If you are a flight attendant, want to pack for any situation, or are an aspiring flight attendant, here is a list of my favorite flight attendant must haves.
Have you been wondering, what should a flight attendant carry? Read on to find out.
Some of these items are also great for brand new flight attendants who are heading off to training, and make great gifts for that special flight attendant in your life.
As a 17-year flight attendant who has been commuting most of that time, I like to be comfortable. I prefer to have a few extra items and be comfortable as opposed to wishing I had something with me, only to suffer without it.
I will tell you I’m extra, so if you are comfortable without much, then leave some of these flight attendant must haves off of your packing list.
#1 Item For My Flight Attendant Must Haves – POWERLIX Sleeping Pad
My number one item that is a non-negotiable on my list of flight attendant must haves is the POWERLIX Sleeping Pad. I never hear anyone talk about it, but this mat is at the top of my flight attendants must have items list!
Weighing in at just over one pound. You can blow it up using 8-10 breaths and you can sleep almost anywhere on it. It packs down tightly and takes up about as much space as one shoe.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve used my sleeping mat, and I never leave home without it.
As a commuter, if you get back from a trip late, and if your flight home leaves early in the morning what is really the point of leaving the airport?
You can blow up your mat and sleep in the crew lounge or behind a plant somewhere in the airport and be completely comfortable. (Kidding not kidding, you never know…)
Not only that but if you have a long sit time somewhere, why not take a nap on your comfy Klymit?
#2 Blow Up Pillow
Hear me out, if you are going to be sleeping on your Klymit mat, you’re going to need a pillow. Or maybe you don’t, but I know I do. I don’t want to wish I had my own pillow, I’m going to have my own pillow.
Not all blow-up pillows are created equal. If you have trouble sleeping without the right pillow, this will be a non-negotiable item on the list.
I personally always have the Klymit Luxe Pillow which is why it made its way on the flight attendant must haves list – it’s a lightweight luxurious inflatable travel pillow. It weighs 3.2 ounces and packs down to the size of a wallet. It comes with a comfy pillow case and when inflated it’s about the size of a standard pillow.
What I really like about it is that you can inflate it exactly how you want it. If you want a bigger pillow, add more air. If you like a flatter pillow, use less air.
I also end up using the Klymit Luxe Pillow in some hotel rooms. Sometimes the pillows they have aren’t the right size for me and I wake up with a headache. But who has room to pack a pillow in their bag? That’s when this pillow is a perfect choice.
#3 Betabrand Dress Yoga Pants
I am a huge fan of Betabrand, and I have so many of its products. Unfortunately, many of their amazing products are only for a limited time, so be sure to check the website often.
One of the things that they always have in stock is their yoga dress pants. You cannot tell that those pants are yoga pants, and I may or may not have been wearing them in place of my uniform pants for almost ten years.
Even if you don’t ever wear these as your uniform pants, they still belong at the top of the flight attendant must haves list.
No one will ever know that you are wearing yoga pants. They don’t wrinkle or shrink, you can order specific length, fit, and size so they need absolutely no tailoring yet fit like a glove. The fabric is NOT polyester and it’s high quality.
There are many different fits to choose from, straight leg, boot cut, wide leg, joggers, and skinny styles. You can get your pants with no pockets (The no-pocket styles have faux pockets so those work too!) 2 pockets or 4 pockets. There is a pair of Betabrand yoga pants for almost everyone.
These pants are not only perfect for flying, but for training, commuting, and if you are stuck at the airport, even sleeping. I cannot say enough good things about these pants and Betabrand. These pants are one of my all-time favorite flight attendant must haves.
Using this link, new customers can get $15 off their first purchase at Betabrand.
#4 Flight Attendant Must Have Compression Packing Cubes
As a flight attendant, one day you may be someplace warm and the next day you may be someplace cold. You need different clothes for different locations and if you want to keep your bag organized packing cubes can help you pack. Especially when you are on reserve.
Not only that, but who wants to open up their bag in public and their underwear fall out onto the floor? I have seen that, and it wasn’t cute. Packing cubes will allow you to open your bag anywhere and remain professional.
When you use compression packing cubes you can actually compress your clothing and fit more into your bag. Win-win right?!
If you get nothing else on this list (ok BESIDES the Klymit mat) you need packing cubes to stay organized. You’ll wonder where they have been all of your life.
#5 Powerstrip Extension Cord Charging Station
Ever wish there were more outlets in the airport or in a hotel? I’m willing to bet that you have. If you carry your own extension cord equipped with a charging station you can always have all of your electronics charged and ready to go.
A powerstrip like this makes the list of cabin crew must haves.
Not to mention that it’s rude to take up ALL of the outlets in public places. When you have an extension cord you can use one outlet for multiple devices allowing your fellow travelers to use the other outlets.
