Aside from the skill mastery that allows them to ferry thousands of passengers all over the world every day, Delta people boast another talent: the art of a pleasant trip, from packing to landing.
We’re pulling back the curtain on the seemingly mundane tasks that can make all the difference between merriment and misery this holiday season. But there’s less mystery to it than you may think – no expensive shopping list, and no need to cram that entire master suite into a suitcase.
Read on for advice from some of Delta’s most seasoned travelers on how to take care of yourself and make your travel experience a pleasant one.
STAY NOURISHED AND HYDRATED
You may not have time to grab something before it’s time to start boarding, especially if your favorite restaurant has a long line.
Pilot Nick Motlagh, Boeing 757/767-300ER First Officer, says his snack of choice is a protein bar or meal replacement bar.
“They don't take up much space, and they are a simple, healthy way to prevent hunger while on the go,” Motlagh says.
Flight attendant Sydney Key echoes that sentiment, saying even a simple ham and cheese can come in handy if you don’t have time to grab something on the go.
“Packing a sandwich can save your life,” she says.
Water is important, too – but remember, the Transportation Security Administration’s 3-1-1 rule for liquids in carry-on luggage applies to beverages. Motlagh recommends bringing a refillable aluminum container that you can fill up once you get through security.
“Bringing your own reusable container is also a great way to ‘go green’ and help out our environment,” he says.
AN OUNCE OF PREPARATION …
New York-based flight attendant Ashley Yang likes to keep a well-stocked carry-on bag to anticipate anything she may need, including:
- Portable charger
- Universal adaptor
- Hand sanitizer and lotion
- Lip balm
- Sanitizing wipes
- Vitamin gummies
Yang suggests rolling your clothes to pack more efficiently, which is also the preferred method for First Officer and Flight Operations Duty Manager Matthew Benza. Not only does it save space – it spares you from having to dig out a hot iron.
“All you need to do when you get to your destination is to shake out your clothes and put them in a drawer,” Benza says.
Benza and several of his colleagues also recommend making a checklist of what you’d like to pack to make sure nothing gets left behind. Make sure to check the weather forecast at your destination so you know what to pack and consider including a lightweight down jacket if the outlook is uncertain.
“Just like we use pre-flight checklists in our aircraft to safely prepare them for flight, I have my own pre-trip/travel checklist that includes personal items and flight gear I'll need for my trip,” Motlagh says.
Flight attendant Annette Rogers says being courteous to those around you in tight quarters can make the journey more pleasant for everyone. If your flight is full, check your carry-on rollerboard at the gate before boarding starts – at no additional cost – so you don’t have to worry about finding overhead bin space. Keep things you’ll need during the flight in a bag that can fit under the seat in front of you.
“If you’re traveling with a backpack, be mindful of it,” she says. “It’s best to put it in front of you as you walk the aisle so you don’t accidentally hit anyone.”
Being considerate also means having empathy: You never know why someone might be traveling – it’s not always for a celebration. They may be visiting a sick loved one or traveling for work.
“You just never know,” says A330 First Officer Katrina Vieten. “Be nice. Smile. A smile goes a long way, especially during the holidays.”
Vieten also recommends putting away your headphones in the gate area. Not only will you hear all the necessary announcements, like a gate change, but it will give you the opportunity to make connections with new people who may be open to it.
“You’re traveling! Use this as an opportunity to expand your mind,” she says. “You’d be surprised how many cool, interesting, useful things (especially for your destination) you learn just from being open-minded and friendly to other passengers.”
TAP INTO AN ALL-DIGITAL JOURNEY
Don’t fuss with paper boarding passes. Pilot Jerome Wellons, First Officer B757/767, recommends downloading the Fly Delta app, which can help you know where to go and when – and you never have to worry about losing anything.
“In addition to containing the boarding passes for you and everyone that you're traveling with, it also provides instant notifications of your flight's status and gate location,” Wellons says. You can also track the exact location of your baggage for peace of mind.
Don’t forget the Travel Planning Center – a one-stop guide to managing the latest global travel restrictions, current testing requirements and everything else customers may need to plan a trip. And through the new Delta Discover Map, customers can conveniently filter destinations based on health requirements, including vaccination status, in just a couple of clicks.
Customers on nearly all international routes bound for the U.S. can also use a new built-in Delta FlyReadySM functionality to directly upload and verify their COVID-19 vaccination certificate and negative COVID-19 test results.
CASH AS A BACKUP
“Cash is king,” Key says. You never know when a credit card machine might be down, or when you might find yourself somewhere tap-to-pay technology hasn’t yet arrived. A bit of extra cash on hand can save you from a bind if plastic or digital currency won’t cut it.
STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY
As Dr. Ting reminded us last month, there are some other things customers can do to take control of their travel, enjoy safe gatherings and make things easier along the way:
- Arrive early.
- Review the latest TSA guidelines.
- Move more quickly through security lines with CLEAR and TSA PreCheck.
- Wear your mask.
Give a little grace – to yourself and others – especially when things don’t go as planned.