Flight attendants have crazy schedules that can require back-to-back, multi-day trips with limited room for luggage. As a result, they’re known for having some of the most expertly packed carry-on bags in the sky.
These airline employees somehow manage to fit their entire lives ― including pre-prepped meals! ― into one piece of carry-on luggage and a personal bag, like many of us try to do. But it turns out they use some pretty ingenious gadgets to actually pull it off.
We asked flight attendant bloggers and their friends to name what’s in their carry-on bags. Their responses are packed with fascinating hacks.
A portable espresso maker
“I keep a Minipresso in my bag because I HATE airplane coffee.” ― Jay Robert of Fly Guy
“Hotel/airport food is expensive, right?! I usually take a crew cooler with my meals that I cooked at home. Crockpot recipes are the best for travel, and I do chili a lot. Hot Logic is a small hot plate that a lot of us use to reheat our food.” ― Kelsie Franklin, Delta Air Lines
“I always carry a Sharper Image Dual USB Charger for any hotel that has limited outlets. I also always carry a power pack for charging my accessories on the plane.” ― Dustin Anderson, flight attendant with a major carrier
“I use a medium-sized Eagle Creek cube for all my clothing options. It keeps things compact.” ― Kelsie Franklin, Delta Air Lines
“I put my chargers, power banks and Kindle in one cube, and I put my lipstick, snacks, pen and other in-flight necessities in another. Having everything I need in one of two cubes makes it easy to grab, where digging in your bag for a long time is annoying.” ― Abbie Unger of Flight Attendant Career Connection
A portable humidifier
“I take a portable humidifier which can fit in hotel water glasses.” ― Ellie Lee-Wasson, Endeavor Air
Just the clothing basics…
“I bring one pair of jeans, one pair of leggings, a dressier shirt, a T-shirt, sweater and a dress. It helps that the only color I wear is black, so I always match.” ― Katie Taylor, Delta Air Lines
ONE pair of shoes.
“A pair of Adidas typically goes with everything.” ― Kelsie Franklin, Delta Air Lines
“I bring a pair of white low-top Converse.” ― Ebony Christina of Fly Girl’s Guide
Convenient snacks (especially oatmeal and crackers).
“Finding a healthy snack in the airport is sometimes really hard. I seriously never leave home without instant oatmeal, because all I have to do is find hot water.” ― Stella Lozano of Fly With Stella
“I pack crackers, veggies, granola bars, trail mix and cheese for snacks during the day.” ― Katie Taylor, Delta Air Lines
“I bring protein bars not dipped in chocolate (it’s messy), nuts (I love Sargento Balanced Breaks), crackers and fruit.” ― Abbie Unger of Flight Attendant Career Connection