Taking sleeping pills on an airplane.

Long-distance flying can be uncomfortable and a chore.  Some travelers are blessed to sleep at will, while it can be a chore for others.  As a former flight attendant, I have witnessed many scenarios of passengers taking sleeping pills when flying.  Some travelers claim that it is the only way to sleep, while others believe it will alleviate anxiety.  Some want to be well-rested when they land, while others wish travel time would pass quickly.  Whatever the reason, taking pills to induce sleep while traveling can have pitfalls.  Here are a few health and safety risks to consider.

Sleeping aids.

Medications and supplements can have different effects in the air than on the ground, so be careful of any you take while flying.  If you must take a sleeping aid, I highly suggest a natural sleeping supplement like melatonin, which is available over the counter.  Another option is to take an antihistamine such as Advil or Tylenol PM.  These options will make you drowsy and help you to fall asleep with minimal side effects.  I firmly advise never to take any sleep supplements on the airplane without the experience of taking them at home.

Prescription pills.

Although many travelers take sleeping pills, they are strong reasons not to.  Pharmaceutical sleeping pills help you to fall asleep faster.  In my experience, I have seen passengers take sleeping pills as soon as they board the airplane.  However, if the flight is delayed or passengers need to deplane, it’s not easy to wake a medicated person.  In addition, when under medication, some people are unaware of their surroundings and behavior.

Adverse reactions.

Whether medication or a supplement, taking pills onboard an airplane can cause an adverse reaction.  If a passenger has an adverse reaction, the flight may be diverted for a medical emergency.  If the flight crew requests paramedics to meet the flight, the passenger is responsible for the medical bills associated with the incident.  In addition, if the passenger falls ill due to taking a medication or supplement that has not been prescribed, it will invalidate their insurance.

An airplane is a public space.

Simply put, an airplane is a public space.  Many passengers travel alone and may encounter people they have never met or know.  There have been incidences where other passengers have assaulted passengers while under the influence.  Once this occurs mid-air, very little can be done until the plane lands.  Often there are no witnesses to the act, and it’s one passenger’s word against another.  Other than changing a person’s seat or notifying authorities upon landing, there is not much a flight crew can do in this situation.

Choosing a sleep aid is a personal choice, but only with careful thought and consideration.  As a former flight attendant, I would advise all passengers to always be conscious and able in the event of an emergency.  As a passenger, I prefer to go without sleep before a long-haul flight to help me fall asleep faster.  What is your choice?  I’d like to know.

Tips for enjoying airline flights

Tips for enjoying airline flights

Although many people love traveling, the actual flight time is not the most attractive part of traveling.  As a former international flight attendant and someone who commuted to work by air travel, there are a few ways travelers can make their flight more tolerable.  Here are a few tips from my lived experience.

Research airlines.

Travelers should research the different airlines not only for fares.  Services and amenities are also used to rank airlines.  Although I worked for an American carrier and knew the airline well, my preference for personal travel was not always for the airline I worked.  Airlines differ in how they handle the services they offer, booking flexibility, and luggage fees, to name a few. While one airline you research may show the lowest price, it may not be the best flight available for your needs.

Seat selection.

Many travelers prefer a particular seat selection, and as an experienced traveler, seat selection can make a difference.  However, not all airlines are configured the same, and knowing where your seat is located on the airplane can make a difference.  Frequent travelers are more conscious of choices when a seat map is available for seat selection. However, if you are unfamiliar with flying, looking up the aircraft configuration can be pretty helpful in seat selection.  For example, a person who prefers an aisle seat may be much more comfortable with a seat selection that is not an aisle rather than an aisle seat that is direct across from a bathroom.


As a former international flight attendant, I can honestly say that the service advertised is not always available.  If the flight’s entertainment system happens to be unavailable, it is not considered a no-go item by the airline.  Additionally, flight attendants are not engineers. If your particular seats’ entertainment system does not work and there are no other seats available in your class of service, this means that you may have to travel without entertainment.  A traveler’s best bet is to always have their entertainment by downloading movies, books, music, or podcasts in enough quantity to entertain themselves.

Amenity kits.

Premium passengers on long-haul flights are usually given an amenity kit.  The kits typically include a toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, eyeshades, earplugs, perfumes, lotion, and usually a pen.  They may also come in some neat packaging that can be reused as pouches for other accessories.  Once my old airline provided one that could be used as an iPad cover when it first came to market.   Amenity kits will also have branded items from many top brands such as Tumi, or Ferragamo to name a few.  Many travelers can create their own with travel-sized items packed just for inflight purposes.

While travelers cannot always choose the flying time or be able to have their class of service, they can always make the flight a more pleasant experience. I hope these tips help. Have you any to add? I’d like to know.

Long-haul flights

Long-haul flights

If there’s anything that provides an authentic travel experience, it’s long-haul flights.  As a flight attendant, I commuted to work by air from Dallas, London, Germany, and Singapore while being an international flight attendant in New York.  It is not a commute I would recommend, but it worked for my lifestyle at the time.  Here are a few tips for anyone taking a long-haul flight, especially in the times of Covid.

Sanitizer wipes

Sanitizer wipes are a must-have for travel to help protect yourself from the Covid virus.  In the case of travel, the more you have, the better.  Instead of using one wipe for all the different surfaces, you are cleaning, use one per item. For instance, one wipe for the seatbelt buckle and another for the tray table.  Doing this prevents cross-contamination.  You will always be able to get more at your destination as they are readily available everywhere.


You cannot board an airplane without wearing a face mask as you are more exposed to many more people and spaces that you are unaware of.  However, as with all face masks, frequent changes are necessary. It is preferable to wear masks that do not directly touch your face for long-haul flights as they are more bearable for breathing.  Most airlines will provide face masks, but face masks come in many different varieties, and if you have a preference, then it’s logical to have extras of your own.

Comfortable clothes

Wearing comfortable clothing makes sense.  However, depending on how many flights you have, a change of clothing between flights is recommended to prevent cross-contamination and spreading any virus you may have touched. Travelers should have a separate bag to place any used clothing.


On long-haul flights, unlike domestic flights, snacks are usually provided.  However, having your snacks prepared by your hand is highly recommended.  Not only will your snacks be prepared by you, but they will be of your preference and maybe a healthier option than what is provided by the airline.

Class of service

Many will say that all passengers arrive simultaneously, so the class of service does not matter.  If you’ve even had an opportunity to travel in premium cabins, you may beg to differ.  Traveling premium class is not all about fine dining and china. There’s something to be said for more legroom and being able to recline more than 4 inches on a long-haul flight.  Arriving at your destination tired but not worn out is the ultimate goal of premium class travel.