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“What do you have in there, bricks?!” Well, maybe… Flight attendants working on American-based carriers are forced to schlep every last bag with them since, for some reason, the ones in charge have decided that crew no longer need to check their bags — even when we’re gone for a week or more at a time! — while those of us flying for more civilized carriers in the rest of the world have the luxury of checking most of our prized possessions. But what exactly is it we’re hauling around with us, sometimes taking up your overhead bin space with and occasionally knocking you aside with as we sprint down the concourse? What should you maybe have in your bag that you don’t already? Let’s take a closer look.


Okay, this may sound obvious but many people travel without one — cabin crew, on the other hand, never leave home without it. First and foremost, we’re required to have our passports on us at all times, but secondly, because you never know where you might end up. If you’re flying from New York to Seattle and you have to divert to Calgary at the last minute, you’ll be glad you had it on you. Or maybe you’re on a business trip far from home, you meet someone fresh and fancy and they invite you to their house in Palma or Cabo for the weekend — no passport, no party! Always have your passport on you. Period.

A Traveling Pharmacy

Right next to their passport, I can guarantee that every cabin crew member out there has enough drugs to keep both Karen Walker and Patsy Stone amused for at least a week. Between the time changes, crazy amounts of jet lag and the passengers who insist on flying despite probably having tuberculosis, strep throat, SARS or goodness knows what else, every one of us keeps an array of medicines on their person — uppers for those short layovers, downers for sleepless nights, probiotics, antibiotics, Emergen-C, melatonin, a morning-after pill (for the naughtier, younger girls). You name it, we have it. And we never leave home without it. And yes, we love our Mumbai and Lima layovers, when we can refill our supplies without a prescription.


Those flying tin cans get very, very dry so another must-have for every cabin crew member is a good moisturizer. And we have it in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s lip balm, hand cream, face cream or brumisateurs (a personal favorite!), we keep them all stashed in our bags and use them generously. Many of us will even bid on layovers just to buy specific products — Tel Aviv for those gorgeous Dead Sea creams, Paris for the brumisateurs from Evian and Avène, Germany for amazingly effective (and cheap!) hand creams at DM. Every cabin crew member has his or her favorite spot and we stock up as often as possible. How else will we stay young and beautiful for you, our discerning guests?

Seasonal Clothing

In the same vein as passports, we always keep a few extra clothing items in our bags because, like I said earlier, you just never know where you’ll end up! A bathing suit and a sweater are both must-haves — you might unexpectedly land somewhere warm or somewhere cold that has a nice spa. Either way, you’ll be glad to have your bathers with you. A sweater is always a good idea because Lord knows, Mother Nature is a temperamental woman at the best of times.

Naughty Bits

If there’s one last thing you’ll find in every cabin crew member’s bag, it’s something just a little bit racy. Lacy lingerie, a toy or two for those lonely layovers (or maybe not-so-lonely layovers!), lube, condoms or maybe a little leather — we all like to have fun after all. And you never know what kind of fun you might come across, so why not be prepared?

Do you have any questions for Carrie A. Trey, TPG’s favorite Flight Attendant Insider? Let us know in the comments, below. 

Featured image courtesy of izusek via Getty Images.

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