7 Fall Essentials for Flight Attendants
Fall is upon us, and as the seasons change, so too must we. Or, at least, our packing style should.
Today we are talking about Fall Essentials for Flight Attendants. Things we should be bringing on our layovers (and our fun trips!) to have the best possible season.
As a native New Englander, I’m always sad to see the end of Summer. But after the heatwaves, the second bout of COVID, the floods and wasps and the insulation project (see previous post), and with a Big Trip to Spain on the horizon, this year I am a-ok with kissing summer goodbye.
Now I’m looking forward to what’s next. A new season, a fresh start. We change out our iced coffees for hot, our tank tops for sweaters, our flip flops for cute booties, and dripping f*cking sweat for a little chill in the air.
Time to change up that pre-packed layover bag. Read on to find 7 fall essentials for flight attendants.
*Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through the link, you won’t pay extra, but I’ll earn a small commission to help support this site. Win-win-win.
7 Fall Essentials for Flight Attendants
(& Other Travelers)
1. A lightweight, versatile jacket
“It’s not too hot, and not too cold. All you need is a light jacket.”
With the heatwaves that have been stifling the US and other countries around the world, the need for a jacket sounds like a distant, future thing. But by mid-October, we will be chilly and layering up. (In places with seasons, anyway.)
Fall is that great in-between weather. It gives us the crisp in the air we crave on sticky-hot summer days. It doesn’t quite require packable down but does make you want to zip up and put your hands in your pockets. A light, versatile jacket is essential for flight attendants working through the fall. Make it lightweight and packable, or water resistant, and voila, you’ve got your new everyday accessory.
An every-day waterproof jacket is the ultimate fall accessory
2. A cozy sweater
(Bonus if it’s in fall colors.)
The next thing that fight attendants pack for fall layovers is an everyday sweater.
I’m a native New Englander, and one of my favorite parts of Fall is wearing soft, cozy sweaters Every. Single. Day.
Perhaps my second favorite thing is the color palate. Golden yellows, burnt orange, brick red, olive green. Colors that make you feel wrapped up and warm inside. The visual representation of sweaters, one might say.
We can’t go bundling up in our warmest wool in early fall, and our over-stuffed suitcases appreciate it. Instead, we’ve got to stick to lighter knits that can be layered. Check out some of these examples, or find your own. What am I a virtual shopper?
Flight attendants can be ready for varied fall temps with a light-weight, cozy sweater.
Comfy, cozy sweater anyone?!
I don’t always date men, but when I do I like them in a quarter-zip sweater.
3. Starbucks Mobile App
Ignore the haters and live your best pumpkin spice life.
There are some flight attendants who don’t drink coffee. I don’t understand how that works, and we’re not here to discuss it. For the rest of us who need the sweet chemical reaction of caffeine to get through the day, a Starbucks mobile app kicks.
I’m not a Starbucks evangelist by any means. I’ll drink any coffee (except airplane coffee) and I love sitting at a local coffee shop instead of the Goliath of coffee chains. But for flight attendants living life on the go, the consistency and availability of Starbucks makes it the chain of choice. You can find a Starbucks in virtually every airport and every city. You can often find them in hotel lobbies. They’re everywhere.
Buying coffee from Starbucks without using your mobile rewards app is like throwing money down the drain. With the Starbucks app, you earn points for every dollar spent. Sometimes you get bonus points for buying certain things, and you get a free drink on your birthday. You can upload gift cards to your app or even treat your friends by sending them a gift card directly through the app. Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy. Trying to budget your coffee habit? Pre-load a set amount of money onto your account each month and stick to your guns when it runs out. Balling off a budget? Have your account set to re-load automatically each time your balance is low.
This is an obvious one that probably didn’t need explaining. But there is just nothing like a hot coffee on a crisp fall morning. Starbucks is a definite fall essential for flight attendants.
4. Closed toed shoes
One of the best parts about being a flight attendant in the Summer is how easy it is to pack and how light our bags can be. And nowhere does this matter more than in our footwear. In the summer time we throw a pair of virtually weightless flip flops into our suitcase and call it a day. As the months get colder, though, we have to start bringing real shoes. And that means weight.
Thankfully we don’t have to consider snow yet, so we can skip the dreaded affair that is stuffing winter boots into a carryon bag. For fall, flight attendants should have a go-to shoe for layovers that can be walked around town and match multiple outfits. For some this will be a pair of stylish sneakers, for others it will be a cute and comfy pair of flats. And some of us will opt for the boots and booties. I won’t even try to recommend which shoe is right for you, but find one that is both cute AND comfortable.
5. A Killer SPF
Sunscreen is an everyday, all-season essential, and especially for flight attendants. Flight attendants are three times more likely to get skin cancer than the general population. It’s because we are always flying at high altitudes, where there is less protection from the sun’s UVA/UVB rays.
