Galley Gossip: Gifts for the flight attendant (and frequent flier)

Here it is, what you’ve been waiting for, my 2008 list of holiday gifts for that special flight attendant (or frequent flier) in your life…

1. STARBUCKS GIFT CARD – Because there’s a Starbucks in every city – and every airport. Most travelers I know can’t start the day without a good cup of coffee. Note I said good. The coffee on the airplane is not good, and you know it, so don’t act surprised when I pour you a cup. It doesn’t matter which airline you fly or whether the flight attendant double bagged it or not (double bagging is the act of leaving an extra coffee packet in the bottom of the pot), it’s just not good and that’s not the way to start your day. Last year my mother bought me a $100 gift card and I’m still using it, and I’m always glad to have it on those early morning and late night departures.

2. HAND LOTION – Do you find yourself washing those hands with soap and water in the airplane lavatory quite often? That explains why your beautiful hands have aged 20 years in the last few hours. Moisturization is key at 35,000 feet. I don’t know a flight attendant who doesn’t carry a fruity smelling antibacterial hand lotion. Me, I prefer anything with Shea butter.

3. BUBBLE BATH – When you spend your days cramped inside a germ infested flying petri dish, and your nights showering in nasty ankle deep water at your hotel, there’s nothing better than a nice hot bubble bath at home to wash it all away. My bubble bath of choice is Milk Bath, by Fresh. Add the matching soap and lotion, as well as a candle, and you’ve got yourself one happy flight attendant. Remember, when your flight attendant is happy you’re happy.

4. AIRLINE CRAP – Most of the travelers I know have some sort of airline collection hidden somewhere. I’ve written about my own personal airline museum, so you already know about the bottle of wine that makes a perfect flight attendant gift. But anything airline related will do this holiday season. I’ve got my eye on a cute bag tag from Ann Taintor, as well as a bag handle wrap in red that reads NOT YOURS, designed by binhog.com. I’ll just add the tag and the wrap to the REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT thingie that my husband brought home from a motorcycle convention last weekend, a thingie that has already been attached to my bag.

5. SOMETHING TO READ -You know you’re going to need a distraction during flight, especially if you get stuck seated next to a crying baby, or even worse, an adult baby who wants to cry about everything that’s wrong with your flight. Or what if your flight is delayed due to a mechanical or bad weather this holiday season? It happens. It’s that time of year! So please come prepared for the worst. That means you need to bring books and magazines, and a lot of them, and when the flight is over please don’t forget to leave behind the good ones in the seatback pocket in front of you. The Old Patagonian Express, by Paul Theroux is an old favorite of mine. It’s about traveling by train, not plane, which is something you might want consider next time you travel. One of the items on my book wish list is a set of books, the Louis Vuitton City Guides, which is the perfect gift for the traveler who has it all.

6. MASSAGE – A must for the one who spends too much time cramped inside confined spaces. Whenever the husband returns from an International flight, I always book a massage for him as soon as possible. There’s nothing worse than a cranky traveler bringing all that crankiness home with him. As for me, I actually own a Homedics foot massager. It works great. I love it so much the husband finds it disturbing.

7. IPOD – Though The Shuffle is nice, the one that can play movies is even nicer. Leave that DVD player at home and forget about lugging that ginormous laptop. Don’t you know less is more, especially when you have to cram everything into that one carry-on bag, the bag that now weighs 50 pounds, the bag you’ll be dragging from city to city.

8. LAPTOP NOTEBOOK- Now that we have internet onboard some of our flights, a laptop will make the hours pass faster. Oh I know you already have a laptop, that ginormous one I mentioned above, but what you need is one of those new teeny tiny machines like the Acer notebook. I just bought one for $350 at Walmart. It makes the perfect gift for those who want to keep in touch with loved ones while on the road. Plus being able to do those trip trades on a layover without having to take the crew van back to the airport an hour earlier doesn’t hurt. I mean what flight attendant can’t use an extra hour of sleep in the morning?

9. NICE WATCH – Flight attendants have to wear a watch because people are constantly asking, “How much longer?” And because some of you may actually have a heart attack onboard, we need to time how long we’ve been doing those chest compressions. (Please don’t make us do the chest compressions!) One of my favorite watches is the IWC pilot’s watch. Yes, I do own one, even though I’m a flight attendant, not a pilot. While it may be a little big and look ridiculous wrapped around my wrist (and goes off at security), I love it and that’s why I wear it. Need to know the time, ask me!

10. A HOME COOKED MEAL - Because let’s face it, when you spend your days and nights on airplanes and in hotels, there’s nothing better than the comforts of home.