On the airplane, not all aircraft have enough (if any) outlets for each seat. By using a power strip extension cord you can even share with your neighbor and everyone gets an outlet.
#6 Lunchbox – eBags Crew Cooler
This is the best lunch box EVER. eBags actually stopped making it and flight attendants were going crazy trying to find used ones. I would not consider getting rid of mine because it’s that great.
If you pack your food, it’s one of your non-negotiable flight attendant must haves.
You can fit so much food into this cooler, and all of the compartments make it so easy to stay organized. You can easily pack enough food for a four-day trip with this lunchbox.
The eBags Crew Cooler even has room for your passport and wallet. I often use mine in place of a purse. I’m not a light packer, but four bags would be a little bit excessive even for me. I’m a three-bag kind of flight attendant if one of those bags is either my lunchbox or a purse.
#7 Travel Cutlery
You have your bag packed full of healthy food, you cook your food on the airplane and plan to eat it in your hotel room only to find you have no cutlery. That’s the worst right?
If you keep this cute little cutlery set in your bag you will never be without your own cutlery. I like this set because it has a knife, fork, spoon, straw, and chopsticks. Everything you could ever need to eat is right there.
The knife isn’t sharp enough to cut through anything too tough, but it’s also TSA-friendly.
Have you ever gotten a paper straw that fell apart before you could finish your $100 iced coffee? OK, I’m exaggerating the price, but as much as I love to protect the environment a paper straw that can’t last until I finish my drink is super annoying. This cutlery set also includes straws and a tiny brush to clean the straws when you are finished using them.
#8 Flight Attendant Must Haves – Pashmina
If you are commuting or deadheading in uniform sometimes you just want to blend in. A cashmere pashmina looks classic and it can hide the fact that you are in uniform. Not only does it look great but it keeps you warm on a cold airplane.
You don’t have to use it just when you are in uniform, you can wrap a pashmina multiple ways and it dresses up any outfit.
It’s perfect for those days you need a light jacket, but don’t want to have the bulk in your bag. If it’s cold weather, you can wear your pashmina on top of your jacket and it can double as a hood and a scarf.
#9 Travel Blanket
Sometimes airplanes are cold, it’s the nature of the business. When you have your own travel blanket you can use it to put behind your back for lumbar support, to keep you warm, and it’s great to have in a drafty hotel room.
Hotel comforters are kind of skeevy if you ask me. I doubt they change them after every single guest even when they are wrapped in a sheet. When you have your own travel blanket you can be sure to get a good clean night’s sleep wherever you are.
The PGI Trader Soft Travel Blanket has its own bag that you can easily stuff it into so it takes up very little space.
If you are working a redeye, flights can get cold. You can always wrap up in your travel comforter to stay warm, but be careful, it’s so cozy you may want to fall asleep and that could cost you your job. So use it on the airplane with extreme caution!
Not to mention, if you get stuck in the airport you can use your Klymit mat for a bed, and this travel blanket doubles as a sleeping bag.
#10 Makeup Eraser
Makeup Erasers are amazing for taking off your makeup using nothing but water and the makeup eraser. I use them at home and when I travel.
Mascara running down your face on a long-haul flight? No problem, grab your Makeup Eraser and you can freshen up right on the airplane. They can take off every speck of mascara without damaging the sensitive skin under your eyes.
As a commuter, I have slept in the airport more times than I can count and I always use a makeup eraser to go to sleep without a trace of makeup. Did you know that your face can age every time you go to sleep wearing makeup?
Makeup Erasers are perfect to keep in your bag, they can get most of your makeup off in just a few swipes.
#11 Swimsuit Wet Bag
Who doesn’t want to hit the beach or a nice pool on your long layovers? A wet swimsuit can transfer the dye on your clothing resulting in stains.
Sometimes you have enough time for your suit to dry before it goes back into your bag, but most times it will still be damp by the time you pack up and head downstairs to wait for the van.
A swimsuit wet bag is also a great place to keep your suit, sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen in your bag. It’s like a packing cube designated for your beach essentials.
Then you can carry the bag to the pool with you, and you’ve got an extra bag that’s made to stay dry.
#12 Clothes Washing Bag – Scrubba Portable Wash Bag
This is only necessary if you commute and don’t go home in between trips. I like to do laundry on layovers when I have enough time, but if my trips are back to back with short layovers I prefer to spend my time sleeping and not doing laundry in hotels.
Clothes washing bags are great in a pinch if you want to wash your uniforms and whatnot, and then you can allow them to air dry.
I use the Scrubba clothes washing bag, it has little nubbies inside so that you can gently scrub even your most delicate clothes. This bag is so light it weighs only 5.3 ounces and folds down to pocket size. You can even use it as a laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes in when you don’t have to wash anything.
