A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post describing emergency hacks while flying that I’ve learned on the job as a flight attendant. A couple of my colleagues had some great suggestions for a follow-up post on the subject. A special thanks to Gabby, Jenny, Amber, and Angel.

1. Shoe Polish: All you need is antibiotic cream packets and a feminine hygiene pad. Once again, most airlines will have these two items in stock on their planes—you just have to ask. The antibiotic cream acts as a moisturizing conditioner for your leather shoes, and the maxi pad is a great substitute for a chamois when polishing.





2. Sugar Hand Scrub: For this one you’ll need a few more antibiotic cream packets, some sugar packets, a seltzer water, and gloves. It’s also helpful to have a partner. First rub antibiotic cream packets over hands until coated, then pour sugar packets on top. Rub hands together for one minute and put on gloves. Wear gloves for 30 min. Remove gloves and rinse hands using a Seltzer water in the lavatory sink. It can be a bit time consuming, but hey—you’re stuck on a plane anyway. Plus your hands will feel amazing afterward, and it’s the best way to combat the dry airplane air.


3. Mop: This is a variation of “the sponge” mentioned in the previous post, and also uses the feminine hygiene pad. But instead of using it to soak up spills, it’s used with Seltzer water for cleaning sticky floors, tray tables, seats, etc.


4. Eating Utensils: Many airlines do not offer food on their flights beyond snacks you eat with your hands, and so they do not carry any form of utensils. However, if you can get a couple of the drink stirrers, you can use them like chopsticks and/or skewers. They’re of course not a perfect substitute and it does take some practice, but I’ve used stirrers to chow down fresh fruit salad, oatmeal, cup of noodles, yucca, and everything else in-between.


— Laura Rowley


Written by Laura Rowley

I am an artist, flight attendant, and travel blogger.


  1. Love these hacks. I bet you have even more to share 🙂 We used to make frappé-style iced coffee drinks in empty water bottles to brighten up a night flight 🙂 Missing those days -Ex-flight attendant-

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