport

9. Avoid connecting in Newark (Or any New York airport for that matter)

It is literal hell. You have a 50/50 chance your flight will cancel or missing your connection. They have been cancelling flights at their starting points just to keep the planes out, because there just aren't enough people to manage the planes, so the gates stay full.

Also the restaurants are expensive, it is not a great place to be stuck. 

Airplane in the clouds

10. Be nice

As stated above, we are overworked and tired. We will not help you if you are mean. No one cares that you are going to miss your cruise if you are mean.

So even if we can help, we will save our help for someone nice. Tensions are high. Our patience is gone. If you make us mad - you will not be flying on our planes. We will leave you behind without a second thought, and laugh about you later. 

Airplane at the gate

11. Being drunk on an airplane is a federal offense, so don't overdo it

If you drink too much at the bar waiting for your delayed flight you risk not being allowed to fly at all. We are too tired to deal with you when we have legitimate issues to deal with.

Airplane landing

12. Get trip insurance if you have a lot of money invested

I hate the whole idea of this, but I also hate the idea of losing money.  

Example: I was working a flight yesterday that waited over an hour for a gate. A family of 8 missed their flight to Rome. The only flight of the day. They were going to a cruise which they would now miss. They were all crying, there was nothing I could do. (Also a reason to fly a day early!)

Cabin on plane

13. Flights are full

If you buy the cheap seats you will not be able to sit with your family. It says so when you purchase your ticket!

Flight Attendants aren't there to rearrange the whole plane just so you can sit with your family because you tried to save $100 on a third party website. 

Passengers on a plane

14. The people that get bumped first

Speaking of third party websites and saving money..... Like I said flights are full.

If a flight is oversold, and no one volunteers to give up their seats, who do you think is the first to be bumped? You guessed it, the family that saved a few $$ by using sites like Expedia, Kayak, Hotwire etc. 


15. Pack smart

Don't be "That guy." Don't hold up boarding because you have your extenders open till they are busting and you can't figure out how to make it fit in the overhead. Passengers are stressed too, they can be aggressive when boarding a delayed flight.

16. Practice good personal hygiene

Take showers, brush your teeth, leave the perfume off, don't eat stinky food (caesar salad and tuna fish I'm talking to you!), and bring headphones.

Trust me. These things sound basic, but add to stress on crowded planes. If you are stuck on the tarmac for 3 hours after a 4 hour flight, you will thank me for this. 

Airplane cabin

17. Bring a sweater if you tend to be cold

So tired of half naked girls asking me to turn the heat up. 

Airplane bathroom

18. That's not water on the bathroom floor

For the love of God wear shoes to the bathroom!

Airplane cabin

19. Don't tell a Flight Attendant they look tired

We are and we know. You may cause us to ugly cry right there in galley. 

Tampa airport

20. Happy Travels!

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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