If you have a clothes washing bag it can also double as a swimsuit wet bag. It’s super versatile and I always keep mine in my bag. It’s not the cheapest bag in the world, but I’ve had mine for years and with the money I’ve saved on laundry it’s more than paid for itself.
#13 Hotel Safety Wedge
The hotel safety wedge is on my list of 10 Flight Attendant Hotel Safety Tips For Traveling Solo.
Important and worth mentioning.
The hotel safety wedge can help you keep out an intruder from your hotel room and if someone does try and break in it will sound an alarm. You never can be too safe.
#14 Compression Socks
Everyone who travels can benefit from compression socks. Compression socks keep you from getting a blood clot if you sit for long periods of time, and if you are up and on your feet a lot, they can help prevent spider veins and varicose veins.
#15 Travel Diffuser
At first glance you may think carrying a travel diffuser is ridiculous, but I assure you, it’s not.
I love a small little diffuser and a few essential oils to take with me when I travel. I am not a fan of toxic odors, but I’m also a fan of safe essential oils and sometimes you need to create a relaxing atmosphere.
When you diffuse essential oils in your travel diffuser in your hotel room you can wake up refreshed and ready for the day.
I like this travel diffuser because it can double as a night light, and if you don’t want to use the night light it can be turned off.
#16 Shoe Bags
Almost every female flight attendant uses a shoe bag. Who wants their dirty shoes to touch anything in their bag?
You can use shower caps that you get in hotel rooms to put over the soles of your shoes, but a shoe bag is nice too. (You can even use the shower caps and the shoe bag if you really want to keep everything clean and protected.)
Sometimes I keep my inflight shoes in my purse, and I definitely would not put shoes into my purse without a shoe bag.
I like to use a shoe bag for my workout shoes too, so you may want to double up and get two!
#17 A Fan
Running to catch a flight in a polyester wool blend uniform isn’t cute. You run all the way to the gate from the other end of the airport red-faced and sweating and if you have a fan you can cool down quickly.
This small portable fan is a flight attendant must have for the summer. I always carry it with me (even if it’s not summer), because I don’t like being hot, especially in uniform.
I set it up in the galley when I’m working if the airplane is hot, and when I’m laying over I keep it on the nightstand at the hotel.
A small fan is a little bit of comforting white noise and it keeps the room cool especially when you are in an extra hot and humid climate.
What makes this fan so special is that it is rechargeable, has a flashlight, and has a power bank to charge your phone. How’s that for multi-tasking?
#18 Hot Logic Mini Portable Oven
The HOTLOGIC Mini is perfect to heat up your food on your layovers. This flight attendant must haves item is perfect if you want to save money and bring your food from home.
No more cold food when you can heat up your food from anywhere that you are.
I love that this little mini oven can fit right into your eBags Crew Cooler so it doesn’t take up any additional space.
#19 Apple Airpods Pro (Or other Noise-Cancelling Headphones)
Don’t be afraid of the price tag of the Apple Airpods Pro because it’s one of the best noise-canceling headphones and if you don’t get this brand, another noise-canceling pair of head phones needs to be on your list of flight attendant must haves.
What I love about the Apple Airpods Pro is that if there is a loud noise they automatically change over to noise-canceling to protect your hearing. Before we were required to wear our hair back during every phase of flight at my airline I used to put them in to protect my hearing.
Airplanes are loud, and your hearing is priceless so if you can protect your ears, do it! You can use clear ear plugs to help protect your hearing and not get into trouble for wearing headphones.
I also like to sleep in these headphones to take the place of earplugs. Sleep is important, and sometimes hotels can be loud. Noise-canceling headphones can help you stay asleep and not be woken up by housekeeping or any other noises.
If you have good headphones you won’t be one of those offensive people walking around the airport on speaker phone or ever be caught watching a movie in public without headphones.
Good noise-canceling headphones create an amazing experience which is another reason they made it onto the flight attendant must haves list.
#20 Sleep Mask
Many times you won’t need a sleep mask, but when you do you will toss and turn and curse the day you took it out of your bag.
Not all sleep masks are created equal. One that is comfortable, cool, and keeps out the light is perfect for the flight attendant must haves list.
Bonus Item – Packable Backpack
A packable backpack is an essential item I always have in my luggage.
The one pictured is very small and lightweight, it even fits in a pocket.
It’s incredibly useful since not all stores offer grocery bags. It is the perfect storage solution for my gym, beach, or hiking gear while on a layover.
Multi-Tasking & Space Saving
All of these flight attendant must haves items are small and portable. When using packing cubes you would be surprised how much you can get into a small space.
Not only are these items space-saving, but most of them are multi use. When you are away from home it’s nice to have all your own comforts to keep you almost as comfortable as you are at home.
What are your favorite flight attendant must haves items? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.