If nothing else, you must protect your face. This is not only the money-maker for many of us, but it is also the part of us that is most exposed to the elements. Every flight attendant needs an amazing SPF they can use on their face every single day.
My personal recommendation here is SuperGoop! Unseen Sunscreen. (No, I will never stop hyping this product.) This light-weight, odorless, silky soft sunscreen feels more like a primer (fellas—that is something women put on under makeup) than a traditional sunscreen. It comes out clear so there is no white cast, and it offers UVA/UVB protection at SPF level 40. It also happens to be reef-safe and cruelty free, so you can feel good about buying this ‘screen.
I have tried a LOT of facial sunscreens and none of them has been so gentle, light, and comfortable on my sensitive skin. This sunscreen has never caused me a breakout, a shiny T-zone, or a greasy feeling. You can wear it on its own or under makeup, and the result will be the same—great.
The holy grail of facial SPF
6. A Hot Logic
Something about the fall makes you want to eat hot, hearty food. And while hot logics are not allowed to be used in the air, they are still a flight attendant essential for fall.
A hot logic is a container that plugs into an outlet and heats your food. It looks like a lunchbox from the outside, a padded canvas rectangle with a zipper around the top. Inside is a hot plate that can be used to heat food in all different containers. Plastic, glass, or aluminum foil are all safe to heat in a hot logic.
Often at the end of a work trip, after eating out of my lunchbox for days, all I want is a hot meal. Carrying a hot logic means a flight attendant can make food in advance, before a trip, then heat it up in their hotel room. It is perfect for those layovers where we don’t feel like leaving our rooms. When even a walk to the lobby to find food or a microwave is too much for us. It’s fun exploring on layovers, and it’s fun hanging with your crew, but not all the time. After interacting with SO many people on the airplane, sometimes the best layover is one spent inside four walls alone.
Trash TV and Hot Logic gourmet anyone?
Sometimes the best treat is a hot meal.
7. A Travel Rewards Credit Card
After the peak of summer travel and before the insanity that is holiday travel, there is a trough period in the fall where fewer people fly.
I’m sure the airlines don’t like this breather in between busy seasons, but for us flight attendants it can be a welcome reprieve and a great opportunity to get in some travel of our own.
Flight Attendants fly standby, or space-available. I went over all the ins and outs of this process, called “Non-revving,” in an old post: So You Want to Fly for Free? A Flight Attendant’s Guide to Nonrev Travel. If you are curious about non-rev life, you should check it out. For now, you just need to know that as a flight attendant, I depend on an empty seat in order to get to my destination. And because there are more empty seats on Fall flights, there is more opportunity for flight attendants to sit in them.
Many flight attendants go on vacation in the fall. It’s a rich tradition in aviation. Not only is it easier for us to travel, or non-rev, in the Fall, but there is monetary incentive as well. Since the fall is a slower season, there are fewer flights, and therefore, fewer flight hours. These reduced hours have to be spread out among all the flight attendants in a particular base, and it can be tough, especially for junior flight attendants to make the same hours and money they did in Summer months. It just makes sense to take time off when the opportunity cost of not working is lower.
There is a common joke (that hits a little too close to home) about flight attendants being on exotic vacations while having $5 in their bank account. Better than being home and broke, but still.
Since being a flight attendant is not a direct path to wealth, it is important for flight attendants to get the most out of their benefits. Having a credit card that offers travel rewards is essential.
I’m currently using a Marriott Bonvoy card so that I can double-down on my travel bennies with both free flights AND free stays. The card offers some nice perks like a free night every year, but I must admit the points rack up rather slowly. Since I signed up during a promo period, though, I got three free nights in my first year. I’m not a financial expert at all, but if you are interested in learning about good rewards programs for travel, check out some of these resources.
Unlock those travel rewards
And there you have it, folks. The 7 Fall Essentials for flight attendants. Is there something I missed? Let us know in the comments. Anyone else the teeniest sad to see summer go? Or are we all jumping for joy at this point.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this light #flightattendantlife post. In just a few days I’ll be setting off to Spain for my bucket list trip to do the Camino de Santiago. I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown between announcing this trip a few weeks back and today. Almost time to go! I won’t lie, I’m a little nervous, still feeling a bit unprepared, and though I’ve done plenty of research, I’m still not exactly sure what to expect. But I guess that’s the fun of it, eh?
You can expect some Camino-centered content coming up in the future, and if you want to know what the heck the Camino de Santiago is, check out the post referenced above: Big Trip Announcement! Camino de Santiago 2022.
I don’t know how much time I’ll have to write while I’m on the road, walking 15 miles a day, so I’ll be publishing some normal A Wheel in the Sky stuff while I’m gone as well. Please feel free to follow along with my Camino on Instagram (and maybe send words of encouragement?)
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Until next time.