Airport Insiders Reveal Their Most Surprising Tips

Sophie Miura

Jetting off to a new destination can be an exciting experience, but it can also be a pain. From overweight luggage to lengthy lines, airline travel can be a hassle for those who aren’t in the know. A recent Reddit conversation called on airport insiders to spill their travel secrets. Scroll down for our edit of the best travel tips from airport staff.

Research Airlines to Avoid Turbulence

Air traffic controller PlatinumAero confirms something we’ve had a hunch about for a while: Certain airlines are better at avoiding turbulence than others. If you struggle with motion sickness or a fear of flying, choosing the right airline can make a big difference on your experience. One insider suggests checking a turbulence forecast website before you depart, and gives Delta and Northwest a nod as two of the smoothest operators.

Use Zip Ties Instead of Locks

Thought those padlocks could keep your valuables safe? According to one insider, they're useless. "You can pop a zipper with a pen and drag the locked zipper pulls around the bag to close them back up. I've done this many times to identify bags that are tagless and locked," the security staffer explains. 

A simple alternative is zip ties. "In one case, I opened the (still zip-tied) bag at my destination and there was one of the TSA papers in it. They'd opened it, and whoever did it re-zip-tied it for me with one of the spares," explains IAmDotorg

Carry Your Own Headphones

In-flight headphones might come in a fresh plastic packet, but according to one insider who works at a warehouse that supplies the goods, they're not new. "They are taken off the flight, 'cleaned,' and then packaged again," the worker reveals. 

Invest in Quality Luggage

We've all seen the horrifying videos of luggage handlers tossing suitcases like footballs, but this airline staff member confirms it. "You are the only one who handles your baggage with care. Your bag is going to get a beating in the system," says the Reddit user

The take-home: Invest in quality luggage that's durable and won't scratch easily. 

Always Remove Old Tags

If you want to avoid that dreaded feeling when your luggage never shows up on the carousel, the answer is simple: Remove your old tags. One of the main reasons suitcases are sent to the wrong destination is because luggage handlers get confused when tags from past flights are left on. 

Manners Go a Long Way

Never underestimate the power of good manners. One air hostess said it can be the difference between being upgraded or stuck with a broken headset. 

"The nicer you are to us, the more we can do for you. Ran out of beef? Ask politely and we will get you a filet mignon from first class," says the hostess

Pack hand wipes

Sarah Scot, a former US Airways flight attendant, told Real Simple that you'd be horrified if you knew how often the plane is cleaned. "I hate to say it, but tray tables are rarely cleaned, so wipe them off before you use them," she says. 

Before you cozy up with an in-flight blanket, you might want to think twice. "They’re only washed when they look dirty," Scot spills. 

To read more about travel tips from industry insiders, visit Reddit

Shop our favorite travel must-haves below. 

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What is your secret to a better airline experience? Tell us in the comments below. 

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